for iPads in business, apps are the real driver
By Tobi Schneidler, Founder and Director, Bouncepad
Why is the iPad on everyone’s mind right now? Not just those of retailers, but at trade fairs, hotels, hospitals and even church communities, you’ll see tablets being implemented by the thousands.
Bouncepad customers like McDonald’s, Marks & Spencer, O2 and Douglas Perfumery love the iPad for its small footprint, high flexibility, and the flawless interaction experience over traditional kiosk systems. Some fashion brands are installing iPads to align their brand with the great Apple success story. Other customers simply love the affordability. But is it simply the hardware price that makes iPads tempting to retailers?
There are many good reasons to consider the iPad for self-service applications; choice of great content, mature business apps and fantastic kiosk solutions.
iPad till systems are one such area of innovation, already spreading across California. Bouncepad is currently helping London’s award winning Kaffeine coffee bar to install a till system that uses ISIS POS to replace traditional hardware.
Multichannel strategy is another big driver for iPad systems. Shoppers with great IT in their homes and pockets are expecting rich information in high street shops as well. The iPad can feature catalogue content, product education and stock availability in a friendly and highly usable format.
Companies like Yooba, Global Bay and Mobiten have created elegant and versatile systems to publish highly interactive content to iPads deployed in retail. The richness of information and ease of implementation, paired with the iPad’s affordability is creating an attractive business case for many IT directors.
Customer surveys and lead capture present great opportunities too. Companies like Avius are already helping the hospitality and attraction industry with iPad-based systems. Those can even be extended with social media links, promotions and competition sign ups, presenting a great business case.
Highly specialist apps are fast emerging as well. Rentmaxx is launching iPad-based ski rental solutions for alpine resorts. Another of our customers is specialising in info kiosks for property marketing suits, while Sangen Systems has recently launched a niche app for opticians. It enables customers to take pictures of their new specs and share them via e-mail or Facebook – a great CRM opportunity.
These niche applications would not have been feasible for most retailers to develop until now. However, the combination of easy distribution, affordable hardware and secure mounting solutions is creating a whole new market for retail innovations for multi-nationals as well as sole traders.
The next wave of development will see hardware integration to extend the apps even further. For example, we recently completed a large RFID enabled project for ITN International, which creates event solutions for visitor registration.
Great apps are worthless if end users won’t touch them. But thanks to the consumer success of iPhones and iPads, literally hundreds of millions of people have learned to love the seamless user experience of iOS devices and won’t settle for less. Our products are designed to extend this user experience into the physical design of shops and exhibitions.
Who would have thought that the iPad, a quintessential consumer product, would become a serious business proposition? Apple is finally waking up to this opportunity and actively promoting the tablets to corporate customers and for public use. If any more proof were needed, dozens of iPads are now used in Apple’s own flagship stores around the world as product info points. What a great endorsement for the future of iPad kiosks!
Wednesday, March 21, 2012