32 SPECIAL REPORT: DIGITAL WORKPLACES
Plug and play?
Bringing personal devices into the workplace offers both beneﬁts and risks. Steve Montgomery examines how BYOD can interact with AV installations, and looks at how to get the best results
s far back as 2013, IDC reported that tablet sales were overtaking both PCs and laptops as the demand for mobility and convenience exploded. This trend has continued and IDC recently conﬁrmed that 56% of all personal computing devices now sold commercially are tablets. Along with smartphones, these are the predominant and preferred devices of most people – and they have all but taken over from the PC-based communication and personal management tools of a few years ago. Similarly, IP- and web-enabled communication devices are rapidly displacing ﬁxed telephones as the primary means of voice and video interaction throughout the commercial and educational sectors.
‘We are experiencing a high level of take-up of BYOD in universities and other educational facilities’ Nick Mawer, Kramer
A large proportion of tablets and smartphones are employee owned, and the demand has grown from staff to be allowed to connect their own devices to corporate networks and use them for business purposes – both for communication and internet
access, and to enable connection to local AV devices for presentation and collaboration. While this BYOD trend is hugely beneﬁcial to companies, it brings with it signiﬁcant problems. These have led to some companies, particularly larger ones, blocking the use of personal devices and not permitting them to be connected to in-house IT networks.
Restrictions Futuresource Consulting found that around 25% of users throughout Western Europe and the US are permitted to use their own devices to share content in meeting rooms. However, 44% of employees report that their organisation places some limitation on the use of employee-owned devices. This is a result of concerns over the security implications that these devices pose, and the consequent restrictions imposed by IT departments and network administrators to safeguard access to corporate networks and sensitive commercial data. Futuresource also discovered that larger organisations are more likely to place restrictions on the use of personal devices. Nick Mawer, marketing manager at Kramer, conﬁrms this observation: “BYOD is becoming more popular across most segments, but more so within smaller businesses. Some of the larger businesses tend to exert more control over the devices used on their systems, but it really does vary between organisations. We are also experiencing a high level of take-up in universities and other educational facilities.
Key Points BYOD is used widely across all sectors of commercial workplaces and educational facilities It is more common in small and mediumsized enterprises where security, liability and personal policies are less well defined and enforced than in larger enterprises 44% of employees report that their organisation places some limitation on the use of employee-owned devices Good specification and system design should allow any AV component to be managed in conjunction with personal devices “Security concerns are the main reason organisations are not prepared to allow external or unmonitored devices onto their networks,” he continues. “Another reason is standardisation: some companies allow individuals’ devices to be connected but are keen to provide a controlled experience during presentations and that requires corporateowned rather than personal devices.” Botao Lin, director at Delta Products Corporation. agrees, and adds another reason: “We have detected two key barriers to the adoption of the BYOD model, and these are security and network utilisation. From a