iPad in Business

Cory Blog, Hardware

I am currently heading a project to deploy iPads in a corporate environment. We have purchased 20 32G Wi-Fi + 3G ipads for our research and development and deployment plan. Straight off the bat, iPads in business present a set of troubling issues.
The first thing we asked is “How is this iPad going to be used?” We know that, right now, the main goal is go cut down on paper waste by making the iPads view multiple, 200+ page PDF documents. We need annotation and search capabilities. Not having much experience with the iPad or app world yet, I heard and read that Goodreader is a note-worthy product. For $1.99 we snagged the app. Goodreader can manage the pdfs pretty good but just seems lacking in the note taking and searching areas. The free iBooks has an awesome shelf management and super easy import process (drag and drop anywhere in itunes) but it lacks the advanced features we need. PDF-notes is a free app in the itunes store. It has some nice annotation functions but still, it lacks the features we want. Then I found iAnnotate PDF. You know it’s good because it has an “i” in the front of its name (right?).

iAnnotate is an elegant PDF reader and a powerful annotation tool — and consistently one of the best-selling apps for the iPad. You can open documents from email, sign and send out contracts, enter notes for edits, sketch diagrams, copy text, and add highlights or underline with the drag of a finger!

iAnnotate PDF

iAnnotate is only $9.99, as packed as it is. With this app, you can “Fetch” a pdf via the “web download” feature which, when tapped, opens up a slim browser in which you can browse the internet for your pdf. Clicking on the link of the pdf downloads it into iAnnotate, indexes it and makes it available to all of the app’s features! A big hit with a couple execs. iAnnotate PDF can connect to a pdf store or even Dropbox. There are many more features but already this is a huge winner for the corporate environment.

But for the business world, we need more than just a few good apps. We need security, email access, file management, device manageability and scalability. Apple has posted a good section on their website which summarizes “ipad in business.” Here’s the rub: I read of people trying to make the iPad something it isn’t. Some want it to connect to a windows domain via active directory, have multiple user accounts, encryption, antivirus and so forth. These people forget that it’s an Apple product and doesn’t operated like their windows machines. In some cases, this is considered “bad;” in others, it’s definitely good.  It might not do everything in the world a computer can do (and it might not even be a “computer”) but we CAN take this productivity and entertainment tool, a multifunctional device, if you will, and use what it CAN do to make the personal and business life better. And by no means is the ipad the end-all to all our computing needs, although you can be certain, if you know anything about how Apple works, that the iPad and iOS will continue to expand and Apple will broaden our minds on what technology can do for us, for business.