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Our CES info shopping list: What about the tablet?

Convergence & VoIP Alert By , Network World
January 04, 2013 10:50 AM ET
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VoIP, unified messaging, products and services

Network World - The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) opens on Jan. 8, and despite the usual noise and hoopla that comes bundled with Las Vegas trade shows, we actually expect to report on some noteworthy announcements coming out of the show that may affect unified communications and collaboration. At the top of our information shopping list: "When (if ever) will the tablet computer replace the laptop?"

While most would agree that the smartphone and laptop are both critical for enterprise mobility and unified communications deployments, we're not sure the same can be said about the tablet computer. We think there are three big roadblocks that must first be overcome before users can abandon their laptops, including: a) suitable document management, b) a suite of public cloud services that fully enable a tablet, and c) apps that are designed with the tablet in mind.

CES 2013: Products to watch for

When it comes to a suitable document management package, we are optimistic that the latest operating system releases from Microsoft will make using a tablet as easy for the business as the PC or laptop -- so we'll be looking over the latest tablets using a Microsoft platform to see if this in the case.

As for cloud services, we know that private clouds provide good support for most mission critical business applications, while public cloud offers are fine for unified communications apps. However, we contend that these cloud services and apps were optimized for users with a PC or a smartphone -- and not a tablet.

Perhaps the acid test of tablet integration into business process will not be found at CES, but we hope to see some glimmers of further progress. More likely, one day we will know that the tablet is mission critical when we see air travelers pull out their tablet for work -- and not just to watch a video they brought from home.

In the meantime, we'll keep our eyes and ears open at this year's CES and report back to our readers with what we find.

Read more about voip & convergence in Network World's VoIP & Convergence section.

Steve Taylor is president of Distributed Networking Associates and publisher/editor-in-chief of Webtorials. Larry Hettick, an independent analyst and consultant, is a 30-year industry veteran. He has covered VoIP and UC at Network World for 12 years.

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