BYOD Is the New Normal, at Least for Smartphones

Carl Weinschenk
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Creating a Bring Your Own Technology (BYOT) Program

12 steps to follow when creating a BYOT program.

Good Technologies' latest quarterly survey, as reported at InfoWorld, offers some interesting data points. Perhaps the most intriguing is that the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend has taken firm root-but more for smartphones than tablets.

It is, perhaps, not a surprise. Tablets are more expensive (and not likely to be brought into the workplace in large numbers) and their explosion in the consciousness of users is more recent, though they have been on the scene for years. The chaotic nature of the mobile device rollouts in general suggests that many shades of gray will emerge. Thus, a key question for the next few months: Are the patterns of tablet use simply trailing behind smartphones, or are they distinct categories that will evolve differently?

This is an important question as IT departments make the transition from organizations that tightly control the devices that employees use to departments that are more open and find other ways to deploy security and management features. Today, it generally is accepted that limiting employee smartphone use is essentially an impossible task. The jury seems to be out, at least to some extent, on whether-or for how long-tablets can be managed in this manner.

The research from Good Technologies isn't the only recent study to identify the growth of BYOD-also known as "personal-liable"-as a trend. Two weeks ago, Strategy Analytics released a report that also noted the transition, though a distinction between tablets and smartphones wasn't emphasized. Indeed, the press release suggested that the Rubicon has been crossed:

"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 the report. "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.

The shift to BYOD can clearly be seen in health care. The sector always has been a leading indicator of on-premise mobile trends due to the nature of the work-doctors and nurses are highly mobile within the workplace. This Mobile Health News piece details the recently introduced device access control option aimed at hospital use of Apple iOS-based devices. The story outlines how Boston Medical Center will use the service to support a BYOD program featuring the iPad.

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