One question we have gotten from many users is “Can I use an iPad with Cyrious Control or SMS?”, or more directly “Those look cool. How do I justify the purchase of an iPad?”. Well good news … I've been using iPad for a few weeks now and it works really well … within certain boundaries.

The iPad has a number of features that make it great for salespeople in the field as well as production employees:

  • It is light weight.
  • It has built-in WI-FI for in-office and home connections.
  • The 3G model has built-in cellular modem in for in-the-field access.

The iPad has a number of Remote Desktop Client (RDC) apps that allow you to connect to your server and run. Using RDC, you can run your office desktop on your iPad and never leave Control behind.

Note: Using an iPad or other tablet device to connect to Cyrious Control is not officially supported by Cyrious technical support. This article is intended to be a starting guide.

iPad Apps

If you are willing to set up your own RDC to get through your firewall, then all you need is an app. Microsoft has released Remote Desktop for iOS, which can be downloaded free from the App Store.

Another approach is to use something like GoToMyPC or TeamViewer, which is nearly identical to most RDCs in functionality. However, by leaving a small program running on your host PC they can make it a lot easier to connect to your PC remotely - even through firewalls. The downside of using something like GoToMyPC is that they charge a monthly fee for this service.

The Good

The good can be summarized as follows:

  • Access. Overall, the best thing is that it works! I can be at a customer's location or waiting for my son's soccer practice to end and access Control, Outlook, and all my other desktop apps from my iPad.
  • Speed. It isn't as fast as being in the office, but it is quite workable. I suspect this will vary a bit based on how good (or bad) AT&T is in your area, but since they are currently the sole carrier for the iPad in the US that is your only option.
  • Intuitive. This varied a little more between RDC apps, but I found the Jump RDC was pretty easy to use. They give a “touch circle” which makes operating the mouse even in small places quite easy. It is a clever solution that really works. Their on-screen keyboard is also well thought out with CTRL, ALT, and function keys well placed.

The Bad

The bad can be summarized as follows:

  • Keyboard Entry. The on-screen keyboard is functional, but it is anything but efficient. This makes the system great for pulling up information, but I would not recommend using the on-screen keyboard for much order-entry. If you plan to do so, pick up one of the keyboards available. They exist in wired, wireless, and folding varieties. I've been quite happy with the wireless keyboard ($69) for when I do need to do a bunch of data entry, but toting it around seems a bit defeating.
  • iPad Price. The WIFI-only version is currently $499, which isn't that bad. For home and office that is all I needed. However, to make this work as a sales tool I needed the 3G option (add about $150) plus a data subscription (see below).
  • AT&T Data Plan. AT&T offers two data plans (in the US): 250 MB/month for $15.99 or 2 GB/month for $25.99. If you are going to use the iPad for RDC access more than 5 hours a week (one hour per day) or to do any web browsing with images, videos, etc. … the basic data plan is not enough. You'll have to go with the higher rate. On the plus side, the AT&T data plan for the iPad is month-to-month plan with no commitment. If you have to have it, it's nice to know you can shed it at any time.

Contributor: Scott St.Cyr, Cyrious Software

Date: 9/2010

Version: Control 4.x

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