Business Tablets Address Security, User Preferences

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2014-05-08 Print this article Print

Business users gathered to discuss tablet deployments at the TabTimes' Tablets 2.0: New Tools for the Mobile Enterprise conference May 5. Discussions and presentations touched on how to determine when a tablet is the right form factor for a use case, how to address security and deployment, and when to choose a custom solution versus an off-the-shelf alternative. Also discussed was which operating system to choose. The iPad is a clear consumer favorite and a natural first choice for some iPhone users; however, in organizations with a Microsoft desktop heritage, or where applications running Flash were desired, Windows-based tablets were favored. Android, the smartphone OS leader by a stretch, was most enterprises' third choice and the option thought of as least secure. Participating vendor Charon Technologies, which caters to "quiet" customers, offers custom, highly secure tablets built on Android. "People use iPads at home, so that's their obvious first choice, but then they start thinking, 'What do I have to get done at work?' ... and that steers them in one direction or another," Robert Alonso, president of Alonso Consulting, said during a panel discussion. The iPad winds up in second place many times, he added, followed by Android. Here are key takeaways from the event.

  • Business Tablets Address Security, User Preferences

    by Michelle Maisto
    1 - Business Tablets Address Security, User Preferences
  • Intel Focusing on Android

    While Android is the leading smartphone OS, security concerns have made it a less popular tablet option among IT decision makers. Hector Llorens, platform manager for business tablets at Intel, said the company is "about choice" and has been focusing on making Android tablets more secure. "The future of business is Intel-based tablets," he added. The Dell Venue 7 and 8 run Intel Atom processors and Android 4.2.
    2 - Intel Focusing on Android
  • Use Case: Hartford Funds

    Members of the salesforce of investment firm Hartford Funds were recently given iPads. Discussing the deployment, Director of Sales and Marketing Technology Mark Mangano said he didn't take away the old laptops, letting those who were reluctant to transition use the laptops when they felt they needed them. Those instances were kept track of, in case they pointed to holes in the tablet offering. He also deliberately didn't choose the iPad Mini. "No one in the field is asking for less screen space."
    3 - Use Case: Hartford Funds
  • Tablet or Convertible?

    Intel's Llorens said that two-in-one tablets can replace a desktop part of the time, though what's an appropriate percentage of time is debatable. "If people need a tablet less than 50 percent of the time, a two-in-one can be a solution. If they need it more than 50 percent of the time, you have to make the decision to go tablet-only or support dual devices." Microsoft now offers a fleet of flexible options.
    4 - Tablet or Convertible?
  • The Tom Brady Approach

    Mark Magnacca, co-founder of the sales-geared tablet app Allego—making the point that preparation and coaching are more effective than "winging it"—said that New England Patriot Tom Brady spends 17 hours a week watching video. Allego offers salespeople video-based tools that help them "tell better stories, faster." A best practice when dealing with video, Magnacca added, is that it has to "render as fast or better than YouTube, or you lose people."
    5 - The Tom Brady Approach
  • Use Case: Southern Illinois University

    Southern Illinois University (SIU) wanted to make sure each of its students had the books they needed; the next natural step to ensuring they had the right tools was giving everyone a tablet. "We wanted to give students mobile apps that integrate into every part of their campus life," said SIU CIO and Assistant Provost R. David Crain, explaining the decision to provide tablets from Dell. "A lot of publishers used Flash technology, so [their content] wouldn't work on an iPad."
    6 - Use Case: Southern Illinois University
  • The Right OS for the Job, or for Workers?

    SIU worked with Dell to develop a platform and provide students with mobile access to everything from their class schedules to professors' contact information, maps and the menus at the dining hall. The most popular app of all, though, shows the availability of washers in the laundry rooms. Ulrich von Beck, CEO of software firm Orchard, said that the decision to choose the Windows environment has the organization in mind. "For the user, though, it may not be the best experience."
    7 - The Right OS for the Job, or for Workers?
  • Use Case: Home Depot Canada

    Steven Beggs, senior manager of learning innovation at Home Depot Canada said he had just given store managers Lenovo tablets running Windows 8 when he decided to pilot a program giving store associates access to shared iPad Minis—basically because they're cooler. "We chose it because we thought the associates would gravitate to [the iPads] and give us more traction," said Beggs.
    8 - Use Case: Home Depot Canada
  • "Two Clicks or 10 Seconds"

    Beggs of Home Depot Canada was given nine weeks to offer proof that arming associates with shared iPads would positively affect sales. Without the time or money for a custom solution, a large part of what he gave workers was quick access to competitors' pricing. He then rolled out 100 devices across 10 stores. The resulting numbers were "incredible," he said, with bottom-line benefits on par with opening a whole new store. Beggs advised to shoot for a "massive impact," and to offer solutions that get users where they want to be in "two clicks or 10 seconds."
    9 -
  • Security and Management

    Among the products that Charon Technologies offers is Rampart custom tablets, which is based on the Android platform. Charon's "secret sauce," said Senior Director Scott Aken, is that it uses two processors to provide hardware-based security, instead of software-based. Separating the "crypto and network processors" means no amount of malware or brute force can enable a break-in.
    10 - Security and Management
  • A Security Best Practice

    Charon's Aken discussed security alongside Jonathan Fischer with Bigtincan, a company that offers secure (containerized) access to the content users want, when they want it and on whatever device. When the pair were asked about common mistakes they see, Aken—speaking from his years of experience as an FBI investigator—advised, "Don't even trust the IT admin." (The illustration is part of the Charon solution.)
    11 - A Security Best Practice

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