Are tablets already changing the workplace?

I regularly have people telling me that tablets are already radically changing the workplace.

I’m a sceptic about the speed of change.

FireworksI am absolutely convinced that the workplace will change radically over the next 10 years, and that tablet type devices will have a significant part to play in enabling that new way of working.

Where I’m not convinced is in the rate of change.

I get particularly sceptical when people’s starting evidence is the number of these devices that have been sold. My retort is that games consoles have also sold millions, so why wouldn’t they be having an even bigger impact on the workplace? I’m not really being serious when I say that, but sometimes I just like to be provocative.

A recent study, does suggest that my scepticism might have some grounding:

A much greater number of tablet owners are using these devices at home rather than on the move, a new European study has found.

CCS Insight, the research firm, polled 4,500 people who had already purchased a slate such as Apple’s iPad in France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the UK.

When looking at home usage, 79% of consumers used their tablet in the living room, reaching 60% for the bedroom, rising to 70% in France and the UK. Another 38% did so in the kitchen and 39% did so elsewhere in the house.

In other words, the tablet is a convenient home entertainment device for most people, a role, at which, they excel. They are used in this role a lot as well:

In all, the study discovered that more than 90% of the sample used their slate for at least an hour a day, hitting 95% in the UK.

More specifically, the British panel posted the largest average usage time, on 2.8 hours a day, and 11% utilised the web via this route for over five hours on a daily basis.

That’s a lot of usage for a device that is being used in ‘spare time’. So the people who should be worried are the other people making their money out of home entertainment. There impact on the workplace is limited by their lack of usage outside the home.

Just to be clear though, I’m not saying that the tablet isn’t going to enable a radical change to the way we work, I’m just sceptical about the rate of change.

In the words of Bill Gates:

"We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten."

1 thought on “Are tablets already changing the workplace?”

  1. I’m tended to agree but I’m not convinced that the tablet as we know it today will be anything more than transitory, (as he types on his smart phone). And that’s my point, the phone will win out providing you identity and connectivity. This will be accompanied by the dock to give you the big screen and access to your virtual desktop, (or whatever that evolves to). The only thing I will say is that on a recent study tour, over 85% of people there were using tablets as their PC replacement and the vast majority were work provided. So change is coming and more quickly than I would have expected. That is until the first major security breach on iPad!

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