20 Jan

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

Sarah Page, our IT/AV sales manager was featured in Stand Out magazine this month – looking at the pros and cons of encouraging delegates to Bring Your Own Device (BOYD). Here's the full article:

Bring your own device (BYOD) is making significant inroads into the business world – and therefore the events industry too.

For those who are yet to experience it: BYOD refers to the policy of permitting employees to use personally  owned mobile devices as their primary business tools. About 75% of employees in high growth markets and 44% in developed markets use their own technology at work.

So why would you BYOD to an event? First and foremost it can be a massive cost saver; an organiser of a conference for 1000+ delegates may think 'let's hire 1000 ipads',  but from experience this usually grinds to a halt once cost discussions begin! So BYOD could look like a cost effective alternative.  Familiarity is also a benefit; we know our own devices and (in theory) how to use them, so would need less assistance setting up.

Of course, there are disadvantages. An understanding of your own device will also be expected and support may be limited. Delegates must also remember to charge their batteries, and they will no doubt be tempted to check emails, twitter etc., compromising  attention and engagement.

If a company operates a BYOD policy then it's a very simple procedure to incorporate those devices in an internal event. But it gets trickier if an event incorporates many different companies – an association event for example. So consider the profile of your event and its delegates; are they ICT/mobile savvy? What's the added set up time? Will they forget their device?

The crux to a successful BYOD implementation is in the delivery of the event content to multiple platforms. Fortunately the complexities of cross platform content delivery is improving as the movement towards BYOD only continues to increase.

I think that given the right delegates, BYOD could be the perfect solution. But for delegates who require a little more 'hand holding' this is going to be far from ideal and could actually end up being counterproductive, loosing valuable time and engagement.

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