What is BYOD and why should I care?
The latest buzz-o-nym is BYOD — Bring Your Own Device to school or work. That’s your device as opposed to the one your IT people provide, sell, or support – and people typically bring a laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Wikipedia frames BYOD in terms of business practice: employees bring devices to work and are allowed to access company resources.
For a time, many universities believed it would be most efficient for everyone to use the same platform, say Windows 7. Many even insisted that students use a standard device, like a Lenovo laptop. But that mentality is changing. Financially, the incentives are smaller; vendors have lower profit margins and can no longer give deep discounts to educational institutions. And functionally, much more of our daily work is done “in the cloud,” making platform-linked desktop software less of an issue.
The real kicker for BYOD on college campuses, though, has been the tablet invasion. Tablets are very portable, relatively inexpensive, useful as e-textbook readers, and perhaps not as noticeably distracting as laptops in the classroom. They also raise several concerns. Here are a few:
- Bandwidth – portable devices are wireless, but in many locations there is not enough room on the airwaves for lots of people to use Wi-Fi at the same time.
- Support – campus help desks can’t support an infinite combination of form factors, operating systems, and applications.
- Design – web pages must display properly on a wide variety of screen sizes, account for multiple video file types, and so on.
Learn more about BYOD on campus: