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RedBalloon: iPads not replacing desktops

Experience and reward company RedBalloon has given each of its staff a shiny new iPad 2 to use as a productivity tool, but the company has told ZDNet Australia that it has no intentions of using the Apple tablets to replace its fleet of desktop computers.
Written by Luke Hopewell, Contributor

Experience and reward company RedBalloon has given each of its staff a shiny new iPad 2 to use as a productivity tool, but the company has told ZDNet Australia that it has no intentions of using the Apple tablets to replace its fleet of desktop computers.

RedBalloon issued the devices to 45 employees in August as a reward for a year of hard work. The company expects the devices to be used as another tool in the quest for increased office productivity. Paul Keen, IT manager for RedBalloon, told ZDNet Australia today that the iPad 2 won't take over from the corporate desktops in the short term.

"These devices in their current form are not a desktop replacement for us, but they are a powerful tool we can use when using our desktop set-up is not convenient — be that responding to emails during the daily commute, or pitching to a potential supplier or corporate client. It means we can do business right there and then," Keen said.

CEO of RedBalloon Jemma Fastnedge said that the devices will be used to take notes in meetings and hold video chats with other members of the team around the country.

"This new device has made regular meetings more efficient — notes and action points can be taken and emailed immediately, we can have live demonstrations of problems and new additions to the website and documents can be reviewed quickly without having to book big meeting rooms, set up projectors or print off reams of paper.

"The IT team use their iPads for their daily meeting, where they Skype-in a WA-based colleague; the desktop support manager has a portable record of all his open tickets, and can monitor requests at all times; the corporate team use them for presentations with clients; and the marketing team use them to mock-up designs that can be emailed immediately, as opposed to capturing ideas on paper and having to translate and transcribe," she said.

Keen said that deploying iPads across the business for RedBalloon staff was all about supporting a new mobile workplace.

"We have a very strong mobile work culture here at RedBalloon, and believe strongly in the importance of creating virtual workplaces for our employees, and the iPad is just another way we can make it easier for employees to conduct their work in an increasingly fast-paced world, where the traditional workplace mindset of having to be chained to your desk is no longer the norm."

RedBalloon isn't the first to roll out more mobile devices to its staff; the Commonwealth Bank, for example, has begun equipping every new member of staff with an 11-inch MacBook Air. The Commonwealth Bank also supports staff members bringing their own devices, a model that is growing in popularity in Australian businesses. Dimension Data and Suncorp Bank are also trialling BYO device models.

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