Audio, Business

Industry POV: How BYOD Fosters Engagement


A look at the future of sound and communication.

When was the last time you were in a crowded room and no one was using a smartphone? It has probably been a long time. People take their device—whether it’s a smartphone or a tablet—everywhere. Thus, it’s not surprising that the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) market is booming—in fact, it’s expected to reach $367 billion by 2022. BYOD capitalizes on the familiarity and freedom people feel with their smart devices. Millennials, who make up 31.5 percent of the world’s population and who are the largest living generation, will make up 75 percent of the American workforce by 2030. They treat smartphones as a ubiquitous accessory; indeed, fully 93 percent of them own one. Other generations aren’t far behind, though. According to a 2019 Pew Research Center survey, 90 percent of Gen Xers, 68 percent of Baby Boomers and 40 percent of those in the Silent Generation own a smartphone.

With smartphones everywhere, BYOD presents a tremendous opportunity for businesses and venues to enjoy increased employee and customer engagement. That’s because engagement is a natural byproduct of being able to hear clearly and conveniently from your own device. These devices also make personalization possible by reaching customers through their smartphones and tablets. Considering that 80 percent of customers are more likely to buy from a company that offers personalized experiences, you’ll want to give some thought to the examples that follow.

In The Workplace

It’s inefficient to have employees with multiple devices having to toggle between employer-issued and personal equipment. Allowing employees to bring and use their own devices at and for work benefits everyone, while also increasing employee engagement. That applies whether employees are working remotely, as an increasing number of people are, or in an office or a manufacturing plant.

  • It saves money. Businesses with a BYOD policy aren’t responsible for the costs of plans, devices or equipment replacement. Even if they’re subsidizing part of the device or the cost of its plan, they’re still spending less than if they owned the devices. Another bonus: Individuals are more likely to upgrade to cutting-edge equipment than companies are, so businesses benefit from the latest and greatest technology without having to buy it.
  • It reduces the tech learning curve. Businesses don’t have to train people to use their own devices.
  • It streamlines plant training and tours. In manufacturing environments, employees can use their smartphones and tablets to learn about machinery and processes. They can also have important safety information delivered straight to their smart devices. They’ll get clearer audio, leading to higher engagement and better information retention. Visitors to plants can use their own devices to hear tour guides and listen to the facility’s story.

In The Classroom

College students are taking their smartphones and tablets to class. So, why not use them as personal listening devices? When the University of California, Riverside, completed a new student center, it chose an audio-over-Wi-Fi solution to stream audio to students’ smart devices for education and entertainment purposes.

With a BYOD policy at school, students can discreetly leverage their smartphones as assistive-listening devices in classrooms. That allows them to engage more fully in lessons because they can hear instructors as well as other students. Also, teachers don’t have to shout to be heard in the back of the room or to compete with ambient noise.

At A House Of Worship

Churches that have a BYOD policy can better serve parishioners. Worshippers can download an app on their personal smart device and listen to inspiring sermons and lectures translated into their preferred language. Used as assistive-listening devices, smartphones enable parishioners to overcome distance, poor acoustics and the background noise common in houses of worship so they can hear clearly and engage more fully in the service.

On Tours And Vacations

Did you know that 98 percent of travelers bring their own devices on vacation? When coupled with wireless connectivity and cloud technology, smart devices are increasing accessibility; thus, people are using smartphones and tablets for all aspects of vacations and downtime. They’re booking travel arrangements, researching points of interest, navigating foreign cities and more.

Personal smart devices can do more than help people plan a vacation or navigate an unfamiliar area, though. They can also topple language barriers and assist people who have hearing loss when they’re on tours and in restaurants, theaters and bars. Patrons can stream clear, intelligible sound and translations to their smart devices and listen using headphones. Alternately, they can receive audio directly through their Bluetooth-enabled hearing aids.

BYOD creates better experiences for everyone, whether they’re on tour or in entertainment venues. There are benefits for people who speak another language or who need assistive technology, and venues can use this technology to increase engagement and add layers of information and entertainment for their guests. For example, visitors can scan a code on their smartphones and experience Global Positioning System (GPS)-guided tours, so they can move at their own pace. They can also use apps to access more information about points of interest.

In Hospitality Venues

Smart devices and wireless technology help venues create more meaningful and engaging experiences throughout the hospitality industry. Consider the following examples:

  • Casinos: With all the slot machines, blaring TVs, card tables, bars and people just milling around talking, casinos are noisy places. They can cut down on that noise and provide better experiences for everyone by streaming audio to smartphones and tablets, rather than blasting it over public speakers.
  • Restaurants and bars: All kinds of restaurants and bars offer TV-viewing options to patrons. The trick is to have a way to keep everyone happy—both the people who want to watch a screen and the people who don’t. Streaming audio via Wi-Fi to personal devices keeps the sound down for the people who don’t care about the game or the latest episode of “The Bachelor.” For the people who are engaged, they can enjoy quality sound.
  • Lodging: Many hotels have public gathering places where they broadcast sound and entertain guests. There are lobbies, in-house fitness centers, restaurants and bars, for example. However, most people want to choose what they hear; therefore, it’s a win to enable guests to “opt in” to their preferred audio source— whether it’s a TV show or a music channel—via smartphones and devices on Wi-Fi.

Smartphones and tablets are everywhere. It’s time for businesses to use these devices to create personalized experiences  that foster greater engagement with both patrons and employees. That’s good for businesses’ bottom lines, employee satisfaction and customers.

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