Managers: Those iPads coming to work, it's not what you think

Managers: Those iPads coming to work, it's not what you think

Summary: There are probably a lot of iPads coming to the office these days, but BYOD has nothing to do with it.

TOPICS: Tablets, Apps, iPad, Mobility

It's the time of year that a lot of iPads, and this year iPad minis, are coming to the office in the US. Managers may be wondering if BYOD is picking up momentum in their domain, but that's not it. There's one app that is responsible for all these iPads coming to work. It's NCAA March Madness Live causing the influx of tablets.

MM Live Video
(Image: Screenshot by James Kendrick/ZDNet)

March Madness is a unique sporting event that lasts several weeks. It just got started in earnest yesterday and the nature of the big basketball tournament draws people in to the action. Even those whose alma mater or home team didn't make the cut get sucked into March Madness due to its instant elimination action and the design that sees little schools facing the big names in the early going. We all love the underdog and the tournament always has a few big upsets.

The iPad app that brings March Madness to life is NCAA March Madness Live. It runs on the iPhone too, but it really shines on the bigger screen. It may be the best mobile app ever produced for any platform.

March Madness is overwhelming by nature, with multiple games played at the same time across several TV and cable channels. It's hard to keep up with all the games and brackets, which is where the app steps in.

It presents all of the games in an easy-to-digest format, in real time. You can easily keep up with all the games at once and know who is doing what to whom.

MM Schedule
(Image: Screenshot by James Kendrick/ZDNet)

On the iPad, you can watch any of the dozens of games live, right on the tablet. Even better, you can jump around and always be watching the game with the closest score. You never have to miss the best play across all of the games.

This year, the live action in the app is integrated tightly with social media, and you can follow crowd commentary on Twitter and Facebook for each game. It's like being in a sports bar with lots of fans no matter where you might be. This draws you into the action, even if you have no affiliation with any of the teams playing at the time. It's hard to adequately describe, but it is totally immersive when combined with the live video of the games.

There is also an innovative social media timeline (shown in top image above) that shows spikes in fan comments on a timeline of the game. This is combined with highlight video so you never miss the super plays of any game.

The app is free, as are many of the live game videos. Some cable channels require users to pay a nominal fee within the app to get all the action, but it's worth it. It's incredible to be able to tap on any game and instantly watch it live, while keeping up with all the scores of the other games.

All you managers in offices all over the US, rest assured that a lot of those iPads suddenly appearing in the office are not being used for work. They are tuned in to the basketball action of March Madness. And there's no need to worry that productivity will be adversely affected. Of course it will.

If your IT folks have been clever enough to block the March Madness stuff on the corporate network, don't be fooled that you're ahead of the worker madness. I'll bet a few of those iPads have 4G LTE so you can't touch them.

For the next few weeks it will be commonplace to see me working in some public venue with March Madness running constantly. I'll be easy to spot; I'll be working on either the HP Envy x2, the Chromebook Pixel, or the MacBook Pro, with the iPad or iPad mini sitting next to it. It will take the two devices, as I can't have work interfering with the March Madness action. I'm sure I won't be the only one.

Topics: Tablets, Apps, iPad, Mobility

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  • Not really

    We throttle our network and can block the packets so the stream is basically useless. Why anyone would want to watch TV on a 10" or less screen or spotty video quality always amuses me. I have a 65" stunning LED at home with a whole theater audio system. I'm not about to replace that with a mobile device. Checking scores - great, watching live - not so great.

    The thing with LTE capable devices are many employees are not going to eat up their data plan so unless they can use WiFi their stuck. It's cheaper to skip out early and hit a local bar to catch the games.

    Lastly while the tournament is 3 weeks the bulk of action is this week. After this weekend all games are in the evening.
    • While I try not to actually watch the TV at work so as not to hog the BW...

      the fact that you ask why anyone would want to do it, conveys that you either don't have a team playing OR that you take the day off or something enabling you to watch on the larger screen. Watching the game(s) for the excitement, underdog possibilities, and just the joy of basketball at College level is what it's all about !
      Signed An Indiana Hoosier !
    • I have to agree.

      They can bring those tablets all they want but, it isn't going to matter because...

      BYOD would require an App and they wouldn't just hand that out.

      Also, in case you're just speculating and haven't been in a real office in some time, they don't just allow any traffic through the network.

