The iPad has completely changed the personal computing world. But alongside the hundreds of thousands of apps offered in Apple’s flagship market, Australian SMEs are now designing their own ways of integrating the iPad into the workplace.
Property valuation tools, ordering and inventory facilities and superannuation calculators are just some of the methods Australian businesses are using for the iPad in their business.
Over the past few years there has been a growing concern among experts that businesses aren’t doing enough due diligence on technology integration. ANZ has even banned iPads from board meetings over fears that notes taken aren’t legally protected.
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But despite those concerns, businesses are finding they are able to integrate iPads with custom technology and use them to enhance productivity.
Here are 10 businesses that are using the iPad in interesting and innovative ways:
Valuing homes isn’t easy. There are a ton of factors to consider including location, the number of facilities in the house itself, the number of bedrooms, appliances and of course, square footage.
But an app from RP Data made specifically for its agents allows employees to value homes based on a number of different factors including location and number of rooms. It combines RP Data’s statistics and puts them into an easy to view format, so agents can share that information with clients.
Agents can create profiles and track their recent sales, and can also view the properties they have on the market right now, with photos as well. They can also track information for their local suburb and present that to a client, so they have a realistic expectation for a selling price – they can also email a report to the seller from the app itself.
RP Data executive general manager David Williams says the motivation behind the app was to give agents a platform where they could more easily communicate to vendors.
“When you look at most real estate agents, they’re working in the field. It was a natural progression for use to move into this space, and we’ve also moved to a personal login system as well.”
“We’re able to offer a more mobile product to a greater and ever expanding audience.”
Angel Aromatics had a problem. It was unable to present enough of its products – fragrant homewares including candles, wax melts, and oils – into trade shows due to space restrictions. This meant customers weren’t able to see all of its range and as a result, sales were impacted.
But office manager Lana Vidler decided that if an iPad app could be custom built showing off the company’s entire product range, space wouldn’t even be a factor anymore.
“Space is a premium there, so we wanted to have the iPad to display pictures, along with trying to move everything onto the cloud in general,” she says.
“It was a total learning curve. I had an iPhone at the time, so I thought it could be doable. We just went out looking to put it all together and get an application together. It took a lot of hours, but all the retailers and customers loved it.”
Vidler says the app showed off different product ranges, colours, sizes, and even allowed clients to make orders from that app while they were there.
“We were also able to say to people, “we have this in stock” or “we don’t have that stock”, and if we didn’t have what they wanted we would just offer them alternatives right then and there. That leads to a bunch of sales. It’s much better than just calling them a few weeks later and offering them an alternative, because they may not want it.”
Superannuation fund QSuper has now replaced all paper documents for board meetings with iPads, similar to a move made by ANZ last month.
The move, which occurred earlier this month, will see the company implement IQ’s Trustee Office Solution, providing each board member with a “board pack”.
The system means board members’ documents will be kept behind authentication and encryption protocols, with a number of features including remote control and other security redundancies. The software is also able to be accessed along with SharePoint.
Switching to iPads has also had another benefit – reducing the necessary binders and paper usually delivered for board meetings, freeing up staff to focus on other matters.
Chief officer systems and change, Baden Sharples, said in a statement that the solution comes as the “ever increasing volume of work” continues to demand attention.
“The elegance of this implementation is that it provides immediate remote and mobile iPad access to not only the necessary board pack materials, but can connect board members with broader fund information should they need it.”
Users can also share documents safely with other board members, and access tasks, calendar updates and sub-committee documents.