Gartner says worldwide media tablet sales are on pace to reach 19 million units in 2010 with 60 percent of those sales in North America. They predict 181-percent growth for 2011 to more than 54 million units. Gartner goes on to say that cellular/Wi-Fi tablets will grow from 55 percent of sales this year to 80 percent of sales by 2014.
So what does the rise of the network-enabled tablet mean for physical security providers, users, and integrators? Here are three best guesses.
Guess1: For security system manufacturers
Most tablets contain limited computing power to operate traditional thick client applications. At best you can have a small purpose-built application that allows you to access information and capabilities stored elsewhere. Manufacturers will be driven to create tablet applications and/or use standard browsers to provide access to their back-end platforms. This will help to drive the adoption of common standards and speed up the eradication of proprietary thick client security applications.
Guess2: For end users
Once security system users are freed from their desks by tablets, the viability of a fixed-post guard operation will be diminished for many customers. Rather than posting Security Officer Sam to the console room in front of a bank of monitors, it's likely that Sam will be roaming the campus with an iPad under his arm and a smart phone on his hip. It's debatable if we will even need the traditional fixed-post security operations center for anything but the largest and most sensitive facilities.
Guess 3: For security integrators
If you thought application compatibility issues with various operating systems and browser versions were a challenge to manage, wait until customer expects security application to run on four different tablets over their Wi-Fi or cellular network. Integrators will have to master yet another platform for security applications in an environment that requires networking and IT security know-how. Many smart integrators will view this as another opportunity to underline the “value-add” in value-added reseller.