6 Unexpected Ways Businesses are Using iPhones and iPads in the Workplace is the seventh in a series of articles that we'll be posting this fall. Small Business Marketing Tips To Build Sales In A Down Economy will teach you how to use do-it-yourself tools like SMS, email and social media to effectively market your business.
Entry By Jason Brick
For decades, Apple courted the consumer market so exclusively that business clients often considered the company actively hostile. Since the iPhone/iPad revolution, though, Apple products have appeared more and more in employee hands at businesses both large and small. In some cases they work as the newest productivity tool, a next-generation upgrade from the standard laptop. Other businesses, have taken the implementation to an entirely new level.
1. Meet the New Cash Register
Internet-based credit card processing is beginning to nudge traditional point of sale machines out of the market. Combined with apps like Square for order tracking and accounting, this turns your iPhone/iPad into a portable cash register. Salespeople can ring up orders on the floor, or take them into the field for house calls.
2. Upgrade Presentations
Old-school sales presentations means carrying printed materials; they're bulky and can quickly become outdated. The iPad/iPhone way of presenting is light, portable, and easy to update. Apps like Keynote allow you to add colorful graphics, animation and videos, makes this new presentation approach still more powerful.
3. The Truly Paperless Office
Large companies and small businesses have a common problem -- too much paper. Putting the same information on a dedicated iPad though -- or a server the device can log in to -- eliminates paper and saves trees. It also creates a document that's easy to update, and one that everyone can access at the same time.
4. Integrated Customer Tracking
A business without an electronic customer database is far behind the times. But some savvy business owners are going further by integrating that customer database with apps for their iPhone/iPad. This benefits them in three ways: It lets them choose the best candidates for marketing broadcasts; it gives them the ability to update information in real time while talking to customers; and it makes inputting a new customer's information a more pleasant experience by moving it away from a formal desk and a bulky computer.
5. The Robot Waiter
An iPad integrated with another in a restaurant kitchen means a comfortably seated diner can order a meal at the pace that best suits him. Instantaneous, electron ic delivery, helps out as well by eliminating wait staff errors, and lost or confused tickets. No luck yet, though, on an iPad that actually carries your food to the table!
6. Flexible Workstations
Everyone's interacted with the conceptual ancestor of the iPad for years by signing the UPS worker's electronic order tracking pad. Apps for the iPad now provide this kind of workstation for every imaginable task, and let one employee use the same device for different tasks throughout the day. A network of iPad workstations also gives management real-time tracking of progress