Emily Tan
Mar 28, 2012

Personal tech at work: What does 'BYOD' mean to marketers?

AUSTRALIA – A recent report by tech market data firm IDC indicates that a majority of chief information officers and IT decision makers in Australia and New Zealand are feeling the pressure to support personal consumer devices such as media tablets and smartphones in the workplace.

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The so-called BYOD (bring your own device) trend involves employees bringing their own devices to work and often performing work duties on these devices. However, BYOD can extend to any situation where a person uses their own device to accomplish a task in a location where alternate devices are generally provided.

If the use of BYOD becomes commonplace in workplaces, marketers could see a surge in mobile advertising, observed Ben Mooney, senior digital account manager focusing on mobile with OMD.

“Real change will only be observed if non-traditional industries, ones that aren’t digital or media and already inclined to using these devices, start encouraging employees to use their tablets and smartphones at work,” Mooney told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “Then it’s likely we’ll see an increase in usage and reliance on mobile devices, which equates to more time spent, more content consumed and more media opportunities.”

According to IDC, half of al organisations in Australia and New Zealand are intending to deploy official BYOD policies of some form over the next 18 months. However, said Amy Cheah, market analyst, infrastructure, IDC ANZ, there is a disconnect between the assumptions and expectations held by IT decision-makers and the majority of employees.

“IDC's Next Generation Workspace Ecosystem research has found that only two out of 10 employees want to use their own device for work and for personal use, which means corporate devices are still desired by the majority," said Cheah.

Should businesses insist however, app developers will have a chance to address this issue with applications that allow users to turn off the “work mode” on their devices, Mooney said. “There will be a demand for the ability to switch from a work to a personal profile, making the user unreachable outside work hours on these devices unless they choose otherwise.”

Another potential area of development is catering to users who have to manage multiple devices. “Desktop at work, access on iPad and on smartphone—people are going to want cross-platform applications that let them work seamlessly," Mooney said. "The challenge here is not that these programmes don’t already exist, it’s the security and risk factor for organisations.”

While this doesn’t directly provide marketers with clear avenues for mobile advertising, it will if the BYOD trend spreads to other areas such as airline travel, he added. “Device access in public areas like airplanes is highly unpersonalised. But if people could log into systems they would be able to select content that suits their taste, enabling more accurate ad targeting.”

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