A lot of fuss is being made about BYOD, but when you really think about it, it can be little more than another name for the proliferation of mobile devices.
Talking up BYOD does not itself constitute much of a sales strategy. It is much better, surely, to focus on specific needs that are emerging as more users want to work wherever they are, using their own mobile devices.
What we are seeing is the next phase of a mobility wave. Better connectivity and wireless has made mobility more achievable.
The development of more devices and many different form factors means that there is more likely to be something suited to a user's specific personal use patterns. The same goes for specific verticals, of course.
In the education sector, the tablet PC has obvious and immediate appeal when it comes to shared activities and interaction.
In the hospitality industry, equipping service and support staff with tablets can allow them to move around more, taking orders and setting service processes in motion as they go.
But the real opportunity is BYOD, where the hotel staff and guests would be allowed or even encouraged to bring their own devices to the workplace to access hotel systems and services.
In my view, there is more potential in enabling BYOD than in actually selling the devices themselves.
As usual, there are lots of surveys and statistics that attempt to show just how big an impact this could have. But there are some strong signs that not every business or public sector organisation is racing to enable BYOD for their users.
There are real concerns about security and management, and users need to know that the network can cope. There is also ongoing potential to upgrade the infrastructure, such as wireless networking.
While these are still pretty general, horizontal opportunities, it works better if you focus your efforts on one particular vertical. Quite a few of our resellers are seeing a lot of activity triggered by questions about BYOD.
Like so many IT trends, it is a way of opening a door or starting a conversation, an opportunity to ask questions such as "Are you concerned about it in any way? Are you doing anything about it?"
If you have thought about the customer's situation and come up with a potential solution in advance, you will be in a better position.
For example, if you have put together a proposition that enables a hotel to easily upgrade its switching infrastructure to 10GbE, or to install more access points that will give good 802.11n access in public areas and bedrooms, and put unified security appliances on key gateways between the public access areas and the hotel's main network.
Dig a little deeper and design for the specific opportunities and challenges that BYOD brings and I predict much more success.
James Harris is UK and Ireland head of product marketing at ZyXel
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