A few weeks ago, Apple released a video (see below) to illustrate many unconventional uses of its iPad tablet. What jumped at me when I saw it was the technicians working on wind turbines. I was curious to know the backstory, but the video didn't include much. Fast-forward to today, and Apple has created a site called Life on iPad that provides more info on each of the stories featured in the original video, including the wind power workers.
Most people wouldn’t choose the challenge of working 250 feet off the ground, in extreme temperatures and unpredictable weather. But the technicians at Siemens Energy-Wind Service are working to help transform an industry. [...]Before iPad, technicians needed multiple binders, service manuals, and electrical plans — over a thousand pages of materials — craned up to them before they could begin maintenance or repairs. And that didn’t include laptops or additional supporting materials they might need.
Replacing thousands of pages and laptops with a much smaller and more power-efficient device (at least compared to the laptop -- not the paper, obviously) that makes the job safer. Seems like a good deal!
Now iPad puts every document in a portable device that’s easy for the technicians to access in their tight workspace. iPad also streamlines their workflow, allowing them to take photos, email questions, and troubleshoot on the spot. And it lets them track fast-moving weather and quickly adjust their work in the field.
It even adds new capabilities, since iPads can have cellular connectivity built-in and have cameras.
It's basically a good example of what we call dematerialization. Many things are condensed into a smaller thing that has more capabilities than what it replaces.
Here's the original Apple spot: