The retail arm of Barclays bank is now rolling out tablet computers to selected groups of staff, following a successful trial among senior management last year.
Speaking exclusively to Computing, Barclays retail COO Shaygan Kheradpir (pictured) said that the plan is to eventually supply the devices to customer-facing staff in the bank's branches.
"We started last year with different pockets of implementation, supplying different smartphones and tablets.
"We have a saying; crawl, walk, run. We did the crawl last year until we were all comfortable, working out where tablets will work and where they are less appropriate. Now we're in the walk mode.
"Eventually you will see these devices in the customer facing front line at Barclays."
Kheradpir explained the advantages to the bank's customers of the rollout.
"As a consumer, when you go to a bank and you have a meeting with someone you end up talking to the back of their monitor. Wouldn't it be nice to talk to someone just holding a tablet?"
He described the benefits to senior and back-office staff as the instant-on functionality of tablet devices, and the high fidelity cameras that the iPad 2 in particular includes.
"In the old way of doing things you scan a written form or meeting notes and upload them to the network.
"But why do it that way? The camera on the iPad 2 is better than most scanners. It can upload the file directly to the internal cloud. You can secure it and tag it and off it goes. Why have paper and a scanner?"
Security has been a key concern in the roll out of devices so far.
In Kheradpir's view, tablet devices are more secure than PCs, partly because their software requires less regular patching, but also because the IT department can restrict how and where the device is allowed to connect to networks.
"Tablets have context, they know who and where you are. You can leverage that information to build a more secure ecosystem.
"My iPad is fully secure. I have an internal app store we deployed with Mobile Iron and there is heavy mobile device management on it. It knows where it is, and what networks it is allowed to attach to.
"We also use encryption from Good Technologies, which we deploy as an app."
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