Tablet's implications for digital media are profound by Steven Vonder Haar

  • If this year’s Consumer Electronics Show can be taken as a gauge, you should expect the clamor surrounding this part of the digital marketplace to grow into an absolute roar in the next couple months as we see the roll-out of a new version of Apple’s iPad and multiple devices based on Google’s Android operating system.
  • If the tablet hype actually evolves into tablet ubiquity, the implications for the consumer digital media space are profound. The devices pave the way for individuals to acquire and experience content from the worlds of newspapers, magazines, books and video in fresh new ways.

The potential impact of tablets on the world of business communications has the potential to be just as significant. As tablets become used more and more frequently for personal media, it’s only natural to expect their owners to begin using the devices in day-to-day business, as well.

The changes will be most noticeable in how video is used for business applications. As tablets seep into the workplace, the opportunities for video in the corporate sector will grow exponentially. Tablet devices are tuned specifically to make it easy for individuals for view video content, creating a fresh, accessible venue that makes it easy for employees to tap into relevant video material online.

But while tablets open a new window for productively using video more extensively in business applications, the prospect of distributing multimedia content more pervasively to employees and co-workers brings with it the need for some fresh thinking on the best practices for making video-to-the-table viable in the business environment. Here are five issues that corporate communicators need to keep in mind as they strive to make tablet video a part of the business communications toolbox.

1. Embrace Short-Attention Span Theater: Think of the tablet as a venue for sampling video snippets, not for attending 45-minute executive presentations. Video clips that can convey a message in 90 seconds or less will prove to be highly valued by those looking for engaging business video applications on the tablet. Focus on developing video content well-suited for the quick-view paradigm of the tablet device.

2. Security is a Pre-Requisite: Caution is the watchword in the early days of deploying video-to-the-tablet. As a relatively new platform, the tablet presents risks. Prying eyes could tap into content they should not have access to. Alternatively, heavy traffic volumes that come with lots of people watching tablet video could compromise network security. As with all other forms of new technology, tablet evangelists must make sure they do no harm with fresh implementations of business video applications.

3. Identify Communications Priorities Before Hardware Purchase: Try to predict the ways you will want to use business video via a tablet device. Will you only be watching video? Then, pretty much any tablet will do. Those wanting to use the devices for live, multi-party video meetings will want to make sure their devices have the cameras and networking horsepower needed to carry off the feat.

4. Packaging More Important than Ever: The consumer-friendly nature of the iPad - and accessibility of tablet computers in general- raises the bar for software solutions used to portalize and present video content libraries. Tablet users will be demanding – in terms of their expectations for user interface – and will be expecting software applications that deliver an engaging, easy-to-use business video experience.

5. Home-Grown Solutions Can be Hazardous for Your Health: Simply put, the speed of tablet adoption coupled with the demands likely to come with shuttling video to the mobile devices most likely will require technology platforms beyond the scope of what can be developed in-house by corporate IT departments. Organizations rapidly embracing video-to-the-tablet will be well-served by investments in video platforms developed by outside vendors focusing specifically on the issues of online video.

Could the tablet emerge as a tool that delivers enriched video information to customer support professionals in the field? Might it emerge as a vehicle used by sales people to deliver engaging product information during their meetings with prospects? Or can mobile devices be used by insurance companies to collect video information on damage claims submitted by their customers?

The answers to these questions — and others like it — likely will go a long way in determining whether video-to-the-tablet ultimately lives up to its hype in the world of business.

Steven Vonder Haar is Research Director of Interactive Media Strategies and can be reached at SVonder@InteractiveMediaStrategies.com