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Bring Your Own Device Strategy

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) is an interesting customer acquisition strategy that is currently in use by T-Mobile, whether it is regarding a tablet, a SIM card mobile device, or other portable device such as a next-gen handheld GPS, wifi-enabled A/V, etc. The BYOD concept emerged just a few years ago and is gaining more traction among security software providers, as well as corporate and government work environments. 

By 2016, Gartner predicts that more than 1.6 billion smart mobile devices will be sold, two-thirds of the workforce will own a smartphone, and 40 percent of the workforce will be mobile. Mobile will change applications and how they are delivered.  By the end of the decade, more than 30 billion devices will be permanently connected (to the internet) and 150 billion will be occasionally connected. It will soon cost more not to monitor devices than to monitor them.
Why the shift?

In corporate America, perks such as a company car (or the monthly allowances for one), an company-issued cellphone, or a desktop/laptop already loaded with productivity and security software were more prevalent. The transition for implementing a bring your own device policy has obvious positive implications: cost savings, the devices are already in service, convenience (employee doesn't have to keep track of work and personal devices that perform the same functions), increased employee satisfaction, and increased work productivity to name a few benefits.

[ A 'nexus of forces'—cloud, mobile, social, and information—are coming together. In this new world, Gartner Senior Vice President and head of research Peter Sondergaard said, our IT infrastructure will become obsolete and organizations will be building a new information economy. ] --at the 2012 Gartner Symposium.

Pros & Cons of BYOD

Pros:

  • Employers can reallocate IT budgets that used to fund equipment and data plan purchases and offer an allowance to employees instead
  • The upkeep and maintenance of a personal device is met with higher due diligence
  • Employees can self-support their own devices and purchase voice/data plans that meet their needs
  • Costs can be better controlled with monthly allowances for equipment expense

Cons:

  • Personal & work data mingled together on the same device
  • Personal devices are at higher risk for virus/trojan infection
  • Theft or loss of company data (especially if a user has saved login credentials to a company's critical networked systems)
  • Incompatible software & device connectivity issues (Windows-based vs Mac OS vs open source)
  • Higher IT support costs without proper user policies
T-Mobile's implementation of BYOD

T-Mobile's "Unlocked & Unlimited" campaign brings into focus its inability to offer iPhones for purchase citing the high cost of the phone would be passed to the customer and wanting to preserve it's value-oriented offers, has instead offered a way for iPhone users to connect with T-Mobile service. This is brilliant. This has evolved into a "bring your own device" campaign and is largely targeted at disgruntled AT&T cellphone customers.

What T-Mobile has in mind is the larger implication of... what if the end device didn't matter?

The only downside is the SIM-card limitation, there are only so many devices that have this built-in feature.

What's next?

Other manufacturers and telecom carriers will soon follow or catch onto what is evolving into a mobile usage standard. Desktop systems aren't going away and neither are tablet or other handheld mobile devices.

Once all this connectivity gets figured out, someone will devise a way for mobile devices to generate its own energy source and truly be "wireless".
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