After seven months of piloting half a dozen of Windows 8 3G-enabled Dell 10-inch Latitude tablets during early 2013, Melbourne Airport has deployed a total of 30 tablets to give its staff, particularly those working on the airfield, the luxury of having access to the organisation's traditional core system, without being glued to a desktop.
Tim Bradley, ICT strategy, design, and implementation manager of Melbourne Airport, said the tablets have given end-users the opportunity to conduct jobs in real-time and access to the corporate network, allowing them to be "more efficient while they were out in the field".
"The main benefit we've seen is prior to users having devices on the field, most of the time they would have to print out a paper-based job they'd be working on, take it out on the field, work on what they were required to do out there, and the jobs won't actually be updated until they returned to the office, which was much later in the day," he said.
"Whereas having these devices on the airfield, they can provide updates while they're on the field, like maintenance activities, instant reporting, or essentially anything they require."
The deployment of the tablets is part of a larger vision the company has for its business, Bradley said.
"We have a vision to create a truly mobile workforce that is digitally enabled," he said. "We very much want to let our staff to take the desktop or office experience wherever they need to do their work," he said.
To drive this further, the tablets are being used within vehicles, giving the end-users the advantage of keeping the batteries of the tablets charged.
Aside from the airport business, the tablets are also being used by Melbourne Airport's retail, property, and traditional corporate businesses, too.
According to Bradley, what has mainly driven the rollout of the tablets is the changing role of the company's IT department, where deeper conversations and collaborations are being had between IT and the other business units within Melbourne Airport.
"Traditionally organisations like us, the IT guys put PCs on desks and they give emails and do the basic setups, but we're evolving too. We've taken greater steps in becoming a true partner to the business, so it's about having that deep business engagement around what the individual business units want and seeing how ICT are able to line up with that to supply what they need to meet their objectives," he said.
Bradley said as a result of this collaboration, it has spawned new ideas for the creation of new applications. For example, the company is looking to create an app that would allow its staff to use the tablets to flag with the company's management system about incidents, such as a water spillage, occur within the airport to enable something to be done about it.
"Once you give people the access to the vision of what true mobility is, they actually come up with their own ideas and own way on how to make their day operate better," Bradley said.