The idea of accessing secure, corporate applications a home device had Australian IT departments up in arms just three years ago, but tablets have come a long way since and now drive everything from warehouses to board meetings.
According to IDC figures in June, tablet makers sold 1.14 million devices in Australia and New Zealand in the three months to March, with the local market forecast to grow 46% throughout the year thanks to corporate rollouts, price drops and “PC cannibalisation”.
Here are some of the best tablet applications in Australian corporates right now:
Airline passengers may have to turn their electronic devices off during take-off and landing, but those in the cockpit are exempt, with Qantas pilots relying on tablets for flight plans, training manuals and navigation charts since late last year.
Qantas spent 14 months working out how to replace about 18,000 printed pages with four 64GB, 3G iPads in each cockpit.
The tablets run a custom-built application that covers flight plans, flight crew operating, policy and training manuals, as well as Jeppesen's Mobile FliteDeck Pro app for up-to-date navigation charts.
Westpac last year introduced Tabula, an app designed specificially for board members wanting to access and distribute confidential board documents on their iPads.
According to a ZDNet report, Tabula allows Westpac's administrative staff to compile custom board packs for directors, encrypt them, and transmit them electronically.
There are also calendar, search and annotation functions. The bank spent a year building the application in house.
Image: Westpac CIO Clive Whincup / Westpac
Logistics giant Linfox this year began putting Android tablets in its fleet of about 5,000 vehicles across Australia.
The tablets replaced six separate communications systems in each truck, combining GPS, satellite and mobile telephony, fleet tracking, supply management and entertainment.
The roll-out is expected to conclude by 2016.
Image: Linfox Logistics / Linfox
Insurer CGU has rolled out a customised Salesforce CRM platform that allows staff to collaborate and access customer information from their desktops, tablets and mobile phones.
That means sales staff can use up-to-the-minute data in conversations with brokers and partners, while insurance assessors can collect and input data - including geo-codes and photos - on customer premises and produce quotes more quickly.
The platform roll-out has been in the works for two years as part of a wider 'One CGU' transformation program that is expected to save the company $65 million a year by the end of the 2015 financial year.
Image: A CGU risk assessor on site / Salesforce
The Commonwealth Bank last year introduced Pi, which is software that lets merchants build their own, custom point-of-sales applications like loyalty programs, bill splitters and merchandise trackers.
Pi's not an application per se - it's a platform that allows merchants and developers to build applications and distribute them through Commonwealth Bank's version of the App Store: AppBank.
The Commonwealth Bank spent two years working on Pi before its July 2012 launch.
Image: Pi running on CBA's 7-inch Android tablet, Albert / Commonwealth Bank