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BYOD: Employee-Led Innovation Goes Global

 Millions consumers around the globe are buying smartphones, tablets, and other advanced mobile devices loaded with features and apps that can be used for business as well as for their own personal communication and entertainment needs. Many of these people have started taking these devices to work and integrating them into their daily workflow. This trend is often called “bring your own device,” or BYOD.

Cisco’s Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) wanted to know how prevalent BYOD is, and how corporate IT departments are handling these new devices in terms of support, network access, and security. In the spring of 2012, we surveyed 600 IT decision makers in U.S. enterprises, and then expanded our study in the summer of 2012 to include 4,900 IT decision makers in midsize companies and enterprises – in a total of nine countries.

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Coming Together in the Virtual Workspace

Almost five years ago, I was working in the wireless division for Cisco when we introduced the concept of business mobility in motion. Laptop sales were booming and Wi-Fi connectivity was cropping up everywhere, giving rise to the vision of people being mobile and their work following them. Today that vision has never been more real: the workplace is no longer a place. A new generation of devices, applications, and of course increased network capacity, allow people to perform almost any work activity — from the mundane to the complex — almost anywhere.  Where we all come together today is a virtual workspace, and we’re connecting to it from places, devices, and applications of our choice.

The way we work — what we call collaboration  -- is changing, too.  We’re evolving from sending email and sharing files, to a work style based on social conversations and real-time communication. As our teams and work locations become more dispersed, richer interaction styles such as web conferencing, voice, and video increasingly come into play, often with mobile devices as the primary platform.

The intersection of collaboration and mobility is truly a crossroads. And a company that moves to embrace and use these capabilities will find itself the winner — with employees, customers, and shareholders — on the other side.

However, technology leaders who find themselves at this juncture face a major challenge Read More »

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Summer’s Ending – But You Can Still Work Free From the Office

I always dread summer coming to an end.

Sure, it’s not like the old days when summer meant no school and running around free, but like most people, summer still makes me feel like I have more personal time and freedom. It must be the extra daylight.

Even if I can’t have the feeling of summer, it makes a huge difference to me if I can  work in different ways -- from home or even handling some to do items from the car.

One of the best things about the new, free version of WebEx, is that having a host account (yes, it’s free) means you can host a WebEx on your mobile. And that means I don’t have to be tethered to your computer.

Get your own free, basic WebEx account here.

In 2007, Cisco commissioned a study: Understanding and Managing the Mobile Workforce that looked at ways to really grasp how mobility was emerging. Of course, since then, “going mobile” has really become the norm.

In that study, they found:

Successful mobile workers tend to be resilient extroverts. They are open to new experiences and highly adaptable. And, contrary to the stereotype of the harassed and disoriented road warrior, they are supremely organized and independent-minded. With the right kind of tailored support, their productivity and adaptability make them superlative operators in an era of increasing demands and constant change.

In 2007, the Cisco study cited a prediction that “within two years, one quarter of the world’s working population will be mobile workers.” Not to freak anyone out but this was BEFORE Apple’s iPad was even released!

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A spot of Wi-Fi, dear?

Connectivity Underground!

After just one day in London, I began to take the Tube system of transportation for granted. It’s just so easy to zip from one side of town to the other – no traffic, continuous service and more destinations than any person can hit during one vacation.

I felt savvy and confident using the Tube given my previous experience commuting on the NYC subway for 7 years. But I had a moment of panic when I remembered that I was without an international data plan; could I really survive 5 days without my “data”? Not being able to make calls or to send or receive texts was scary enough, but finding my way around a new city without a mapping app in my hand? Unimaginable! Turns out the Tube was the solution to my problem. Wi-Fi was readily available, for FREE, in Tube stations around the city. Since I was constantly out and on the go, I actually found myself relying on my underground travel time to connect with friends, make plans, post to Twitter and Facebook and even buy a new book for my e-reader! Read More »

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Beyond BYOD: Supporting a Mobile Workforce

July 17, 2012 at 10:16 am PST

In my recent guest post, Mobilizing the New Collaboration Experience in the BYOD Era, I discussed the increasing desire for untethered collaboration as users bring personal devices and applications into the workplace. IT departments must make the decision whether to be the “proactive enabler” and embrace BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policies that allow for mobile devices or to be the “passive supporter” and limit users’ choices to one or two devices.

However, the challenges of supporting a global, mobile, remote workforce go beyond BYOD policies. It’s about enabling your employees, customers and other stakeholders to get business done in any location, on any device, and for any workload.  A number of questions come to mind for me:

  • How can employees access information securely?
  • How do we enable better real-time knowledge sharing?
  • How do we do more with the same headcount?
  • How do we allow for maximum productivity anywhere, on any device?

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