Apple iPad in the contact center?


Tablet computers are traditionally favored in two specific markets, education and health care. Proponents of tablet computing envision students carrying a lightweight, thin device with a stylus for taking notes, make drawings, and reading textbooks. In health care, tablet computers accompany physicians to provide patient information — history, x-ray pictures, etc. — and drug and disease reference material. The main problem with tablet computers today — until Apple revealed its iPad — is the user interface and interaction. Existing tablet devices run the traditional operating systems like Windows and Linux, and the only difference is that instead of using a keyboard and mouse to interact, the user gets to use a stylus. The OS remains the same without consideration for a new UI more suitable for a tablet. Sure it’s highly portable, but it’s not highly usable.

The Apple iPhone redefined how a person interacts with a mobile device. Its multitouch capabilities pushed UI paradigms to a new era. With the success of the iPhone, Apple clearly saw the world ready to accept a multitouch tablet device.

Enter the Apple iPad.

This device has the same iPhone OS which was made purely for gesture-based interactions. Better yet, it will run existing iPhone applications with no problem. Just as companies started to make iPhone apps to complement their regular product offerings (Cisco and Avaya, have enterprise iPhone apps; Genesys announced an iPhone app during G-Force Orlando 2009), they should see the bigger-footprint iPad as another opportunity to enhance the contact center experience.

The contact center supervisor and manager would find the iPad a perfect device to keep up with their busy schedules and still able to monitor the center’s performance. Of course, it all depends on the available applications from these vendors. Another potential for a new revenue stream? Make a deal with Apple to resell iPads preloaded with the vendor’s technical and marketing documents, as well as the vendor’s apps. I bet that’ll have a positive impact on the retention rate of contact center staff, too. Who wouldn’t want a shiny Apple iPad as a work device?

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