Wi-Fi, mobile data, BYOD and tablets -- an interesting puzzle (Part 3)

Many of us are participating in the BYOD trend, using our personal smartphones to send and receive business calls, check our email, and schedule appointments on the phone that can sync with our business calendar. Others use a company-issued smartphone for the same purposes. And a growing number of business users are "cutting the cord" by replacing a landline desktop phone with a smartphone. But what we haven't seen yet is a wide-scale replacement of computers by tablets in the home or the office. But we surmise that the trend to "bring your own tablet" (BYOT) is beginning to emerge.

BACKGROUND: Wi-Fi, mobile data, BYOD and tablets -- an interesting puzzle: Part 1 | Part 2

To validate our analysis about the user demand and enterprise adoption of tablets in the enterprise, we turned to Avi Greengart, research director for consumer devices at Current Analysis. Greengart commented saying, "Consumers are buying iPads as fast as Apple can build them. In the home, tablets tend to be adjunct devices, replacing secondary PCs or delaying the upgrade cycle."

Greengart continues by saying, "Enterprises are reluctant to buy employees both a notebook and a tablet, so for now tablet deployments tend to be targeted at specific highly-mobile use cases. However, just like with smartphones, consumers are bringing their iPads into the office (or the home office) and expect to use them for work tasks. This BYOT trend is bound to increase even as Microsoft gives its desktop OS [operating system] a tablet makeover, which will allow more IT departments to use them as full laptop replacements."

Our observations: We think that tablets will be useful as a mobile unified communications device, and especially so for mobile video and collaboration when users are away from the desktop. But we think typical Microsoft Office applications like creating documents and presentations along with complex document management will remain on the desktop computer or laptop -- even if these are shared in a collaborative session on a tablet. But most voice calls will still rely on a desktop phone or smartphone.

Next time, we'll turn our attention to the role of private Wi-Fi and public hotspots in the evolution of BYOD and BYOT.

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