In the past decade, we have seen transportation technology evolve from the old reliable AS400 to client server applications to Web-based and now to the cloud. In 2012, it will be all about the tablet.
With Google’s increasing dominance in the tablet operating system market and its acquisition of Motorola, we will see the tablet operating system and the desktop operating system begin to converge. Google has taken a big step forward with its new enterprise Android OS that will allow multiple users on a device similar to Microsoft Windows. I can envision a worker sitting in front of a monitor working on a tablet docked similarly to a laptop and then taking that same tablet out into a container or railyard to complete a task without any transition between technologies.
With the entry point for tablets at around $300 compared to the ruggedized equivalents of the past at almost 10 times the cost, a tablet can almost be considered disposable. However, with a simple lanyard and rugged case, I believe they will survive most transportation environments.
As a software provider to the transportation industry, it’s easy to see the evolution to where all enterprise applications will migrate toward the tablet platform. In my opinion, this migration will not be slow but rather a stampede. Combined with a cloud environment and hosted applications, companies quickly will realize the cost, efficiency and mobility benefits of a tablet-based work force that can simply dock in the morning, undock at night and have their workstation with them at all times.
This technology also will assist a company in its business-continuity planning. New technology such as laptops, Blackberries and smartphones allow companies to blur the line between home and office. As the world moves toward a tablet-based workplace, we may see the line erased completely.