The tablet market has kicked into gear, with Apple's new iPad mini, Amazon's Kindle Fire and others being launched. The convenience, ease and pleasure of using these devices have captured the attention of consumers. Tablets will be the must-have gadgets this Christmas.
Given this popularity with consumers, executives and employees are increasingly asking their IT departments whether or not they can use these devices at work. There is a big issue here, because iPads and Kindles have been designed solely as consumer gadgets and do not integrate fully with other existing systems such as Microsoft Office, which is the software used by the vast majority of business customers.
IT departments are constantly battling to set up and deliver the full capabilities of a laptop on these newer mobile devices, and are faced with added complexity, risk and cost.
Microsoft's new Surface tablet aims to tackle this problem. It promises to be popular with many businesses, despite not having some of the flashy apps available to iPad users.
Companies are always looking for better ways to integrate all their devices and this tablet will be easily compatible with existing systems.
The convergence of hardware and software is the key driver of BYOD, and will also be essential for businesses looking for more flexible and scalable technology.
The new Surface tablet is powered by Windows 8. According to Microsoft, the new OS will offer the same user experience on a desktop PC, laptop, smartphone or tablet. The Surface will therefore give business users all the convenience of a tablet and the same level of integration with their business systems as a PC.
Jon Milward is operations director of integrated solutions at Northdoor
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