Tablets Redefining Enterprise Line-of-Business Workflows, According to New Research by VDC

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Although consumer adoption of tablets has slowed, demand from enterprise customers remains strong.

Global Rugged and Consumer Tablet Supporting Line of Business Applications Forecast (US $M)

With a global mobile workforce exceeding one billion, the opportunity for tablets to support workers, especially for line of applications, is vast. We are witnessing a broad range of use cases having a direct, meaningful impact on business performance.

The use of mobile devices to support line-of-business workers across numerous sectors continues to grow as organizations benefit from an increasingly connected and productive workforce, according to new research from VDC (click here for more info). Industries continue to internalize the benefits of a mobilized workforce, as data from VDC shows an anticipated average increase of mobility-based budgets for 2014 of 10.6%. Although mobile workers will continue to leverage a variety of form factors including smartphones, tablets, and notebooks, the combination of the tablet’s portability, rich display, and processing power make this form factor increasingly desirable. VDC anticipates that the rugged tablet market will reach $500 million in 2014, while the market for enterprise-issued consumer tablets for line-of-business applications will top $3 billion.

Rugged tablets primarily run a traditional WinTel platform with demand strongest in public safety, military, utilities, and telecommunications markets. Much of the recent demand has been for notebook replacements, especially among customers with notebooks mounted into vehicles. The lower price point of tablets in addition to their added portability for use outside of the vehicle is making them attractive alternatives. Adoption of rugged Android tablets is only beginning to scale with large recent deployments in the telecommunications sector for field service applications. Holding back adoption has been the lack of viable Android applications, a generally limited product portfolio from which to select, and the continued apprehension toward Android among many enterprise customers. These barriers, however, are being overcome and the outlook for rugged Android tablet solutions going into 2015 is gaining momentum.

The broader non-rugged or consumer tablet opportunity in the enterprise is expected to exceed 8 million units in 2014. The growing availability of peripherals to augment the functionality of consumer tablets and provide better protection – including barcode scanners, mag-stripe readers and hazardous-rated covers – are further opening the opportunity for “consumer” tablets in the enterprise, especially for line-of-business applications. In addition, leading vendors such as Apple and Samsung are now actively targeting the enterprise, looking not only to fill the void left by increasingly displaced BlackBerry, but to develop new and higher value-adding opportunities. With a global workforce exceeding one billion, the enterprise mobility opportunity is becoming increasingly attractive, including the opportunity for more specialized line-of-business solutions.

“Even with the slowdown in overall tablet adoption as a backdrop we see continued strength in the enterprise sector,” said VDC Executive Vice President David Krebs. “Although historical growth rates cannot be sustained, we are projecting growth in the low teens for tablet solutions supporting line-of-business applications.”

About VDC Research:
VDC Research is a leading technology market analyst firm covering the connected world, focusing on embedded devices and enterprise mobility. Founded in 1971, the firm provides critical market intelligence to the world's leading technology vendors, who rely on its analysts for the data, ideas, and insights they need to make impactful strategic decisions with confidence.

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Kathryn Nassberg
VDC Research Group, Inc
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