BBC and Army choose the iPad

02 Aug 2010 View Comments
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The BBC is trialling the iPad

Apple's iPad, which sold three million units in its first 80 days on the market, is set to be further boosted by its selection by the BBC and the British Army.

The BBC is trialling the device at various levels of the organisation. John Linwood, the BBC's chief technology officer, said: "We're seeding the organisation [with the devices]. We put some iPads into production and some into management and other roles to see if people would be able to give up their desktops.

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"Staff out on location a lot may be better off with a handheld device," he added.

Linwood also expects that it would help technical staff. "If a support engineer gets called into a studio, it would be handy to have a device where you could look up circuit diagrams or software help files," he said.

The broadcaster hopes Apple's device will enable more paperless meetings. " On the west coast of the US, paperless meetings are the norm," Linwood continued. "If you brought paper to a meeting, they'd look at you strangely. If you actually handed out paper they'd get upset."

Android devices, among others, are also being tested as part of this organisation-wide trial.

Meanwhile, the Army is also using the iPad. UK troops have started using the device to help with artillery training, replacing the more traditional meeting room and presenter approach.

"A lot of our training is directed at young soldiers who don't respond well to the traditional PowerPoint lecture," said Major Richard Gill of the training development branch. "Our solutions are developed very much with the iPod generation in mind."

The early indications are that troops are getting to grips with tasks more quickly than before. The Army has said that being able to shorten training times would lead to increased availability of troops for operations, such as ongoing actions in Afghanistan.

The Army Aviation Centre also aims to provide vehicle recognition training for Army pilots using a 3D recognition application on the Apple iTouch. The application will be incorporated into the helicopter pilots' course.

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