iPad and companion computing for credit unions.

Normally, I pillage content from the blog and use it in the podcast.  Today I’m taking a topic we discussed on the show and expanding it for the blog.

So far my iPad has been my constant companion for the last three weeks. I believe that it is the very first true companion computer to be sold on a widespread basis. The idea behind companion computing is that you have a device that is multi-functional and works as a multipurpose tool that gets nearly constant use. Certainly a cell phone makes some steps toward this goal. But the iPad takes it to a new level. 

The value that I see for credit unions and the iPad is not only related to the potential for moving forward with the paperless office. Rather I also see it as a thin client for credit union employees. There are many applications for the iPad that allow the iPad to dial into computers as a thin client.  For a device known primarily for its capacity to aid in consuming media, it turns out that the iPad can also be a business tool.

Citrix is one of the largest providers of software in this arena. Citrix has many apps for the iPad already. Instead of buying your employees laptops for $1,500, you may be able to buy them iPads for $500 and achieve the same functionality. Moreover, with the iPad’s ability to do virtually any other type of electronic human activity, you’ll have a happy employee. From e-mail to streaming movies to reading books to playing games, you name it and the iPad does it. I wouldn’t be surprised if many companies adopt the iPad as the ultimate portable thin client. 

On the member side of things, many credit unions have developed apps for the iPod.  I would encourage them to also develop apps for the iPad.  From what I’ve seen, the iPad is selling at an astonishing rate.  Your members will appreciate it, especially if they can securely access their accounts and do bill pay via the iPad.

As an aside, once again I am using DragonDictate to create this blog post. I found out the DragonDictate software is so good because it sends a recording of my voice to a supercomputer at the Dragon offices and converts it from speech to text. This is freakishly science-fiction like, yet it’s also been available on the iPhone for some time.  There’s a reason Apple has been on fire lately.  When has a 1st generation gadget ever done so much?

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