TV Station Hands Out iPads to Cut Paper Waste

TV Station Hands Out iPads to Cut Paper Waste

Is this a great example of how to put the iPad to use on making a company greener -- or is it just a great excuse for getting new iPad?

Television station WXFL in Albany, Ga., has given its news anchors iPads to replace the usual stacks of paper scripts. In addition to being on the cutting edge of new technology, the company that owns the station, Barrington Broadcasting, believes it will save $2,000 a month in printing, paper and repair costs.

In an interview with the Poynter Institute's Al Tompkins, WXFL news director Terry Graham explained the move:

Al Tompkins: How are you using the tablet?

Graham: We interface the iPads with AP News Center. We print scripts from AP using a freeware PDF print driver and e-mail it to each host iPad e-mail account. We use the iAnnotate apps for this procedure, which costs about $7. The challenge was finding the appropriate app to successfully navigate the scripts in an intuitive way, allowing the anchors and support staff to retain their natural flow of how they use scripts. An unexpected benefit is a greater sense of connectivity, and it also brings those using the iPads much closer to information. All information sources are at their fingertips at all times, literally.

You say the iPad is saving you money? How and how much?Graham: The iPads have allowed us to eliminate the printing of all news scripts. By doing this, we are saving money on paper, toner, maintenance calls, etc. Our revised estimated savings is around $24,000 annually.

Is it fair to say that any computer could have done the same thing, which is turning scripts into PDFs? Why was the tablet the breakthrough for you?

Hunt: Yes, it is fair to say that any computer could have done what the iPad is doing, but the iPad offers two key advantages that just any computer (PC) does not offer. As an added benefit, the Apple iPad opens the door for extended innovation. The two advantages that the iPad offers right out the gate are:

(1) Price point. At a modest $499 to $599 for each unit, you are getting a very dynamic device at a very reasonable price. [...]

(2) Size and intuitiveness. The iPad is small enough and agile enough to handle the demands of the news desk without adding clutter. [...]

Extended Innovation. The iPad (like the Apple iPhone) is a platform. Because of the open SDK [software development kit], we have room to innovate. As we use the iPads, we are able to think of new and innovative ways to utilize the device, and create applications to meet our demands instead of following a traditional model of waiting for solution providers to meet our needs. Beyond the idea of creating our own custom solutions, which could be costly, we can monitor innovators within the application development community and match applications already [developed] or being developed with our needs.

That last point is key -- not only does the iPad now take the place of stacks and stacks of papers that would otherwise be printed out every day, but in the future, it will evolve to potentially meet new business needs.

Now, I'll be curious to see how much of the $24,000 annual savings gets redirected instead to new purchases from the iPad app store...

iPad photos CC-licensed by Flickr user nDevilTV.