People resist change – there is no denying that. I come across this every day as a computer consultant who must promote change to help improve things for my clients. But, we humans are creatures of habit and we resist. Take for example, the “paperless office” that was proposed decades ago. People always chuckle at that proposed change that never really happened. I understand why.
The paperless office never happened for two reasons:
- There wasn’t a cost-effective total hardware/software and method solution to replace paper.
- People resist change.
The solution to number 1 above is *almost* no longer valid. I am waiting patiently for the final component: A touch screen tablet device with a screen size that is 8 1/2 x 11 inches. Another model needs to be produced that is 8 1/2 x 14 for legal sized documents. That’s right, a larger screen – we don’t really want smaller devices anyway. These first generation tablets would need to have a stylus to capture signatures.
When I discuss the paperless concept today, most of my customers will say that they just like to have something tangible in their hand, that they can hold and touch and feel. Put one of those letter or legal sized tablets in your hand and you should feel pretty stupid printing anything ever again. Once these tablets are commonplace, the paperless office is finally truly conceivable.
As for item number 2…well you just can’t change some people. I would just hope that they would realize just how silly they would look printing a document that will be exactly the same size as the screen on their tablet. It shouldn’t take long before realizing just how cumbersome and inconvenient paper documents really are, not to mention the environmental impact of paper and printing.
So, the question now is, who will be the first manufacturer to build these business-class tablets? It won’t be Apple – they don’t really care about business customers. They are primarily consumer grade products. Android tablets could do it, but with some compatibility issues with business networking. To be truly business class and scalable to enterprise class, these devices would need to be Windows Active Directory Domain capable, easily securable and managable. Windows 8 is coming soon and allegedly fully touch capable, so really it is wide open to the computer manufacturers to embrace this concept and run with it. Of them, any who also manufacture printers are unlikely to be the ones to spearhead it; they’re making a killing off the printer market, so probably not HP. Dell is not a real innovator and they only resell or re-brand most of their non-PC products, so probably not them, especially since they also sell printers. Lenovo, are you listening? Imagine redefining the legendary ThinkPad into a business tablet.
Whoever creates this device first can stake their claim to the one innovation that makes “going paperless” truly possible. Who is it going to be?