Personal smartphones, corporate smartphones, tablets and laptops are all part of the daily armoury of mobile workers who enjoy the flexibility that these devices bring to their working lives.
It has changed the way we use devices, and made working on the move even more prevalent.
But this creates challenges, not least the much-discussed issue of security. However, it is also becoming increasingly clear that businesses which do permit BYOD may be losing out if they fail to enable their workers with the connectivity that they need to make the most of their devices.
Today, the issue is no longer just how to connect, but how to do so and work effectively wherever you are.
The device wars cometh; the business device landscape is changing. Following a boom in the number of devices being carried by mobile workers during 2012, the average number is now 2.9, back to 2011 levels, and down from 3.5 devices.
This lower number seems to reflect consolidation: people are carrying fewer smartphones since BYOD allows workers to use their personal devices for work or exert more choice over their work devices.
The tablet is the device of choice for both work and personal use, while the laptop has been the main casualty.
It is no secret that businesses are becoming more mobile. But simply owning a smartphone and tablet is no longer sufficient for mobile work.
Mobile workers' productivity is affected if they cannot connect to the internet, and so to be effective, these devices must be connected to high-speed networks wherever that worker may be.
Cellular networks such as 3G and 4G offer constant access but impose data caps and high costs. Forty-two per cent of mobile workers are already limiting their 3G/4G data use because of restrictions imposed by their plans.
How is this changing the way businesses work?
BYOD policies are letting mobile workers exercise more choice than ever over their mobile devices, but worries about mobile data caps can keep workers from making the most out of them.
While mobile workers can purchase low-cost devices, networks can be expensive – particularly when roaming abroad.
The growing appetite for mobile data is compounding these connectivity problems. Wi-Fi is the most popular mode of connectivity for mobile workers, however, its chief issue is access, followed by high single-use fees.
With cellular mobile networks, the main obstacle is cost. Wi-Fi is becoming ubiquitous, but the majority of mobile workers report having trouble locating and connecting to a hotspot at least once a week, and Wi-Fi services offered are falling short of expectations, particularly in hotels and airports.
This is a real concern as often people are forced to pay for costly Wi-Fi "day pass" charges in these locations.
The key is giving mobile workers the connectivity they need, packaged in an affordable and easily accessible service. Such as global Wi-Fi networking – a kind of Bring Your Own Network approach.
Resellers must step in here to explain to customers how to reduce data costs while enabling employees to remain productive.
BYOD is here to stay, but enterprise customers need not be exposed to unpredictable and expensive data roaming charges.
Rene Hendrikse is Northern Europe vice president at iPass
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