iPad in Business – Part Two

In the previous article, entitled the Businesses of iPad Part One, we began to explore some of the options of using an iPad to get actual work done. Apple’s iPad launched onto the world stage in the early part of 2010 and transformed our understanding of tablet computing. Initially seen as the device for consuming content, it is also become a great tool for creating content. Professional and amateur artists can produce sketches and paintings with the tip of a finger, musicians can perform and record entire albums and business users can get their work done in out of the office.

In Part One we talked about some applications, such as Apple’s iWork suite, Documents To Go, Air Sharing and the technologies built into the iPad such as File Sharing and its synergies with MobileMe. Using iWork or Documents To Go users can import, create and work with documents compatible with Microsoft Office. Using Air Sharing users can easily store, transfer and open to read documents that they receive from a networked computer, e-mail or from a cloud computing platform. Apple’s own MobileMe suite allows users to employ cloud technologies to keep their iPhone, iPad, Windows and Macintosh computers in sync.

One of the most interesting technologies to come out of the cloud computing arena is a product called DropBox. DropBox is the answer to FTP for everybody. Simply stated consists of a website that you log into, create folders, upload and backup files (documents, images, media files and zip archives.) Once you have set up your dropbox you can download the DropBox application on your Mac or PC and keep your stored items in the DropBox in sync. Even better than the DropBox has mobile apps for the iPhone, iPad, Android and Blackberry. These let you access the files and dropbox. That means that while you are on your iPad you can open up the document into an application that supports the so that sleek and work with the files.

The cool thing about DropBox is that you can also share a folder with a friend or coworker. Simply choose to share the folder, enter your friend’s e-mail, optionally add an e-mail message and press invite. Your friend or coworker will receive an e-mail invitation to join your DropBox. You don’t have the messy FTP style username and password. They use their own e-mail address to log in and they choose their own password. They can access the files that you shared right there in their web browser, or they can optionally download the applications to their computers and iPad etc. They can create their own folders and share those folders with their other friends and colleagues.

Things is the name of an application that runs on iPhone, iPad and your Mac. Things is a to do list and project management tool. You add task items and attach notes and optional deadlines so you can follow-up on the things you need to do. You can also install  a Things app on your iPhone and iPad and  Things will automatically sync the three computers together. Create a task item on your iPhone, or on your Mac and Things will automatically sync up and keep all the items up to date.

If your business uses FileMaker Pro databases you can also install FileMaker 2 Go on your iPad or iPhone and access the very same databases. The iPhone and iPad have built in support for VPN networks. You can use PPTP, L2 TP or Cisco VPN right on the device to connect into your office. Once you connect to the VPN network or virtually inside the office and by opening FileMaker to go you can open the databases and work as if you’re in the office. The using FileMaker 2 Go you can create that estimate, look up that contact or access the companies payment schedule.

By combining the applications above, with access to your e-mail, contacts and calendar items conjunction with Google maps the iPad or iPhone can easily becomes the most portable office tool. Not just for consuming information before accessing creating and working with it. Oh, of course you can also play Angry Birds.

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