The emergence of tablet computers, such as the iPad, Motorola Xoom, and Samsung Galaxy has many businesses thinking about ways to integrate these devices into applications that compliment their existing customer engagement solutions. Tablets are a cost effective, flexible, and easily scalable addition to a variety of enterprise hardware devices such as POS terminals, self-service kiosks, and interactive displays. In the near term, we expect these devices to become increasingly common in enterprise deployments, as businesses seek to extend the value of existing systems via the integration of tablets. VDC’s 2010 Mobile and Wireless study forecasted 130% revenue growth in 2011 for tablet devices used within the enterprise. During the next several years, VDC expects growth in this category will continue to accelerate as more hardware suppliers and ISVs offer integration and application development support.
Examples of tablet integration into the enterprise include:
- A number of Arby’s locations are piloting programs that integrate an iPad with their existing POS terminals, using the tablet as a mobile POS terminal as a means to scale POS bandwidth on an as-needed basis and for queue busting during peak hours.
- Larger retailers such as Nordstrom, Sephora, J.C. Penney and Converse are conducting iPad pilot programs in stores across the US. These retailers are experimenting with tablets as electronic catalogs, informational kiosks, social media platforms and interactive displays, as well as leveraging them for payment processing and inventory management. Examples include:
- Converse has developed an application that allows customers to design and order customized sneakers while in store.
- Sephora has created an interactive program that enables customers to test various makeup and color combinations on a virtual model.
Tablets possess tremendous potential for both the enterprise and the customer. The enterprise will benefit from operational efficiencies, improved margins, increased customer loyalty, and new opportunities to reach consumers. On the other hand, customers are expected to benefit from greater access to information, which will result in enhanced decision making and an improved in-store experience.
VDC expects that adoption of tablets will scale rapidly, as they increasingly become a center of convergence for a diversity of customer engagement technologies.