I will be honest: I am a comic book geek. Sure I am mostly socially adjusted, can communicate with women etc but I can understand all of the references in the TV show “The Big Bang Theory”. Sometimes I find it hard to watch when the things I have built my obsessions around become popular, changed and adopted by… well, everyone.
So with this in mind you might be able to understand how I have watched with a not so quiet trepidation as businesses, abandoning any pretence of strategic planning, bring tablets (and I do mean iPads) into their environment. We all see it; we are all, as resellers, working out how to profit from it and we call it the consumerisation of IT.
This is a story of revolution, and as with any revolution, things need to be torn down to be rebuilt. As resellers, we have often been on the exciting side of revolution and have quickly learned how to profit from it; great examples of this include virtualisation and hosted solutions. More licensing or monthly fees can become very successful business models.
This time the revolution is being led by the consumers of our technology. Our long established business models of devices, licensing and maintenance are being described by many in the press as a dying industry. Titles like “The PC is dead” and “Rise of the planet of the tablets” are encouraging those willing to spend their hard earned dollars on consumer devices and further advancing the new buzz term of bring your own device.
Those who are currently profiting from this revolution are the internet service providers and those who have good capabilities around managing wireless networks. I ask you to please spare a thought for the unfortunate system administrators. As we encounter people working from their tablets, more and more often I am hearing people say they need to be able to have access to all their files all the time irrespective of their connectivity to the network. These users are bringing in devices tailored for watching videos, listening to music and looking at their photo collections and are asking us to fit these rectangle pegs onto our networks' round holes.
I have worked with a number of my clients who have added iPads to their work place device collection, reasons included Skype, presenting PowerPoint slides to clients (via remote desktop apps) and accessing their emails. While all of these things improve the ability to deliver information and presentations to clients none are these things are impossible to do on a more powerful, more easily integrated laptop. This has also been proven by two of these clients discovering that the delivery of these experiences have been hindered by the incompatibility of their systems. They were more than happy to abandon tablets when they discovered the cost of building and supporting a custom app, proving that the tablet investment move was a triumph of form over function.
Look there on the horizon, standing under the mountain of iPads and across the flooded moat of unsold Android tablets and here comes Windows 8. An operating system designed to run on tablets, PCs and rumoured to share a platform with Windows Phone 8. But there is going to be a cost.
PC sales have slowed this generation, many factors have been credited but we cannot overlook the number of people who upgraded their computers rather than buying new ones. Microsoft has designed Windows 8 to take advantage of technologies that are not currently available in current devices, while at the same time to integrate seamlessly with existing networks. My hope is someday soon that end users will need obsessive information gatherers to help them to pick the best device whether it needs near field communication or accelerometers.
To me this sounds like a job for a comic book nerd.