Help TechRepublic member Palmetto with a 'potential tablet deployment'

We've seen renewed interest in tablet computing in 2010. One TechRepublic member is ready to try a tablet experiment and is looking for advice. See if you have any tips or suggestions to share.

The Apple iPad has triggered far more enterprise adoptions than most of us expected, and it has helped spawn renewed interest in tablet computers from both IT professionals and vendors such as Cisco, BlackBerry, and Samsung.

One IT professional in the TechRepublic community is considering an experiment with tablets at his company. He explained the problem that he's trying to solve and his computing environment, and appealed to the community for product suggestions, advice, and best practices.

TechRepublic member Palmetto wrote:

We're investigating replacing some paper reports with tablets.

We print 'pull sheets' for our warehouse employees dozens of times a day. The employee reads the sheet, pulls the inventory listed on it, then throws the sheet away.

The application that generates these sheets can be redirected to print to a .TXT or .PDF instead of a hard copy. The idea is for the employees to use some form of tablet device to view these files instead of printed forms. We'd like the employee to be able to put a check mark or have some other temporary to indicate which part numbers he or she has pulled, simply to let the employee know what's been done if they go on break or trade sheets. There is no reason to print or store the files after the parts have been pulled. The files would be stored on a Windows server, and access would authenticated via Active Directory. Connectivity would be over our internal closed 802.11g wireless access points; our security policy mandates a Cisco (or compatible) VPN client for all wireless communications.

Any suggestions in terms of hardware, software, deployment, learning curves, possible 'gotchas'? ROI will play a large part in the decision to even test this idea. The availability of 'consumer' apps (games, Internet connectivity, entertainment, multimedia, etc) is NOT a factor. Accountability and security are; I'd like to see devices that had no value if removed from the building. Compatibility with an AD domain will also rank highly.

As usual, the TechRepublic community has responded with plenty of feedback and suggestions. You can jump into the tablet deployment discussion to add your perspective and advice on this issue.

Also, keep in mind that if you have interesting or difficult technical challenges that you would like to discuss with your peers, you can use the TechRepublic forums to get valuable feedback.