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A week working in the future.

So, this week, I tasked myself with working in what we consider the future. In this article we are going to discover if it’s possible to ditch your laptop & office and run entirely from the next generation of mobile devices. That’s right I said goodbye to my MacBook and hello to an iPad Pro.

What’s more, I’m even writing and editing this article on my iPad Pro. So, to start what are we considering the ‘Future’? Well, here at Next2IT we are confident we are close to the transition of workforces being able to work from anywhere with nothing more than a mobile phone and tablet device. What’s more, we believe the technology is here today, but you need to invest in your aging backend infrastructure (The stuff people don’t see) to enable an experience that really makes sense from the user’s perspective. 

The first accessory I purchased to aid with my productivity was the Apple Magic Keyboard for the iPad (Link Here). Whilst a rather expensive keyboard accessory in the typical Apple way, it just works and really enhanced the experience on the iPad.

Now that I was setup with the hardware it was time to adapt my workflow to the iOS operating system. The big changes I noted were around developing software, providing remote support and completing back office tasks. I found the new Safari browser supporting a full web experience to enable me to complete all my web-based tasks easily and if I’m honest in some cases faster!

Let’s dig into how I overcame the workflows that were not supported natively on the iPad. The first being software development. At Next2IT we develop our own portals and systems internally. As a result, it’s essential I can work on these from anywhere. We use continuous integration linked to our GitHub. What this effectively means is that once we are happy with our code, we upload it to GitHub, and it is automatically deployed to our various web portals and backend infrastructure. The big drawback with the iPad is that it doesn’t support any of these systems or VSCode which is what we use to write our code. To overcome this, I used our DevCloud product (Shameless plug!). This allows you to run VSCode in a browser (Fully supported on iOS) and use all of the goodness, for example, the GitHub extension or to run Node.JS for a development server. Effectively I had all of the power of my workstation on my iPad. The only limitation though was that I required an internet connection for it to work. All in all, the solution worked really well, and I often forgot I was developing on an iPad!

The next challenge was remote support and access to legacy applications! Well guess what we have a solution for this too. At Next2IT we use WVD (Windows Virtual Desktops) hosted in Azure to run full windows experiences via the Cloud to devices like iPads. The platform allowed me to run my complete Microsoft desktop from the Cloud and with support for the Magic Keyboard it really felt like I was on a fully-featured workstation. Again, the only restriction was that I required an internet connection for it to work.

For everything else I made the transition to apps! The Office suite now has app versions that are seriously close to their desktop rivals. For email as an Office 365 user, I used the Microsoft Outlook application. Once I had worked out how to replicate my signature, the rest was plain sailing. Moreover, I often found that due to the nature of the way applications run on the iPad that I gave tasks more focus. The other part that really blew me away was how long the battery would last! I could easily complete a full day without a charge and not having to lug around my laptop bag with accessories meant less to carry. 

Apple has really improved the iPad OS to the point where the experience is simply better than using a traditional workstation. Don’t get me wrong there are still items that are cumbersome or require additional infrastructure to work. But we really are close to a new era of digital devices that will empower the users of today to accomplish more and do so in a way that allows them to truly work from anywhere. We at Next2IT really believe in bring your own device and really empowering users to select what works best for them!

The next era of digital working is upon us and it’s really down to IT professionals now to unlock the capabilities for businesses. Is your business ready to enable a new way of working? Here at Next2IT, we help businesses unlock the true potential of technology. Get in touch and find out how we can empower your business to-do more today!