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The growing popularity of employees bringing in their own devices into the workplace (BYOD) is challenging the traditional model of IT for businesses. Many companies are embracing BYOD and adapting their IT networks accordingly. With the way things are trending, it's important to ask yourself where all of this is heading, and consider what a fully realized BYOD environment will look like.
Can a Smartphone Replace a Workstation?
In the current BYOD environment, personal devices are useful accessories to workstations, but how far are we from personal devices like phones and tablets replacing workstations? While it's true that a new smartphone still can't stack up to new workstation, it's also true that a new smartphone can compete performance-wise with a PC that's five (or more) years old when it comes to many job essential tasks.
This is a relevant topic to consider because, due to the economic recession of recent years, many businesses are trying to stretch their IT budgets by delaying the replacement of their hardware. This means that a lot of the work being done on workstations around the world, and perhaps even your own office, can be accomplished by the latest mobile devices.
Think about it. Many of the mobile business apps can perform all the essential tasks their desktop counterparts can, and thanks to the cloud giving businesses the ability to virtualize an entire office, you can now view almost all of your applications on your mobile device's web browser, even outside of the office! Response time for these mobile apps are as strong as their Wi-Fi connection, and new smartphones even have multitasking capability, which allows you to simultaneously do critical work like, editing files, sending text messages, browsing the Internet, and of course, making phone calls.
The big question then is; what's keeping people from switching out their computers for mobile devices? For many users, the only difference between their personal device and their PC is that one has a keyboard, and a mouse, and the other does not. If you have every tried to do any serious business on your smartphone, then you understand that lacking a keyboard to type an extensive e-mail, or trying to browse content-rich websites on a small screen, will begin to wear on your nerves and make you long for a keyboard and full-sized monitor.
Today, the lines between mobile devices and PCs are becoming more blurred with the release of every new mobile device model; smartphones have CPU, memory, and they are programmable. There are Bluetooth-enabled keyboards on the market that you can use with your smartphone and tablet, and to blur the lines even further, many new tablets are coming out with a port that you can use to attach a keyboard, which will essentially turn your tablet into a laptop.
The Office of the Future
Perhaps a fully realized BYOD environment will look like an office without PCs. In this realized future, an employee's desk will have a monitor, a keyboard, and a mouse that can be easily used as a thin client as an employee's smartphone will have the computing power that most PCs have. If a company's entire IT infrastructure is virtualized, then there would be no need to own and maintain computers because all of this can be done over the cloud using a mobile device. Also, due to the fact that mobile devices operate wirelessly, this BYOD-centric environment will have few, if any, cables. Instead, priority will be given to having a strong Wi-Fi signal.
While we may not yet be at the place where you would feel comfortable virtualizing your entire network and trading in your desktops for smartphones, it's important to make adjustments and upgrades to your IT network to prepare for this eventuality, or whatever direction the future takes us. Making a drastic change like this to your IT infrastructure, or even a small change like allowing for BYOD, will require professional guidance so you can get the most out of your upgrades, and make sure that the changes being made are done safely and not leaving your network vulnerable to hackers and viruses.
The IT pros at Digital Seattle can guide you with any of your network upgrades, and provide you with an IT roadmap that will help you achieve your IT goals at a comfortable and affordable pace, even if your goal is having a fully realized BYOD environment like we described. To make your mobile devices, your IT networks, and all of your technology work for you, call Digital Seattle at (206) 709-9556.