The iPad as an ideal mobile information consumption device is well established, but its usefulness as an ideal companion platform for productivity, especially in the enterprise, is still under scrutiny. Plenty of iPad owners have tried leaving laptops at home for business trips, with a modicum of success, thanks to file sync tools like DropBox, SugarSync and the pricey MobileMe; or even cloud-based apps like Evernote (my personal favorite, since it runs on multiple mobile platforms). But the smart enterprise might ask for something a little more secure, so I tested solutions from Array Networks and LogMeIn, both remote control apps for the iPad. And just for fun, I threw in Avatron's nifty Air Display
Each took a little getting used to--scrolling and navigating was tricky, but over time I got the hang of it. Still, as nice as the iPad's display is, it doesn't always suffice for viewing what's on a desktop or laptop. In other words, while Array and LogMeIn work pretty well, I wouldn't want to spend hours with those environments as my only solution; for quick access to a remote app's functionality, or a view of some data in a secure manner, these are fabulous solutions. In fact, for mobile field operations -- technicians or sales professionals, for example -- remote access functionality might be a necessity.
Personally, I like the simplicity of LogMeIn Ignition, if I could just get past a few of the usability issues. But for shops that need extra beefy security, Array Networks is probably the right choice; and Citrix shops have probably already adopted the versatile Citrix Receiver client, which can access a more customizable set of centrally controlled remote applications.
I've included a series of slideshows (above) and a short video demonstration below to provide a feel for each application, as well as some of the setup options.