BYOD the Next Generation: More Devices, Deeper Data Access, New Thinking

By Michelle Maisto  |  Posted 2013-02-06 Print this article Print

More Personas on the Ground, More Data in the Clouds

AT&T is leading the charge to embed communications technologies into increasing aspects of our lives. From the living room to the car, the office and where we unwind, "there are embedded solutions or they're coming soon," said Mobeen Khan, executive director of Mobility Marketing at AT&T.

AT&T's approach to this, Khan told eWEEK, is "personas."

"All of us have multiple personas, as we go about our lives. We're workers; we're at home, communicating; we're the coaches of our kids' basketball teams and all of these different personas require us to use different apps and different data," Khan explained.

"The way we are structuring the solution is that it's not Mobeen or Michelle logging in, but that persona logging in. What that means is when you come into work, if you log into your tablet it gives you access to your work apps. But when you're watching your TV, you can also access social networks. But perhaps someday on your home TV there will be a container for work content, too."

Making this approach possible, of course, is the cloud.

"It's all tied to the cloud, because it's less about the device than the software," said Khan. "The data or the cloud or the apps know the capabilities, or non-capabilities of the device you're accessing it from."

How an increasing number of touch points will change, or already is changing, businesses and our lives probably depends on whom you ask, said Charles King, principal analyst with PundIT.

"It's one of those, 'If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail' instances, where vendors define a problem according to the solutions they're good at building," King told eWEEK. "But while the overarching issue is increasing complexity due to the increasing number of touch points of an essentially heterogeneous nature [hardware, OSes, apps, etc., that are different, often radically so, from what IT is used to], its effects are neither constant nor common to every organization."

Technology simply isn't at a point yet where a single approach, the cloud—a sort of 21st century equivalent of the single drawbridge leading to a castle—is viable for every organization or situation, said King.

"Connecting to work via the cloud is certainly viable in many instances, but what about employees utilizing notoriously porous public WiFi networks in coffee shops and restaurants to access corporate data? Any company that offers workers cloud access without providing high-quality authentication tools is, quite frankly, nuts," he continued.

"At the end of the day, supporting BYOD is really about companies attempting to enhance the efficiency of their employees," King added. "But working in new ways requires nearly everyone to rethink and often revise the way they approach those processes."

Follow Michelle Maisto on Twitter.


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