November 02, 2010, 12:39 PM — Computing these days is all about mobility and the rise of the tablet as a primary mobile computing platform. Surfing the Web, and getting e-mail covers much of what mobile business users need in a computing device, but to be a true mobile business tool, the tablet has to be able to keep users connected and collaborating.
On a recent flight, I couldn't help but notice the number of iPads in use. Granted, from what I could see as I walked the aisle of the jet, most users were engaged in a game of some sort, or reading an electronic book, or perhaps watching a movie or podcast--but the flight was not equipped with Wi-Fi so the productivity options were limited.
The point is that there were far more iPads in use than laptops on this particular flight. Fast forward a few months and perhaps it would be tablets in general--but for now the iPad is really the only available platform, so we'll have to let it represent the broader tablet market.
Arguments will continue over whether the iPad is a worthy mobile business device, or simply a consumer toy, and the debate will rage on regarding whether tablets are capable of usurping the position currently held by laptops. Despite that, business software vendors and app developers are diligently working to ensure that the tools mobile business users need are available--particularly when it comes to virtual meetings.
Cisco WebEx for iPad is one of the apps that first recognized the business value of the iPad, and demonstrates just what the Apple tablet is capable of. The Cisco app lets users attend WebEx meetings using the full iPad screen, and provides voice over IP (VoIP) audio capabilities. WebEx for iPad users can view all content shared in the meeting, see who else is attending, and engage in individual or group chats with other meeting participants.
Adobe, which recently launched Adobe Connect 8, also provides an iPad app to enable mobile meetings from the tablet. The Adobe Connect Mobile app provides similar features as Cisco WebEx for iPad, and also lets meeting attendees rotate, pan, and zoom to create a customized personal view of the meeting content.