Just as tablet sales in the consumer market have skyrocketed, data shows that adoption of tablets in government agencies will continue to increase, creating productivity improvements along the way.
Government technology information resource MeriTalk predicts that seven percent of all federal workers will be using tablets by the end of 2012, and it expects the number to increase to 19 percent by the end of 2013. But unlike the consumer market—where the tablet is primarily used to access movies, games and other entertainment—the key driver of tablet adoption in government agencies is improved employee productivity.
Increasingly Sophisticated Tablet Applications
For example, in the same report, about half of federal IT professionals surveyed said that PC alternatives such as tablets and other mobile devices are critical to agency productivity. MeriTalk concludes that the U.S. government will add $2.6 billion in productivity by the end of 2013 if these devices allow employees to be just 10 percent more productive.
Tablets began to appear at a widespread level in state and local governments in 2011. Nowhere does the use of tablets improve productivity more than in the field, including areas such as public safety, transportation and health and human services.
Streamlining School Bus Inspection
Indiana State Police used tablets to streamline the process for inspecting 17,000 of the state’s school and activity buses, which are inspected twice a year. Previously, state troopers conducted the inspections by completing a paper checklist in the field. They returned to the office to manually re-enter the results into a database.
The state police worked with a college computer class to create a customized tablet inspection application. Besides digitizing the inspection checklist, the tablet puts information about individual buses at the officers’ fingertips—no more rummaging through paper files to find the status of a bus’s most recent inspection.
In the future, the state police plan to integrate scannable quick response (QR) code functionality into the application, making information about buses even easier to track. Officers will use their tablet cameras to scan QR codes attached to each bus. Indiana expects to realize significant savings in reduced paper and staff time costs.
Safer, Faster Social Services Investigations
In Ventura County, Calif., the Human Services Agency’s Children and Family Services Department is using tablets (PDF) to assist social workers with child abuse and neglect investigations, home visits and other fieldwork. The Department found that tablets reduce travel and transcription time, and help social workers make more informed and immediate decisions.
Tablets eliminated the need to carry and complete paper forms and provide access to case management systems, allowing workers to scan documents into the system using the built-in camera and input data from the field instead of the office.
In addition, workers have real-time access to information that enables them to assess the safety of the home or person they’re visiting without first entering the home or calling the office to make a determination. Finally, social workers save time by using integrated voice recorders and voice-to-text tools to record client interviews, which eliminates note taking and transcription.
How is your agency using tablets to increase productivity? Let us know by leaving a comment.
A successful mobile strategy involves a host of factors, including security, connectivity and infrastructure. You want to maximize employee productivity in the field, while minimizing risks and keeping costs in check. Read this quick brief for several key insights to help guide your decision-making—from the elements of a successful mobility strategy, to funding source ideas and the hardware factors that really matter.