It’s impressive. In less than five years, more than 105 million U.S. workers across all industries will be considered mobile workers according to a new IDC forecast . That means that nearly three out of every four workers will no longer be reliant on the “PC” in its traditional sense. Having to come into the office to do your “real work” on a desktop PC will be a thing of the past (those days are already gone for our customers) and workers’ physical location will be insignificant to productivity and team collaboration. All thanks to today’s tablet PCs.
Now, you may be wondering why I credit all of this impending workforce transformation on mobile tablets alone when IDC’s analysts noted “the increasing affordability of smartphones and tablets combined with the growing acceptance of corporate bring your own device (BYOD) programs” as the driving factor duo.
Don’t get me wrong: We at Xplore fully recognize and appreciate the prolific influence of mobile technology as a whole on our nation’s progressive business capabilities. Our own mobile tablet platforms wouldn’t be viable if it weren’t for the innovation of our partners such as Intel, Wacom and Microsoft. The evolution of today’s mobile society is no doubt a team effort.
However, there are a couple other critical facts I extracted from this report that, perhaps unknowingly, support the tablet PC’s leading role in the realization of IDC’s 2020 mobile workforce prediction:
- “Office-based and non-office-based mobile worker populations will stay in relative balance to one another throughout the forecast, with non-office-based mobile workers representing more than two thirds of the total mobile worker population.”
- Non-office based typically means field service jobs. And field service jobs means workers are in and out of their vehicles, in buildings or remote infrastructure locations where they may or may not have computer accessibility – or any type of data accessibility. That means they need a computer they can carry with them, and the only current PC form factor capable of following those mobile workers wherever they go – and delivering the same computing experience as a desktop – is a tablet PC.
- “Manufacturing, construction, retail and healthcare workers are inherently more mobile and these industries are expected to see faster growth in their mobile worker population than other vertical markets over the forecast period.”
Workers in these industries – as well as public safety and utilities – have been inherently mobile since inception. Their primary business revenue comes from tasks completed outside a traditional office environment. The difference between their mobility then and now is that, now, we finally have the right technology tools (aka tablet PCs) in place to give them full computing capabilities literally everywhere they go. No holds barred. They’re no longer bound by the limitations they faced with stationary desktops, heavy laptops/notebooks, pen and paper (yes, it’s still a common method) or even restrictive smartphones. Hence the ability to count them now (or by 2020) as true mobile workers, and the reason why you’ve never seen the cable guy or your doctor try to pull up your records on a smartphone. It’s always a tablet.
We’ve been developing rugged tablets explicitly for the needs of office-based and non-office based mobile workers for 18 years, and our customers have been adopting that mobile tablet PC technology just as long. The reason tablet PCs will remain central to transforming the rest of the mobile workforce is because of their unique ability to replicate the desktop or laptop PC experience in a single, truly mobile platform. And given that IDC’s high-growth mobile workforce sectors are typically not sending workers to a Starbucks-like environment to do their jobs, only tablet PCs that are carefully designed and purposefully built to satisfy more rugged requirements will endure our on-demand data expectations and rapid productivity pace.
I can tell you, our rugged tablets are designed explicitly for demanding mobile environments, whether that demand is coming from:
- Extreme environmental conditions (sun, heat, snow, rain, dust)
- Extreme handling (drops, bumps, sanitation requirements)
- Extreme use (lots of workflows, multiple peripherals, substantial data processing)
- Extraordinary connectivity needs (underground, on a power pole, on a ship/rig in the ocean, in the desert, rural homes, dense urban buildings, fortified plants, warehouses or secure government facilities)
And that is why tablet PCs – and likely rugged tablet PCs – will be the reason the mobile workforce reaches its full potential by 2020, especially in non-office based sectors.