For IT administrators it has never been so complex yet interesting. Until about 6-8 years ago, mobility in workforce meant supporting company equipment such as corporate designated laptops and Blackberry phones. And it worked – IT organizations and employees realized the power of mobility and how having corporate mobile assets enhanced their productivity. Over the past several years there has been a proliferation of mobile devices and consumers have choice and in many cases have multiple devices at their disposal. I personally have both iOS and Android devices in different form-factors for personal and family use. And then I have my super durable workhorse laptop and a smartphone from my company. As other techies, I can justify the existence of each of them 🙂
Proliferation of Smartphones
Earlier this year, IDC forecasted Smartphone growth being the fastest with slower growth in the PC and tablet markets. As per IDC, “Detachable 2-in-1s show strong growth potential in tablets, and convertible notebooks are beginning to gain traction in PCs. But ultimately, for more people in more places, the smartphone is the clear choice in terms of owning one connected device.” I am sure PC manufacturers will want to argue with such forecast but it is a growing reality. All you need to do is look around you at an airport, train station or any public place – Smartphones are everywhere. I am pretty social media savvy and mostly get my news, linked-in, twitter feeds on my Smartphone. Enterprise IT organizations have been keenly observing the growth of Smartphones and some of them see an opportunity in this paradigm.
Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
In 2009-10 timeframe, BYOD emerged as an enterprise IT initiative to allow employees and partners to use a personal purchased device of choice e.g. a Smartphone and access applications authorized by IT. As expected, IT organizations were not thrilled initially as there were concerns around security, upgrades etc and general complexity in managing these devices. However the benefits of BYOD overweigh the complexities. Besides cutting costs of devices, enterprises can now expand their mobile workforce and enhance productivity. Most new applications including CRM etc are developed in a ‘mobile first’ and ‘cloud first’ environment and enterprise IT can help the workforce access these applications faster through BYOD and focus less on qualifying and supporting a new corporate owned mobile device.
It also means the significance of cloud increases greatly as a medium to deliver these applications. Microsoft, VMware etc are all trying to enable the new ‘Cloud-Smartphone’ ecosystem. BYOD adoption is increasing and as per Gartner in a May 2015 press release – by 2017, half of employers will require employees to supply their own device for work purposes. Pretty bold statement! Assuming BYOD gets adopted at the rate Gartner predicts, what’s next enterprise IT needs to prepare for?
Wear Your Own Device (WYOD)
WYOD is not a widely used term and some can argue it is a subset of BYOD – regardless it is something that cannot be ignored. The significance of WYOD is in extending use cases beyond IT providing/allowing access to enterprise and consumer applications. WYOD is about enabling Internet of Things (IoT) use cases. Commercially, there are many applications in healthcare, military, supply-chain, factories etc that can benefit from WYOD. While the first Google Glass wasn’t a commercial success, next generation of such devices combined with fast, affordable and reliable wireless connectivity, ease of use and new IoT applications will drive greater adoption. Apple Watch, Fitbit and other wrist wearable devices are already being used for smarthome and personal health applications. We will see growth in commercial adoption as developers write new IoT applications for wearables.
Wearable technology adoption is surely on the rise and while it is not forecasted to be faster than Smartphones, this category is emerging as the next biggest connected device category. IDC is forecasting 155.7 million units to be shipped in 2019. And a lot of us will be wearing these. In full disclosure, I don’t have a wearable device on me but I am sure I will find a justification to own one in 2016 🙂
How about you? Are you going to Wear Your Own Device (WYOD) in 2016? If you’re in IT, are you going to incorporate WYOD in your portfolio?