iPad as a work device?

Working on the move is becoming increasingly popular these days and with so many devices available on the market it can make the decision process quite difficult when deciding on a device, especially if you are not sure if the device will work seamlessly with your internal company network.

Recently I have been looking at the feasibility of using the iPad as a remote work device. At first I was very skeptical due to the lack of a file structure and that there was no way of installing a full blown office package onto the device. So my first week was spent familiarizing myself with the device, once I had my head around the internal workings I installed and setup email etc.

As a tool to keep in touch with what’s going on in the office via email the iPad worked very well as long as I had an internet connection. During the times where I had poor signal or while on the underground I was still able to use the device to draft email and send later but there was only so much drafting one could do. I also had the lingering thought at the back of my mind that all this is possible on my smart phone, so why splash out on iPad??

So in week 2 I decided to check out some of the great apps on the market and I must say they are a whole heap of them, some which I felt would be very very useful in the working environment and other which just where not quite up to scratch.

Out of all the apps I have tested I have listed a few below, most of which I found would be of some use to an office worker on the move.

I was very impressed by box and Soonr and would highly recommend that any serious iPad user check these out. I would also keep an eye out for Onlive desktop which is currently not available in the UK but will be looking at moving into this market in the near future. Onlive gives you a connection to a virtual windows 7 desktop with most of the essential office applications at a very cost effective price. I haven’t as yet had a chance to play with their virtual desktop, but from what I have seen and read the only down sides once again seems to be the need for an internet connection and the fact that you cannot check out the OS when you are offline. These features would be available through a full blown Citrix installation but with this come the huge price tags. Once again I was left thinking about the capabilities of alternative devices such as Microsoft’s Surface or a good light weight laptop but overall if the iPad is your thing then there are ways to make it a more productive tool.

Applications I liked and found useful:

SOONER

Useful for – synchronizing file between devices; editing Microsoft Office documents and sharing files and folders with mobile teams
Best Features – ability to edit Microsoft files and collaboration through group membership
Would recommend to – any mobile office users
Things to think about – I would highly recommend this tool but as with all things great it comes with a price tag.

IDEA SKETCH

Useful for – brain storming; sketching network diagrams; sketching project flow charts/org chart, I would say a very watered down alternative to Visio
Best Features – simplistic and user friendly
Would recommend to – project/organizational planners
Things to think about – although you are able to send snap shots via email they are not editable

DRAGIB DICTATION

Useful for – dictation and recording minutes of meetings
Best Features – easy to use, ability to create multiple voice recordings; can access notes from other devices if you have an Evernote account and notes can be shared via email or via the web
Would recommend to – any mobile office users.

DROPBOX

Useful for – useful for synchronizing files and folders, it also has the ability to share synchronized folders with others
Would recommend to – home and small office users
Things to think about – care should be taken when using this application as it could lead to security issues and possible data loss.

MINDJET

Useful for – much the same as Idea sketch, useful for mind maps and brain storming
Best Features – simplistic and user friendly
Would recommend to –project/organizational Planners

EVERNOTE

Useful for – note taking/information capture application, it has a Lot of features and is a little more complex than competitors
Best Features – easy to use; ability to create multiple note books; can access notes from other devices if you have an Evernote account and notes can be shared via email or via the web
Would recommend to – any mobile office users

CITRIX RECIEVER

Useful for – connects to office data and applications, it does however rely on an internet connection.
Best Features – ability to stream applications to devices, the application runs server side so it does not utilize too much resource.
Would recommend to – large enterprises only
Things to think about – cost of setting up an entire Citrix infrastructure

BOX

Useful for – folder collaboration, task assignments and adding comments to documents, much like soonr but lacks the ability to amend documents
Best Features – ability to sync files between devices.
Would recommend to – home/Small office users

ONLIVE DESKTOP

Useful for – Microsoft virtual desktop which works on most mobile devices.
Best Features – Windows 7 desktop with common office apps
Things to think about – not currently available in the UK but definitely one to watch out for

Applications I didn’t like:

EASI DRAW

Useful for – it is a lot like MS Paint, used for making quick sketches
Best Features – too basic
Would recommend to – I would not recommend this application

 

 

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