As computing and communications technology becomes more accessible and widespread, the division between personal and professional use will continue to narrow. The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend demonstrates how employees are becoming more accustomed to using their own smartphones, laptops, and tablet computers to access corporate IT resources for work-related activities.
Managers and corporate offices must reconcile the advantages of this trend (improved employee satisfaction, greater productivity, reduced equipment costs for companies) with the disadvantages (increased security risks, compatibility and accessibility issues).
Here are 12 BYOD predictions that could affect how companies and individual employees use personal communications and computing technology in 2014 and moving forward..
- Employees’ laptops and tablet PCs will be used more frequently in company settings. BYOD will go beyond smartphones and into these larger and more powerful devices.
- Companies are more likely to purchase devices for employees’ professional and personal use. The COPE (Company Owned, Personally Enabled) concept is likely to become more prominent. COPE provides a middle ground between letting employees use their own devices and providing them with restricted-us, company-owned devices. It is expected to give companies increased control over devices they’ve purchased while also allowing employees some personal use of those devices.
- Companies are less likely to provide reimbursement for personally purchased devices or for monthly mobile service or data plans. The prevalence of these devices makes their purchase and maintenance an unnecessary benefit for employees.
- BYOD may become mandatory in some companies, with employees being required to provide their own smart devices for work-related purposes. Such a mandate may prompt resentment from employees, however, so companies should carefully assess its value before implementation.
- IT departments will become more responsive to BYOD issues, working to upgrade security while providing employees’ maximum flexibility. At the same time, companies will become more responsive to the changes brought on by BYOD in the workplace.
- Security challenges will increase with more tablet and laptop use. Hackers are expected to increase attacks on laptops and tablets containing corporate data. Thought here hasn’t been a large-scale security breach in the BYOD arena yet, the first one could easily occur in 2014.
- Companies and IT departments that try to impose new restrictions on existing BYOD equipment and policies may encounter heavy resistance from their employees. Once employees have experienced a certain level of freedom and flexibility with their devices, they’ll not give it up easily.
- Windows-based tablets are more likely to be used in BYOD settings. Though Apple iPads and Android devices have been very popular in this context, trends suggest that tablets running Windows 8 have a good chance of increased deployment in 2014.
- Mobile Device Management (MDM) systems will be used more frequently and in more contexts. This rapidly expanding market is still evolving, however, and companies should make careful evaluations of MDM before making commitments.
- Legacy apps, or any applications that tie users to a desktop environment or an older version of a browser or other software, will be abandoned. Newer software solutions will be necessary, and highly desired by users, to allow devices to work without restriction in all environments.
- Virtual desktop technology will be used increasingly to provide connections to BYOD technology and older, larger enterprise apps and systems of record. Companies are expected to increase investment in virtual desktop infrastructure and deployment to ensure access to systems that cannot be quickly updated.
- Wearable technology will present significant challenges to IT departments and BYOD participants. Google Glass and associated wearables are expected to become a significant part of the market. IT departments must take steps to adapt to wearables even as they’re trying to accommodate BYOD.
Are there any other trends that I may have missed that you can see coming? BYOD is certainly going to bring many challenges to businesses in the future.
[author_bio username=”Ken” name=”yes”]