There is no denying that the iPad is making waves in enterprise. More and more companies are incorporating Apple’s tablet into their workforce. App developers have started switching their focus to the productivity genre. The iPad is the number one preferred tablet for “Bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) to work users. We’ve got some tips on how to maximize your iPad use with productivity in the suit-and-tie corporate world.
The iPad is deeply integrated with Microsoft Exchange through ActiveSync. ActiveSync allows your iOS device to communicate directly with your business’s Microsoft Exchange server so that emails, tasks, meeting invites, and calendar updates are immediately synced between your work computer and your iPad or iPhone.
Setting up Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) is unbelievably easy to do if you have the right information. To access EAS, tap the Settings icon on your iPad. Then, tap the “Mail, Contacts, Calendars” tab on the right side of the screen. When you see your mail accounts list, tap “Add Account” and then tap the Microsoft Exchange logo.
You will be asked to enter your Exchange email address and the password related to it.
You will need your front-end Exchange Server’s complete address. This is usually something like, “www.server.hobiedunnandmcmann.com.” If you don’t know this address, chances are your boss or your IT department does. Ask around. Once you’ve filled in the required fields, (domain, username, password, etc.) your iOS device will connect to the Exchange Server and you’ll be ready to go.
In addition to direct EAS syncing, your iPad can be invaluable in the workplace if you have the right apps. Most businesses run on Microsoft Office applications. The world is not yet ready for Apple’s iWorks suite, although it is getting more popular. Until then, you’ll want to be sure to have Office-compatible apps to keep you in the game.
Office2 HD ($7.99) is a document editor that creates and edits Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. It is built around the same formats that Microsoft uses in its productivity platform. You can save files under different versions of Word (.doc, .docx) as well as saving PDFs and converting to Pages files.
You might also want to check out Microsoft OneNote for iPad (Free, Unlimited upgrade – $14.99) if you already use OneNote on your Mac. Of course, Documents To Go ($16.99) is a must-have app for productivity. It allows you to view and edit Microsoft Office documents and sync them with Google Docs, Dropbox, and more. It also includes a free desktop version that syncs with your mobile app, allowing for seamless integration between mobile and desktop computing.
Of course, if you really want to utilize your iPad while on your work’s wireless network, you are going to need a good Virtual Private Network (VPN). VPN Express (Free) is the best on the market. You can surf the net anonymously so prying eyes in the IT department can’t keep track of how often you visit Facebook. Users can also bypass blocked websites, VOIPs, and Firewalls. You will be browsing the Internet using a secure, encrypted connection between your iPad and the web using a “tunnel” through the developer’s server.
When it comes to accessories, nothing beats turning your iPad into a mini laptop by adding a keyboard case. Logitech makes the thinnest iPad keyboard cases on the market. The cream of the crop is the Solar Keyboard Folio ($129.99). It is ultra thin, light as a handful of paper and recharges itself with even the lowest of ambient light. Using Bluetooth connectivity, the case pairs with your iPad and lets you type with the speed of a career secretary instead of trying to feel your way around the touch screen keyboard.