Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) World

Recently, it was reported that over 90 million iPads will be purchased in 2012 –   just a few more than the 40 million purchased in 2011.  Additionally, Amazon reported that a week before Christmas, they were selling over 1 million Kindles a week – thanks in no small part to the Kindle Fire, a $199.00 tablet that does 80-90% of what an iPad can do, for less than a fourth of the price. 

It’s not at all going out on a limb to say that new tablet technology has revolutionized how we think about accessing information. As a consumer product, tablets are amazing: grabbing email, streaming videos, playing games, reading books, browsing the web – there really hasn’t been anything like it since the World Wide Web. 

But what about as an ENTERPRISE device? The Gartner Group estimates over 80% of business will support a workforce that uses tablets by 2013.
You may say, or your corporate IT may say, that “we don’t support these devices”. That’s all well and good, but as you may already know, your knowledge workers don’t really care about your IT rules.

In fact, if John Smith in Accounting already has your corporate wireless internet password and an Outlook Web Access address, that Kindle Fire that Santa delivered to him on Christmas Day is a fully functioning “enterprise device” on your network on January 3rd – with or without your permission or approval. 

These devices are coming. If you were debating whether or not to buy iPads for your employees last year and never got around to making a decision, you are now left with a stark reality: in the coming months, your network will be exposed to and connected to multiple tablet devices from multiple manufactures, all with different interfaces and apps. 

There’s really not much you can do about it. 

The days of a static, one-size-fits-all policy applied to company-owned assets are over. You are living in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) world.
It’s a scary proposition, made even more frightening if you don’t have the right technology partner to assist you in traversing this new digital minefield.  
Here at the Northwest Group (QBSI,CTX, Pinnell), we’re developing multiple mobile and cloud based technologies that will support the onslaught of BYOD.
For example, the Xerox Mobile Print application allows tablet users (any make or model) to print to any Xerox device on their network. Your best customer walks in with a copy of the latest contract on their iPad and they want to review it? No problem. Have them email it to cloud@yourcompanyname.com and let them pick it up at the Xerox device by the reception desk. No fuss, no muss. 

Additionally, by utilizing DocuShare, Xerox’s content management system, customers can take old, paper-based forms and easily convert them to fillable e-forms capable of being brought up on a tablet or a smartphone. Imagine filling out your vacation request form, time-card or adding a new baby to your healthcare plan by simply accessing an App on your Android, iPad, iPhone, Kindle or other mobile device. 

Cloud-printing? Mobile App development? Tablet computing? This doesn’t sound like a “copier company”, does it? 

The fact is, by all accounts, we are in the middle of a sea of devices – devices that our IT departments don’t purchase, don’t control and don’t support. But there they are, connected to our networks, accessing our email, our files shares, our documents – and it’s only going to get worse. 

At the same time, business are moving more and more applications off enterprise servers and off to the cloud.  And what better way to access cloud services than through a Mobile Device? 

So whether it’s something as simple as printing from an iPad or as complex as teaming with Cisco to help develop, deliver and support a “borderless network” cloud service to clients, Xerox is leading the pack with innovative new ideas and new product offerings.

So, we’re not just your neighborhood copier vendor anymore.
The commercials say Xerox is “ready for real business”.
At the Northwest Group (QBSI,CTX, Pinnell) we’re eager to be your real business partners. 

- Derek, QBSI: Solutions Specialist

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