Lexicon Systems, LLC Blog

lex'•i•con: the vocabulary of a branch of knowledge. Thoughts on environment, health & safety (EHS), sustainability and information technology to support them.


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What’s the best use for an iPad if you’re savvy with a laptop and smartphone?

When you get an iPad, you think, “Hey, I can replace my laptop with this small tablet!” 

Technology stack with overlapping functions

I look at my “technology stack,” and see a Windows 7 PC, a MacBook Pro, an iPad and an iPhone. These devices all help me get through my daily routine, with overlapping capabilities:

  • Read content
  • Read and compose email
  • Read and create documents, spreadsheets and presentations
  • Participate in social networks
  • Attend Web meetings
  • Visit Web sites
  • View photos and graphics.

Depending upon what I want to achieve, these four devices are not totally interchangeable.

I can use my smartphone to create a presentation, but anything but a simple presentation is best created on a laptop or tablet. I can sort through hundreds of emails on my tablet or smartphone, but must use a laptop for powerful sorting and cleanup. Likewise, I can create complex spreadsheets on the tablet, but likely would use my MacBook or PC with a keyboard and full functionality.

Rethinking the tablet

If you’re already quite comfortable with a laptop and a smartphone, and a tablet falls into your hands, what’s the best way to use it? Here’s an interesting perspective on the use of tablets, worth reading: Rethinking the iPad

My take—Tip #1: I DO use the iPad for mail and social apps; Tip #2: I use the iPad to catch up on reading; Tip #3: I turn off MOST notifications; Tip #4: I change SOME of the settings to improve battery life.

Let me hear how you use your tablet!

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Pcell technology boasts 1000x faster cellular connections

Pcell is a new communications technology that could make connections 1000 times as fast as 4G (fourth generation) or LTE (Long Term Evolution) cell communications. When implemented, pcell will work without the need for new handsets. Your 4G or LTE-capable smartphone will do just fine. And a pcell-capable smartphone could do even better.

The term “pcell” refers to “personal cell”–each user effectively has his/her personal communications cell. Advantages over current technologies abound… “Besides speed and signal strength, it uses a lot less power” and “pCell also brings significant reductions in the amount of infrastructure needed to power a cell network.” mobile phone

Artemis, the Steve Perlman company that developed the technology, plans an initial rollout in San Francisco in late 2014, with possible rollouts in other cellular markets by late 2015, though many large markets continue to build out their 4G LTE networks.

Read more here.


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The environmental impact of tablets

Industry analysts predict that tablet purchases will outnumber laptop purchases by 2013. The increasing use of tablets, both business and personal, has quite an impact on the environment. Their use results in lower ink and paper consumption, lower CO2 emissions, as well as lower water consumption during production.

Twenty-five percent of adults in the U.S. own tablets, compared to only 4%  in 2010. And 45% of tablet users say they have decreased printing. 

–morganstanley.com and appleinsider.com 

ID-10081890Uberflip, a Canadian company that helps organizations to deploy content on electronic platforms, identified four environmental sustainability trends related to tablet use:

A decline in printing. Although many people feel that they still require hard copies of just about everything, this is no longer the norm.  Printer manufacturers like HP are feeling the crunch as the demand for ink shrinks.

I work with more electronic documents than paper documents these days. I buy less paper and ink than I have bought in the past. When I need a paper copy, I print wirelessly from my iPad or notebook computer.

Eco-friendly devices. Over their lifetime, tablets result in lower CO2 emissions, notably when people use their tablets as e-readers rather than buying paper books. The CO2 equivalent emissions from a tablet are about 1/3rd that of a small notebook and 1/25th that of a 60-watt incandescent light bulb.

E-waste. The volume of electronic waste will double by 2025. To combat this, electronics manufacturers and big box retailers have implemented recycling programs. I took advantage of this free recycling service at least four times this year, giving up an old notebook computer, a desktop computer, a laser printer and an inkjet printer. I reused the computer hard drives, converting them into external hard drives with a simple enclosure kit.

Green business. More and more businesses use tablets to demonstrate products and services, and for sales transactions. My local grocery chain uses iPads to sign up customers for their loyalty coupon program, which has computer and mobile apps. This replaces printing and mailing costs.

A national electronics chain uses iPads to demonstrate how tablets connect to big-screen TVs to display streaming videos. The Apple store uses iPads that allow customers to compare products and view features. A sales technician is on hand to answer questions and complete the sale–by entering transaction information on an iPhone and then swiping a credit card. You get a small paper receipt and an electronic receipt by email. There is no cash register evident in the store (there may be one in the back for cash sales) and no waiting in lines.

See the full Uberflip InfoGraphic on Sustainability of Tablets.


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Tech toys in the executive suite

Among the tech gadgets in executive suites, tablets rank third (78%) behind smartphones (84.8%) and laptop computers (82.6%). About 33% use mobile apps and 33% use the Cloud. Execs prefer iOS and Blackberry smartphones for personal use, though they have employees use Android and Blackberry devices more often (69%) than iPhones (54%). Source: CEO.com.

iPad ownership by CEOs and small business owners quadrupled in the last year (CEO.com)

Count me in! I use all of the top three technologies. As the proud owner of a 4th Generation iPad, I find it easy to use. Of course, having an iPhone and being familiar with iOs helps, though I find a new world of opportunities with the larger, iPad retina screen. The tablet format allows me to visualize much more data than I can using the same apps on my iPhone. Reading email and browsing the Internet are a pleasure. I can read documents, presentations, books and .PDFs with ease. The 10-hour battery life is a real plus.

Ultimately, my tablet will replace a somewhat heavy notebook computer for certain purposes. I am testing different  office and productivity apps and will see where this leads… the consumerization of  business continues.

You can view an infographic on CEO gadgets topic here.


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The rising tide of bring your own technology

I just read a Forrester Report: Charting The Rising Tide Of Bring-Your-Own Technology. It provides lots of data to back up what I found a couple of months ago when researching an IT Insight column, Tech Trends: Bring Your Own Device to Work.

Forrester’s findings include

  • a large percentage of workers pay for their own technology (e.g. smartphones, tablet computers and software) out of their own pockets
  • workers use a range of self-provisioned devices, software and services to do their jobs
  • BYOT is growing today, and will become second nature within three years
  • Chief Information Officers (CIOs) cannot afford to ignore BYOT.

Organizations that do not have BYOT policies today should develop them now, because, within a few years, these same organizations will encourage employees to bring their own devices to work.

How this “consumerization” of business with personal tech devices impacts productivity is a topic for another post.


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BYOD is here to stay

At a software user group meeting, several attendees took notes on iPads. At the grocery store, one of the staff had an iPad, showing shoppers how to sign up for a paperless coupon program. More and more executives are using tablets at work. And workers in a range of other job functions bring personal smartphones and tablets to work. All of these parties would like the IT department to support their mobile devices.

Bring Your Own Device is the new modus operandi. IT executives should ask not about whether to allow such consumer devices into the organization, but how to implement a BYOD policy, and what that policy should address.