The Rise of BYOD
By Lauren Simmen, Director of Product Marketing, Crestron
The term’s been everywhere lately: BYOD, the acronym meaning Bring Your Own Device. From the preponderance of smartphone business apps to the need for laptops and tablets to travel with their users (especially in hybrid work situations), the demand for BYOD solutions has never been greater.
The reasons driving this need are as varied as the devices themselves. Modern employees are now as reliant on their phones and laptops as they once were on “fixed” machines. Beyond that, if you’re hosting an outside consultant, contractor, salesperson — or any guest at all — they’ll likely be sharing some kind of content digitally. They may have a complete presentation, they may want to collaborate on a document or they may simply want to share a spreadsheet stored on a thumb drive. The ability to work together on those digital assets that the guest has brought into the building, with as little friction as possible, is a must in the hybrid work environment.
Closed systems are very limiting, and the process of sharing content — the steps of finding a collaborative means of communication (email, Dropbox,and so on), loading it onto the proper device in a closed system and then either instructing the guest on using the native device or controlling the sharing of content yourself — is pretty laborious. And what if your machine doesn’t have the right program to open the content in question? The ability of a BYOD collaborator to call up a file on their tablet and send that content right to a display saves time and frustration.
The same holds for the classroom. A guest lecturer may want to use their own machine for a presentation. And you’ll rarely find an entire class of students that have standardized on a single platform.
As BYOD gains more and more traction, several trends have begun to emerge. Now that hybrid work is the new normal, different types of meeting spaces are appearing. People are looking for ways to meet and collaborate outside of the four walls of a meeting room. Areas like lounges or casual sitting areas are now commonly used as meeting points. BYOD can bring the meeting to those spaces where dedicated conferencing solutions aren’t always feasible. And as every area of the modern workplace becomes connected, the smallest spaces can be effectively turned into conference rooms with wireless technologies, which is especially handy for retrofitting traditional offices for the modern hybrid workforce.
Additionally, there’s a new coexistence between BYOD and native room solutions. Traditionally, rooms were outfitted with one or the other, but usually not both. As each meeting has different needs, organizations are looking for a way to bring the benefits of each solution to their organization. Some rooms need to be native, while others function better as BYOD. The key is being able to manage them all as a single solution.
Interoperability and Security
The pros of BYOD outweigh the cons, but there are a few things to be aware of — primarily, interoperability and security. If a single device can’t “work and play well” with a system, that’s obviously an issue. The good news: More and more manufacturers are aware of the need for interoperability and there are far fewer closed systems on the market.
Security’s always a concern, too, but there’s an elegant answer. The solutions we (and others) are creating live on their own network. You can set up a guest network, so any BYOD machine or drive runs as its own independent device — and they’re all AES encrypted.
Ultimately, the solutions are becoming more robust, safer and easier to use — ensuring that BYOD solutions will be a part of the landscape for the hybrid workplace for the foreseeable future.
Want to hear more from Lauren Simmen? Join her LAVNCH WEEK 7 session, How BYOD Can Alleviate Daily Meeting Challenges, on Monday, March 6 at 12:45 p.m. ET. Click here to learn more.