Natalie Barnett
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For some years now employees have been keen to integrate the use of personal devices into their working practices. From checking emails on phones to accessing documents via cloud servers, these are now common practices that help employees to work flexibly and on the move.

Following the rapid shift to wholescale remote working brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, and the longer-term implications of this as people begin to return to the workplace, however, this has gone from a nice to have to an essential means of ensuring productivity and consistency of service.

In this blog we’ll look at the need for BYOD and how it can be securely integrated into an effective and productive workspace, including

  • The benefits of BYOD
  • The impact of coronavirus on BYOD
  • Technology to enhance your BYOD environment
  • How Hudd.io can help

The benefits of BYOD

First up, let’s take a look at why BYOD is so important and the business benefits it can bring.
Even before coronavirus, the flexibility BYOD afforded workers was a huge plus point. People no longer had to be tethered to their desks and the static devices on it; instead they could work on the move, increasing productivity by working while commuting or simply being able to spend more time away from the office without getting behind on tasks.
As well as productivity benefits, this also creates personal benefits as many people prefer to use their own devices – they chose them, they know how they operate and they’re likely to be more comfortable with these devices meaning there’s absolutely no learning curve and no need for costly training courses.

Indeed, the cost benefits to businesses shouldn’t be underestimated as they no longer have to purchase devices and usage plans or support regular maintenance and upgrades.

Given recent events, one additional benefit is that BYOD also minimises the use of shared devices within a workspace, reducing the opportunity for viruses to spread. If existing technology such as room booking and collaboration tools can be accessed via smartphones, there’s no need to interact with touch panels and displays, something which, as part of a complete COVID-safe plan, could help to ease any employee concerns as they return to work.

Given all this positivity, is there any reason why an organisation wouldn’t encourage BYOD on a wide scale? On the whole, no, but there are factors that must be considered to ensure successful adoption, and two of the biggest concerns cited are security and privacy, with some people reluctant to use their own devices for fear it means their employer could access their personal data. The good news is that it’s relatively simple to solve these problems with the help of a through risk assessment which feeds into a BYOD policy that educates employees on best practice.

How to implement a robust BYOD policy

While BYOD undoubtedly has benefits it can also raise concerns when it comes to accessing files on devices that may not have the necessary levels of security or that could be accessed if lost or stolen. To help mitigate these risks and to ensure all employees are aware of their responsibilities, a BYOD policy is a must.

A robust BYOD policy should include details on which employees are permitted to use personal devices and the tools they can utilise on these devices; where responsibility for technical support lies for these devices, their security and any risks associated with using them.

Simple steps to reduce risk would include requiring devices to be password protected, installing anti-virus software as standard and ensuring users do not use public WiFi. Additional steps could include providing VPN access as an additional layer of security.

Technology to enhance your BYOD environment

In addition to ensuring employees are up to speed with the rules around BYOD, it may also be necessary to modify your current AV/IT infrastructure and tech support to make it BYOD compliant across the whole range of devices and applications your employees will be using.

Network overload can be a concern with BYOD as so many devices will potentially increase demand. Again AV/IT will need to work together to decide if any scaling up is needed.

It’s also worth considering BYOD accessibility when investing in new technology, such as conferencing and collaboration tools.

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Take collaboration systems; a proven tool in increasing collaboration and keeping teams working optimally no matter where they are located, more and more of these systems are allowing BYOD. Systems with cameras and audio conferencing mixers that can connect microphones and speakers directly through BYOD are particularly user-friendly, while the growth in BYOD-compatible wireless presentation devices has been significant in recent years. Consider tools such as WePresent or ClickShare from Barco, two wireless presentation systems that feature a simple, fully-configurable, app-based interface for BYOD environments enabling communication, collaboration and screen sharing from your preferred device.

Similarly, AirTame’s wireless screen sharing solution allows users to present from any screen to any room from any device, meaning they don’t have to learn a new system each time they want to present. Full screen mirroring and one-to-many desktop sharing is possible while pin code connect ensures presenters share to the correct display and prevent unwanted streams.

If wireless presenting is your aim, NEC’s MultiPresenter could be the solution. Supporting Win, MAC, Android and iOS operating systems and enabling the audience to follow presentations on their own devices using web- and file-sharing while creating individual notes, this simple to use tool can wirelessly connect multiple devices to allow content sharing while switching presenter on-the-fly.

Of course it’s not just a case of investing in the right technology to create a successful BYOD environment; the wider meeting space also needs to be considered. With people potentially joining meetings with multiple personal devices as well as any in-room hardware to accommodate, it’s important that meeting and huddle rooms are designed to comfortably accommodate both people and technology.

A key part of this is choosing the right AV furniture. Desks need to be large enough to seat multiple participants as well as providing space for laptops, tablets, smartphones and any other personal devices. With greater reliance on these tools it’s also important that there are multiple charging points available within easy reach – nobody wants their phone to die mid-way through a presentation and then be left trying to locate floor sockets.

In smaller meeting spaces such as huddle rooms consider furniture with integrated screens to make the most of the space available, such as the Synergy range from Top-Tec or the Hive from Loxit, both of which come in a range of shapes and sizes to suit any room.

How Hudd.io can help

Combining the latest collaboration technology with specialist AV furniture will ensure you have a huddle room that works now and in the future, offering a safe, effective meeting experience that enhances collaboration while encouraging user confidence. Integrating BYOD will add a new element to how these spaces work, encouraging collaboration while ensuring employees can keep in touch and up to date with developments even if they’re not all in the office together. BYOD will also ensure you can adapt to any unexpected changes more quickly, helping employees access files wherever they may be working from.

Hudd.io works with a selection of trusted technology and AV furniture partners to give you access to the right solutions for your needs.

To find out more about the services offered by Hudd.io, contact Natalie Barnett.

In smaller meeting spaces such as huddle rooms consider furniture with integrated screens to make the most of the space available, such as the Synergy range from Top-Tec or the Hive from Loxit, both of which come in a range of shapes and sizes to suit any room.