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Although Apple is fond of showing iPad users playing games, watching movies, and listening to music on its ubiquitous tablet, more and more industry professionals are finding ways to incorporate the iPad into genuinely productive enterprise-level work. No longer just for Angry Birds, iPads can now be found in schools and universities, doctor’s offices, stockrooms, and boardrooms. There is an ever-expanding menu of specialized enterprise apps that are making the iPad a must-have office supply.

PlanGrid: Blueprints on the iPad

A prime example is the PlanGrid app, which allows users to store, view, and manage blueprints on the iPad. PlanGrid also allows note taking and sharing from the field, and uses the cloud to store project drawings and receive updates. All of the features of the app were designed specifically to save contractors time and money by making it easy to access blueprints and to share notes and changes. The availability of blueprints in a digital format not only saves time — no more waiting for the blueprints to be physically printed, no mistakes made by building off of old blueprints — but also takes a significant amount off the bottom line; PlanGrid claims that for every million dollars in building costs, there are typically printing costs of $3,500. The app is free to download in the App Store and for the first 50 sheets. Larger plans cost $20 or $50 a month.

Mobile MIM: X-rays in your doctor’s pocket

The new iPad touts the quality of its new retina display, and what better way to put it to the test than to use it for extremely vital visual information — like an X-ray or an MRI? MIM Software has done just that with its Mobile MIM app, which is used by medical professionals to view images from CT, MRI, X-ray, ultrasounds, PET, and SPECT scans. The app can also review images, contours, DVH, and isodose curves from radiation treatment plans. Doctors, nurses, lab techs, and other medical professionals can download data using an encrypted transfer to protect patient privacy, and set a passcode to encrypt non-image information and prevent unauthorized access.  Patients can also access their information from the cloud, making it easy to communicate across long distances. The Mobile MIM app is free to download from the App Store, but the companion cloud service does charge.

Kitchen IQ: Food safety and more for restaurants

While the iPad is used by culinary aficionados and amateur chefs to find and store recipes, take photos of food, organize and plan meals, and keep track of grocery lists, it’s also increasingly being used in the restaurant industry by managers to train staff, acquire customer feedback, plan and record events, keep track of expenses, and manage reservations. One example is the free Kitchen IQ app, designed to help restaurant professionals maintain operations according to health standards and guidelines by providing tips on avoiding foodborne illnesses. It also explains labeling options, finds common pitfalls, and even has a virtual Food Safety Audit for kitchen inspections.

EasyBib: Assistant for academics

Many see the iPad as a threat to traditionally paper products like newspapers, magazines, books, and libraries — however, many of these industries are adapting the tablet to their own purposes. Case in point is the free EasyBib app, which scans a book by bar code (or by entering in the title) to provide you with MLA, APA and Chicago style citations, or you can write your own citations. Citations can then be emailed or exported to EasyBib’s bibliography management service for easy organization.

Stock Room: Track inventory

Similarly, stockroom managers will be assisted by the simply named Stock Room app, which tracks inventory of items in a stock room or storage area. Users can snap photos of the items they need to track, perform a receipt of items into a stock room, keep a detailed log of receipts and items leaving the stock room as well as email a list of received items, of items being used, of item history and of current stock of the item. The personalization and detailed entries can help managers keep track of office supplies, spare equipment, mail supplies, tools or vehicle inventory. Stock Room costs $1.99.

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