The Apple TV isn’t positioned as a business or enterprise product, but its small size, easy setup, and AirPlay make it a very solid presentation tool – and the low cost doesn’t hurt, either.
While the Apple TV has the obvious advantage of being wireless and integrated with other Apple products, specific business advantages beyond its small form factor and the ubiquity of HDTVs and other HDMI-enabled display devices like projectors aren’t always immediately obvious (though those are pretty big advantages in their own right) - but at least one company is designing its business solutions around Apple’s so-called hobby device.
Business Intelligence developer MicroStrategy has taken the Apple TV/iOS combination to a new level by building its mobile apps around AirPlay and the Apple TV.
Rather than simply building in support for AirPlay output, the company has actually built workflows around AirPlay and the Apple TV that can be used to make meetings and presentations more effective and more interactive. That focus on interaction allows users of the app to manipulate business intelligence data in realtime without dropping out of the app – as would be needed if the same data were simply put into a Keynote or PowerPoint presentation.
The approach really highlights the possibilities of the Apple TV as a business presentation and even a collaboration tool – it may even be one of the most forward-looking examples of the consumerization of IT trend.
The video below highlights both the Apple TV in a business setting (and really drives home the potential of Apple’s “hobby” in business) as well as how MicroStrategy’s mobile approach incorporates the Apple TV and AirPlay.
It will be interesting to see if developers follow MicroStrategy’s lead and incorporate AirPlay as a feature or workflow component in business-oriented app/suites. Even if the Apple TV isn’t widely embraced by business app developers, AirPlay mirroring in recent iOS devices (the new iPad, iPad 2, and iPhone 4S) and Apple’s decision to build AirPlay mirroring in Mountain Lion mean that much of the MicroStrategy approach can easily be adapted to a range of workplace applications and processes.