BYOD, ready or not!

By Frank Steiner, Sales and Marketing Manager at the University of London Computer Centre (ULCC)

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) strategy made its first appearance on the Gartner Hype Cycle back in 2012 and was expected to become ‘the dominant practice in higher education in the First World’. Two years later BYOD sits well and truly in the ‘Trough of Disillusionment’, something Gartner defines as ‘a technology [that] does not live up to its overinflated expectations, [and] rapidly becomes unfashionable’.

According to Gartner, BYOD Strategy has a two-five-year mainstream adoption horizon with a ‘moderate’ impact factor, for comparison ‘adaptive learning’ and ‘big data’ are seen as likely having a transformational impact.

So where does that leave CIOs and IT directors working in education? I believe it’s not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’, with consumerisation of IT driving student (and staff) expectations, providing the infrastructure that enables device-independent learning and working is becoming ever more important.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Microsoft Apps like Word, Excel, and Outlook frequently feature in the top productivity apps on the iOS store, people like to use familiar apps on their preferred device.

The obvious key issue in all this and where I see IT departments playing a key role is network and application security. With either business critical data, or more importantly personal data being shared and/or collected (think VLE data, student assignments, marks, etc.) measures need to be in place to do so securely.

Gartner sees BYOD as a stepping-stone to a so called ‘Exostructure Strategy’ which it defines as “building an ‘exoskeleton’ of services that support the education institution from the outside rather than from the inside.”

Interesting times ahead, no doubt!