Dec 22 2014

How Tablets Support Digital Lifestyles at Work and Play

Companies are using tablets to improve customer service and streamline paperwork.

Indoor cycling provider Flywheel Sports uses a “tech-pack” on every bike that displays the rider’s resistance, speed and power output during proprietary technology to enhance classes in its 30 boutique fitness studios, so it follows that the company would also tap the latest IT to offer top-notch customer service.

Since opening its flagship studio in New York’s Flatiron district in 2010, Flywheel Sports has expanded to major U.S. cities such as Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Seattle, among others. It even has a location in Dubai.

A few years ago, Flywheel Sports deployed Microsoft Surface RT tablets at the front entrance to the studios so members could more conveniently make reservations and check in for classes, says Chief Technology Officer Bob Rademacher. The reservation system provides information on members’ past workouts, including times, speeds and calories burned. The system then reminds riders of their location and bike number.

“The tablets are very easy for our members and staff to use,” Rademacher says. “People can use whatever they are comfortable with. Some people like the keyboard, while others use the touch feature.”

Going forward, Flywheel Sports intends to roll out Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablets for the staff. Rademacher says staff will use the devices to run point-of-sale purchases and handle account and membership questions. “We only use the RT tablets for limited purposes,” he says. “For the staff, Surface Pro 3 tablets let them run more applications — plus standard Word, Excel and PowerPoint applications — more efficiently.”

Chris Silva, a Gartner research director who focuses on mobility, says Windows compatibility is driving interest among companies that are considering replacing desktops and notebooks with tablets. “Organizations are much more willing to take the plunge and go with these devices because of their support for Windows applications to get work done,” he says.


The estimated average increase for enterprise mobility spending in 2014

SOURCE: VDC Research, “The Global Market for Enterprise Tablets,” September 2014

The Transforming iPad

Despite the increased interest in Microsoft and Android tablets, the Apple iPad continues to hold high appeal. For example, the iPad helped law firm Fennemore Craig transform operations in its Arizona, Colorado and Nevada offices.

Marc Lamber, director of the plaintiff’s personal injury practice, says that in the past, a settlement letter could run 50 or more pages, with thousands of additional pages in medical bills and exhibits. Now, the firm stores all personal injury information on iPads, which it hands out to clients, opposing attorneys, insurance adjusters and risk managers for the duration of the case.

Fennemore Craig also develops videos with computer-generated imagery to supplement the documentation. “We find that a picture is worth a thousand words,” Lamber says. “The videos we develop with CGI show re-enactments of accidents.”

Lamber says that clearly depicting what happened and providing documentation on the iPads helps decision-makers reach conclusions more efficiently. “We go to settlement much faster and often achieve a better outcome.”

The iPads also help Fennemore Craig’s clients keep in touch with their attorneys. “With the iPads, they can email the attorneys, receive immediate feedback and easily share documents and other information in a collaborative manner.”

Andrew Clawson, the group’s practice manager, says the firm chose the iPads because they are easy for people to use. “The users simply turn them on and press start on the video, and they are off and running,” he says. “We almost never have technical issues.”