The tablet has become the casual wear of the tech world. It’s an everyday technology you curl up with on the couch for a four-hour Orange is the New Black marathon.
It’s the device that comes to bed with you and remains streaming while you drift off to sleep, sitting up with your head at an angle you’re going to regret in the morning.
But that’s just a waste. The tablet is more than a portable TV screen. It can be the fulcrum of a one-touch video conferencing system. It can be a big-screen smartphone for mobile video calling with next-level visuals. And it can be a wall-mounted goliath at the heart of an interactive office. So make a little effort and take advantage of all your tablet can achieve.
One-Touch Tablet Video Calling
Ever since a camera was added to the iPad 2, tablets have been available to host video calls. Sony, Lenovo, Google, and Samsung all make quality tablets that’ll gladly accept your video calls, while Apple and their ever-rival, Microsoft, have since moved to make things a little larger with their respective “Pro” tablets.
There are several VC platforms available to choose from that can cater for tablet users, although the device is underrepresented when compared to desktop and smartphone services.
Still, you can make group calls with the big names, like Skype and Google Hangouts, and you can indulge that bigger screen by staging group chats of 20 or more with emerging platforms.
Further tapping into the processing power of the new generation of tablets, you can streamline your entire office VC experience by using a tablet as the hub of your conference or huddle room–a place from which to launch a video call easily with one click.
Microsoft recently unveiled its new Skype Room Systems for Skype For Business users.
The system has a tablet at its heart which lets callers instantly start, join, and moderate a group video conference with touch-screen simplicity. Here, a tablet slots straight into a dedicated hub–a SmartDock–and becomes the user interface for every aspect of a call.
It’s an example of how the tablet can be put to better use than simply catching stray popcorn as you stare at Netflix.
How to Put Your Tablet to Work
But you don’t have to be the gatekeeper to an entire company video conferencing system to make your tablet work for you.
The WebRTC standards introduced five years ago that let any browser become a free, instant video calling platform work just as well on most tablets as on smartphones and desktops. Which opens up a world of free connections on a device more mobile than a desktop, and more visually impressive than a smartphone.
You could integrate video chat into your personal or professional website to personalize interaction with clients, suppliers, and partners. Telecommuters could use it to remotely tap into the WebRTC-compatible video systems of their employers, giving them flexibility to work on the move with a more discrete version of the laptop.
Or, customer service staff could host instant or scheduled calls with customers by tapping into the company’s cloud-based network.
And, of course, there’s plenty of potential for tablet telephony back at the traditional office.
Tablets in the Office of the Future
When Accenture opened its “office of the future” earlier this year, it deployed a series of ever-ready Microsoft Surface Hub screens throughout the building. These hubs work much as giant tablets–they reach a scale of 84 inches–and offer the same touch screen and easy, instant video calling that the Skype Room System boasts.
If you can imagine being able to join or start a video call from a wall in every office corridor and meeting room in your building, you’re starting to see how the tablet can change the way you work.
And since the tablet is essentially a mobile computer, you don’t need to be confined to the office. So you can take it with you on that working lunch or business road trip, and strike up a video conversation wherever inspiration strikes.
The tablet has always had the potential to be a powerful business tool–Apple just popularized it by making it a leisure activity first. Now it’s time to go back to rediscover that potential, and start considering your tablet as business wear.