By Priya Ramesh (@newpr)
It sounds very cheesy when I say, “I take my iPad to bed every night,” but if you are really listening, you get the bigger picture. Yes, the iPad is slowly replacing the books and magazines I used to carry around at home, to the airport or to the doctor’s appointment. Unlike the first 3M iPad buyers, I waited for the initial frenzy to die down to ensure I wasn’t getting an iPad just because it’s cool and sexy to carry one around. The iPad revelation moment for me was at my orthodontist’s office.
Picture this. I am at my orthodontist’s, getting ready for an Invisalign treatment and a little nervous that this very expensive treatment better work out. In comes my orthodontist with her iPad. She walks me through photos and x-rays of my rather misaligned teeth on her iPad, then she plays a video of a patient’s before/after Invisalign treatment and now she shows me a picture of what I would look like post-treatment. In a matter of 20 min, she switched from photos, x-rays, video content, websites and medical data all seamlessly on one awesome device called the iPad. Of course being the techno geek that I am, totally fell for her use of yet another Apple innovation that creates the perception of being “forward thinking and hence cooler than the herd.”
But is the iPad just an accessory or is there real value in businesses using the tablet? I did some digging around and found some unique ways of how some industries are using it. Who knows, this might lead to you thinking differently?
iPads Changing Mobile Healthcare: Like my orthodontist, more and more doctors are carrying their iPads in hospitals to access records, search medical information, view x-rays, illustrate medical conditions to patients. Doctors feel comfortable carrying their iPads around while making the rounds everyday due to its low weight, good battery life and easy integration with virtual health care systems like Citrix which adhere to HIPAA requirements. A Japanese surgeon recently used the iPad in the surgical room to view the inside pictures of the patient under surgery.
Car Manufacturers Leverage iPads to Help Dealerships and Engage Customers: Recently Ford introduced the Fiesta App to reach customers in a brand-new and interactive way. In the words of Thomais Zaremba, Ford car marketing communications manager, “It brings together the gratification of holding a brochure while sharing interactive content like videos that are typically found on websites.” App users will be able to check out all of Fiesta’s 15 class-exclusive features, including keyless entry and available push-button start. The screen lets viewers scroll down to each of the features, where a description and short video then shows how the technology works. I am sure Scott Monty had a lot to do with getting Ford on the iPad. He is always introducing new ways to better engage the Ford brand.
Hyundai plans to pre-load its Equus model, out in September with an iPad instead of a printed owner’s manual. “Who reads a 300-page manual anyway?” asked John Krafcik, the chief executive of Hyundai North America. “Instead, they’ll have a gorgeous color touchscreen loaded with the manual electronically, as well as photos of the whole Hyundai lineup.”
Restaurants Replacing Paper Menus with iPads: How would you like to view pictures and videos of the dinner menu while you are in a restaurant versus a boring paper menu? Yeah it is rather mouth watering, isn’t it? Customers at Global Mundo Tapas in the Rydges Hotel in North Sydney use iPads to order meals, and even to specify how they’d like their meat cooked or get advice on food pairings and which wines to drink. Now does it make sense to invest in $500-$700 iPads for a restaurant with 50+ tables and does that boost sales is questionable but the restaurant definitely got a huge PR boost from big publications writing about their iPad usage.
I hope the examples above have got you thinking but wait, don’t jump into an iPad app just yet. Ask yourself the following question before getting your brand on the iPad:
- You got to be truly interactive with your iPad content. Repurposing PDF data into an iPad app isn’t going to cut it. Wired magazine truly took its magazine to a whole new level with its iPad app. Do you have the budget/content that can make your iPad truly engaging?
Considering the Apple tablet has been just around for a few months, I haven’t seen any eye-opening metrics that vouch for increased sales via iPad apps. If you have any real results (leads, sales) to share, please jump in. Thanks!
Thomas Collective, http://thethomascollective.wordpress.com/page/2/
Joshua Hays, http://joshuahays.wordpress.com/