By Max Clarke

Bring-Your-Own-Device work policies, availability of high-speed networks and an inexorable shift to virtualized and cloud computing environments, are all serving as catalysts that drive the growth of tablet presence in the enterprise.

A report, Are Tablets Set for Enterprise Primetime, carried out by leading US based market research company, Strategy Analytics found that the increasing power, range and availability of tablet devices is driving their growth in the workplace.

Recent months have seen the release of powerful dual core tablets, including Research in Motion’s Playbook, the iPad2, Mortorola’s Xoom and the popular Asus eee pad; all capable of running many of the tools required for the office.

The 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas saw a host of devices unveiled, prior to their release throughout this year, prompting tech commentators to dub 2011 ’The Year of the Tablet’. A yougov poll has already found consumers using the devices more and more, while sales of laptops are down on last year.

“Trends that include Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) are evolving from an experimental phase to enterprise 'norm,' as smartphones and tablets move into the workplace, each with its own mobile application environment,” said Andrew Brown, Director at Strategy Analytics and author of thereport. “BYOD is driving the need for secure converged fixed mobile access (4G, WiFi and Femtocell) and integrated IT management. This may appear to be the IT manager's nightmare scenario, but improved managed mobile service tools offered by vendors, ISVs and mobile carriers are bringing these devices under full IT control for the first time,” he added.

“In tandem with the shift to virtualized and cloud computing environments, and a shift to all-IP networks, companies are also identifying how to integrate “consumer” features into the way they manage their own communication, collaboration and interaction,” said David Kerr, Senior Vice President at Strategy Analytics. Kerr continued, “Tablets are increasingly being viewed as a fast and unobtrusive way to enter and access key information, irrespective of location and context.”