I don’t put a whole lot of stock in Gartner’s prognostications, as I’ve mentioned before (and my friend Om Malik reminded me on Twitter on Tuesday). The main reason is that, as Yoda said, “Always in motion is the future.”

But, Gartner talks to a lot of IT leaders, especially at the biggest organizations across the globe and so they get a lot of intelligence about what’s happening out there and they do solid analysis of the trends. A great example of that at Gartner Symposium 2011 is the company’s list of the ways tablets are being used for business in different industries.

Photo credit: Jason Hiner

The list itself is consistent with what I’ve seen and heard from IT and businesses professionals throughout 2011. It also throws out some scenarios I haven’t seen, but that make a lot of sense. So, here’s a look at Gartner’s list, which compares how consumers are using tablets versus the business uses, broken out by industry.

How consumers use tablets

  • Media consumption
  • Touch to act
  • Picture/video capture
  • Social collaboration
  • Web browsing
  • Communication
  • Games
  • Mapping and route planning

Business uses, by industry


  • Waiting rooms
  • Patient care info.
  • Medical reference
  • Diagnostic images
  • E-prescribing
  • Appointments/scheduling


  • Documents
  • Depositions


  • E-detailing


  • Floor sales tool

Field Sales and Service

  • Presentations
  • Forms
  • Configure price quote (CPQ)
  • Decision tools
  • Reference
  • Video conferencing


  • Digital signage
  • Interactive brochures
  • Creative reviews
  • Tradeshows

My take

As I said, this is a pretty good list. In my experience, the only big stuff that’s missing is project management and executive dashboards, but that’s stuff that isn’t industry-specific and is happening across organizations of all stripes.

Your take

How is your company using tablets? Are there scenarios that aren’t on this list? If so, please post in the discussion thread below and let us know what industry you’re in and the size of your company.