This critical trend is affecting all businesses.
For integrators, the message is ringing loud. From across the room at any tech or executive forum, they can hear the words from the head of the class: “You have to account for Bring Your Own Device (BYOD).” This talking point ranges in its meaning from a topic for internal discussion as to how integrators use technology in their organization all the way to a business model paradigm for what integrators should be building their future business plans around.
Bottom line, BYOD is a hot topic and, although not everyone in the industry wants to hear about it all the time, burying our heads in the sand and pretending it isn’t happening isn’t an option, either. Maybe the best way to jumpstart the discussion around the BYOD environment is to share a few relevant statistics on BYOD in the workplace. According to a study performed by Kinetic Data, BYOD isn’t just a fad or a hot topic, but it is a real shift taking place throughout the enterprise:
- 89% of employees’ mobile devices connect to corporate networks
- 65% of companies allow personal devices to connect to corporate networks
- 78% of companies note that two times as many BYODs connect than did two years ago
- 68% of American small businesses already embrace BYOD.
And perhaps the most staggering statistic is this:
- By 2016, more than 30% of all organizations will stop providing devices to workers.
Although these BYOD statistics are impressive, by themselves, they really don’t mean much to the integration business.
By and large, BYOD is critical for employees looking to use their own devices to email and use other company applications. The BYOD trend also allows employees to access their personal social networks and other applications, which can be seen as a positive if they are acting as a brand ambassador, but could also be a negative if they are wasting valuable time doing personal activities.
On the other hand, BYOD also has a large impact on activities that can very much impact the AV integration business. Perhaps the most notable are content consumption and communication.
- Content Consumption: For many years, AV integration has been built around installing systems that allow for mass consumption of content. From the boardroom to the campus-wide digital signage project, companies installed visual and audible communication solutions that would allow students, employees, consumers or others to view information and messages. For a long time, these were the first and only screens on which content could be viewed. Today, mobile has changed the way we consume content, and having 24/7 access to our devices allows us to not only choose where we want to consume content, but what we want to consume and when we want to consume it.
- Communication: Mobile and BYOD trends are shifting communication in a big way. Trends, such as remote work and flex work, are putting more employees out of the office on a day-to-day basis. In addition, companies can now easily and affordably capture messages and share them in an on-demand fashion that can easily be viewed on a tablet or smart device. With more and more video communication solutions offering apps that can run on a mobile device, videoconferencing and web conferencing now go well beyond the meeting room and even beyond the desktop… straight to your mobile device.
So, back to the question at hand: Should integrators care about BYOD? The answer is, well, yes and no. And, although this may be a bit convoluted, it is accurate because BYOD isn’t a business model for integrators but it does deeply impact the way we will operate technology in the future. Integrators have to be thinking about the impact of mobile and BYOD for almost every integration project because companies want to know this: “Can my employees in the office and on mobile benefit from this solution, regardless of the device they are using?”
Perhaps more than anything, this means that integrators (companies that implement technology that guides communication) have to first entrench themselves in mobile, and then worry about BYOD because, at the end of the exercise, integrators will have to contend with forces such as cloud, mobile, social and, yes, BYOD. BYOD isn’t a business model for integrators, but it is core to the future of how businesses communicate.