By Susan J. Campbell
, TMCnet Contributing Editor
With more than 50 million iPads in circulation, the proliferation of the tablet computer into the workforce is widely accepted. To maximize the capabilities of the device, more companies are incorporating bring your own device (BYOD) policies in the workplace. App developers are also jumping into the mix by creating more apps that are hitting the productivity genre hard.
One of the reasons the iPad is proving to be the top bring your own device tablet computer in the workforce is because of its integration with Microsoft (News - Alert) Exchange, which occurs through ActiveSync. With this integration, workers are able to access their e-mail, calendar, tasks and meeting invites through the iPad.
And, according to this Pad Gadget report, setting up the service on the iPad is easy, too. Users simply go to their settings, tap on the “mail, contact, calendars” tab and add the account by tapping the Microsoft Exchange icon. The user’s IT department can help if the he or she is unsure of the exchange server address. Everything else, however, is fairly straightforward and easy.
Workers familiar with the office-compatible applications for bring your own device tablets are getting the most use out of the iPad. Many of these apps are bringing great value to the workday processes. The Apple (News - Alert) iWorks suite hasn’t gained as much ground with the mobile workforce, so the Microsoft offering is still king. But most of these apps come at a fairly low cost.
For instance, “documents to go” app is only $16.99 and is an excellent bring your own device app because it gives total access to Microsoft Office files. The Microsoft One Note for iPad is free, and allows the user to take notes and make lists while integrating other media. The go-to app is Office2 HD, which is only $7.99. The app is intuitive and easy to use and allows the user to create and edit word documents, Excel and PowerPoint.
To maximize the bring your own device experience, access to a virtual private network is essential. A free app called VPN Express is one of the best choices for this solution. Sneaky employees who need to fly under the radar can surf the Web in a clandestine fashion so as not to catch the wrath of IT using the VPN, but the up side of the VPN on a bring your own device setup is that it encrypts the connection between the iPad and the Web, which adds another layer of security to the data on the iPad.
The demands for increased access to mobile capabilities is not likely to wane, creating opportunities for new applications, services and bring your own device policies. As new innovations continue to enter the market, adoption, change and advancements will be fun to watch.
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Edited by Rachel Ramsey