iPad Paperless Office

  • Posted: 22 August 2010 07:14 AM

    Many of you may be too young to remember this, but the personal computer revolution in the 80’s intensified the view of futurists that computers would eliminate the need for paper in offices.  The idea of the “paperless office” quickly became widely rebuked as the use of paper in offices actually increased throughout the next decade.

    An article in a Palm Springs newspaper this weekend has me rethinking this old saw.  Apparently 4 of the 5 City Councilmen in Rancho Mirage were given iPads by the city expressly for the purpose of cutting down on paper costs.  The article quotes the councilmen as ecstatic about the success of that initiative (although perhaps they are really only happy about having a device to play Madden 11).  The Mayor is the only holdout, and his skepticism is belied by the actual experience of all his colleagues:

    http://www.mydesert.com/article/20100822/NEWS01/8220328/Rancho-Mirage-City-Council-members-happy-iPad-converts

    Reading the story, it occurred to me that I am also printing out a lot less paper than I did pre-iPad.  And that makes me think that technology may finally have caught up to the vision of the “paperless office”.  The iPad introduces two advances that may be the tipping point:  1)  the screen is designed for reading documents (and this will improve even more when the iPad gets the retina display), and 2) the ergonomics of the device is almost identical to a small stack of paper.  While pre-iPad laptop displays were good enough for most reading, there were too many times when it was inconvenient to read on a laptop, and so I would print.  That is no longer the case once I got my iPad.

    To the extent this is really happening to iPad users, the iPad is bigger than we think (and most of us on AFB already think its pretty big).  This has implications far greater than the “office”, as demonstrated by this article about a city council.  It really applies to anyone who reads paper a lot, which is just about everyone over the age of five. 

    AND it plays Madden 11.

         
  • Posted: 22 August 2010 02:28 PM #1

    macorange - 22 August 2010 10:14 AM

    Many of you may be too young to remember this, but the personal computer revolution in the 80’s intensified the view of futurists that computers would eliminate the need for paper in offices.  The idea of the “paperless office” quickly became widely rebuked as the use of paper in offices actually increased throughout the next decade.

    My computer science classes in college are laughable by today’s standards and the suggested dramatic reduction in paper use was one of the claims (and selling points) of computerizing operations. Now we all know how that hasn’t worked out, yet.

    Among the reasons is the relative reduction in the prices of duplication equipment and the desktop publishing revolution that the Mac was instrumental in creating back in the mid 80’s.

    HPQ has built an enterprise empire on printers, ink and toner. I remember reading that on average the cost of ink in those little inkjet cartridges works out to about $5,000 per gallon. I haven’t bothered to test that estimate but it’s obvious HPQ and other printer makers are making a mint on our cultural obsession with print.

    Anyone who owns or manages a business knows the high costs of print and paper duplication.

    If the Apple iPad can effectively reduce the need for print output all the better and it makes for another intriguing selling point. To accomplish a reduction in printing activity electronic communication needs to be quick, stable and come with an easy means to archive and store data and other digital content.

         
  • Posted: 22 August 2010 02:31 PM #2

    DawnTreader - 22 August 2010 05:28 PM

    To accomplish a reduction in printing activity electronic communication needs to be quick, stable and come with an easy means to archive and store data and other digital content.

    And SECURE, as in PRIVATE.