Aussie SMBs want tablets for Christmas

news The latest research conducted for Telstra by StollzNow Research has shown that one in three Australian small business owners are thinking of buying an iPad or other brand of tablet in the lead up to Christmas.

Telstra Business stated that its recent research of owners of small to medium businesses (SMBs) found that 28 percent would be purchasing a tablet for work. Currently only 9 percent of owners of SMBs are using tablets. For businesses already using mobile broadband, 66 percent have put a tablet on their Christmas wish list. The Telstra SMB survey was conducted between October 11th and 20th, 2011, and included owners of 321 SMBs, ranging from self-employed to those with 200 staff.

Will Irving, Telstra Business Group Managing Director talked about the popularity of tablets in the SMB market, with 86 percent of users stating that they are “satisfied” or “very satisfied” with the devices. Irving said that smartphones and high-speed mobile broadband have been good business enablers, while tablets made the move to increased mobility easier.

“More than 60 percent have at least one staff member spending most of their time working away from their main business location,” Irving revealed. “Three-quarters of Australian SMEs are equipping staff with laptops, and more than half are now supplying smartphones for work purposes, rather than ordinary mobile phones.”

Irving pointed out that 89 percent of businesses that encourage staff to work away from the office, had found moderate to significant improvement in efficiency with the use of tablets.

Recently, Telstra had introduced the Apple iPad 2 into its range of tablets, to enable businesses to buy an iPad on a plan with a generous monthly data allowance and spread out the cost of the device over 24 months. Two Android-powered tablets in Telstra’s Business range are the Motorola XOOM and the Acer Iconia Tab A501 Pro.

I bought an iPad primarily for work several months ago and haven’t looked back since. I primarily use the device for doing ‘light’ work — emailing, reading RSS feeds and browsing other daily web sites. The difference between using it and a laptop is I don’t have to sit at my desk while using it; I can sit on a couch, in a comfy chair — anywhere, really. I would say that almost every small business in Australia will be using tablets within the next five years, as the devices gradually replace laptops and other devices (cash registers?).

Opinion/analysis by Renai LeMay