The new iPad is set to hit the streets on March 16, an event for which Carousel Industries has been preparing for about 18 months, says Scott Moody, the company’s Manager of Corporate Technology.
“We recognized these were going to be a game-changer,” says Moody, who is responsible for Carousel’s internal IT requirements. “We’ve been preparing for the influx of Wireless connectivity and mobility for a year and a half.”
Faster iPad Connection = More Data
With its support for 4G/LTE networks, the new iPad (which everyone but Apple calls the iPad 3) will support far greater data transfer speeds over cellular networks. AT&T, for example, says its 4G network is “up to 10 times faster” than its 3G network. That, Moody says, promises to drive significant change in employee mobile computing habits.
Today, a user may take out his laptop when he’s in a coffee shop, open a VPN session to the corporate office, check email and maybe review a document, then close out the session and go on his way. “iPads are capable of keeping that connectivity all day long” via the cellular network, Moody says. “And it’s going to be as fast as their laptop.”
Sooner or later, the data requests will hit the Carousel network. And that is exactly what’s happening – in a big way. In just the last four months, he’s seen a 57% increase in wireless data use. “It’s not just the number of devices but also the amount of time they’re connected and the amount of data we’re processing over the wireless infrastructure,” he says.
Making the iPad Business Case
About 300 Carousel employees currently use an iPad but most are employee-owned; only about 125 are company issued. “We’re trying to properly build the case for deploying another 200 because we think it’ll make that much of a difference to our mobile workforce,” Moody says.
The easiest way to make that case is to get the devices in the hands of executives so they can see for themselves how accessible and portable the iPad is. “When the iPad 2 came out we armed the CEO and VP of sales with the devices. They’re always on, easy to carry and easier to read than a mobile phone,” he said. “They quit traveling with laptops.”
Field service employees also love the iPad. When they’re on call, they carry the iPad instead of a laptop. From their living room, a restaurant or wherever, they can VPN in to the corporate office, get into the systems they need and remediate issues remotely, Moody says.
“I think I can build a business case around a cheaper mobile work force,” he says. With iPads and smart phones becoming increasingly more useful, “I don’t have to buy such a high-end laptop.” And given some 70% of the Carousel workforce is mobile, that’s more than 700 people – savings that will add up.