‘BYOD’ hits the headlines!

The term BYOD (bring your own device) has popped up from a few baseline conversations to describe the new trend where employees are bringing their own equipment and using it for work purposes.  According to a survey across 17 countries by business technology company Avanade, 88% of executives said employees were using their own personal computing technologies for business purposes.

Looking around CASCADE HQ*, only 3 employees out of 30 staff members using some their own technology on a regular basis.  It would seem that whilst BYOD is becoming more common, it is only a relatively small number of employees who are doing it.

A new adaptation of this phenomenon is ‘BYOS’ (bring your own service), where employees are using third-party services for work purposes.  In my personal experience teaching on a first-year module, I used Google Maps to facilitate extension of an ice-breaker exercise where students wrote short introductory text linked to their geographic background.  Similarly, I have dabbled with using Gmail as my main work account rather than the horrid Outlook – fetching new messages from Exeter’s servers and sending messages back through the Exeter system.

BYOD and BYOS can no doubt cause headaches for IT managers in terms of system security and support provision.  There are also clear cost implications – perhaps employees be subsidised in some way to purchase their own equipment.  This might end up being a more cost-effective solution given the apparent rip-off costs of enterprise hardware (granted most purchases include some support agreement).   At Exeter, IT services seem to be quite relaxed about this, but perhaps this arises from the small proportion of employees BYOD-ing and BYOS-ing…?

* and adjacent University of Exeter Education Enhancement offices

1 comment to ‘BYOD’ hits the headlines!

  • HelenBeetham

    Interesting point Dale. In a series of workshops I ran at another university, only 1 student turned up with a personal device they could use for learning (not counting a few smartphones that might have been used for learning but in practice were not). This is a place which has over 80 percent laptop ownership according to surveys. So owning and using a device is not the same as finding it convenient to use for learning or work.

    I’m also interested in whether BYOD/BYOS will also lead to an assumption that students and staff can ‘bring your own skills’ to match. After all, if everyone is using something different, how is an institution to ensure they are all appropriately skilled? At least with current models of training which focus on specific technologies rather than specific activities. I don’t know what the answer is but I do worry that the day-to-day experience of ease-of-use (for most of us) will make it harder for people to get their feet on the digital ladder, and also make it harder for all of us to access the complex systems that support some of the more advanced academic practices. Thinking of systems like Endnote, Nvivo, SPSS.

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