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

There are probably a lot of iPads coming to the office these days, but BYOD has nothing to do with it.
Written by James Kendrick, Contributor

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.

Editorial standards