      Oh and again, outside of phones I have seen no evidence of BYOD but the phone thing has been there since Blackberry.
      • just tap an open wi-fi hotspot

        There are 3 within range of my desk at work. Yes, the corporate wifi is locked down, and policy is you cannot use it without authorization. But there are 2 public hot-spots and one unsecured router available, so wifi access is not an issue.
        • Most places I know of

          if you are found watching TV at work, you won't have to worry about hotspots, you will have all day to watch from home. If your super knows about it and doesn't act, he is also out of a job.
        • RE:just tap an open wi-fi hotspot

          Very illegal and could land you in jail for theft of services as it did the lady sitting the parking lot of Starbucks.
          • Since when?

            It's not illegal in most jurisdictions to use an open wifi resource.

            You can't use it to gather info on the proprietor, but nothing stops you from connecting. Many people leave an open channel on their routers for this very purpose.
          • very illegal?

            You make it sound like someone is robbing a bank. I have never heard of someone getting arrested for logging onto a Starbucks connection. Chill out a little about a person simply connecting to some open wifi for the games at work over the weekend.
    • Perspective...

      How far away are you from your 65" TV? I watch TV on my Galaxy Note and it is fully immersive and beautiful to watch.
  • Mr. high and mighty "admin"

    Lots of people have 4GB monthly LTE plans. I have 6GB. We can watch hours and hours of mobile video at no additional cost. Get out of the bar and off the couch and learn something.
    • Watching video = learning??

      How does watching NCAA relate to getting work done?

      While you have a 6gb plan, most people do not and it will eat away their data plan and cost them extra money.

      Here's a thought - just take a half day and enjoy the games in a better suited environment. Personally I go to Buffalo Wild Wings and will be there 12-3 today.
      • you really did not understand him?

        "How does watching NCAA relate to getting work done?"

        It doesn't. That is not at all what he meant. Obtuse people seem to fail to understand how many of us have 6GB LTE plans on our devices and are thus not tethered to the quality of the corporate Internet connection.
        • Though you are tethered to the company's payment structure

          which is if you're caught watching a game when you should be working, thus costing the company money, you may find that you have a lot more free time then you had originally calculated. :)
          William Farrel
          • I'd hate to live in your little frightened world

            Nobody buys my time or checks up on me during the day. They buy the results.
      • silly admin

        While you are at BWW the folks with mobile devices will be keeping up with the game while they are on the clock. Of course the big data plans are more likely to belong to management - managers get paid better than those who work for a living, so they can afford bigger data plans, or they get corporate-paid data. These are the same people that you answer "yes sir" when they tell you to allow their devices to access whatever they want at full bandwidth, so they not only sit there watching the game, they suck up enough bandwidth to cripple the rest of the network. We used to have the same problem here during soccer playoffs because the admin was a soccer fan. He'd sit around watching soccer and nobody could get anything done that required any bandwidth.
  • You could just ban personal mobile devices in the office

    ...short of an emergency, of course. (Watching a basketball tournament you bet on is not considered an emergency. I mean, sure there will always be people trying to sneak one in anyway, but, man, will that be awkward when someone sees you, particularly if it's your boss...

    Our wifi is locked, and access is only given to approved devices, and an admin must enter the code into each approved device so as not to reveal it to the users. These days, just about every business regulates and monitors Internet access because of liability and availability concerns.

    Even your mobile carrier regulates your access, not so much by banning you, but by regulating how much Internet you can access with often-steep data service charges. I don't care how all you moneybags out there put it, $50 for 4 GB 4G service per month is expensive when you consider that land-based (e.g., cable) services can get you unlimited amounts at upwards of 20 Mbps for the same amount of money, or possibly less if you can be savvy about promotional rates.
    • You could just ban personal mobile devices in the office..

      if you only wanted servile non-producers to work for you. You can't dictate to talented people and chain them to their desks. They'll go somewhere else.
  • Great that in addition to turning universities into pro sports franchises

    NCAA is now obliterating US (and Canadian, thanks Andrew Wiggins) business productivity AND bandwidth.
  • The funny thing is

    the commenters that believe connecting to and watching the NCAA tournament is a right, not a privelege. Not that I am surprised, many think that FaceBook and Twitter access are rights as are texting and driving just to name a few.
  • If you can't beat 'em...

    We have a conference room with two projectors and an 80" TV. We're running three games simultaneously for employees to watch in large, HD glory.