As you’re likely aware, “BYOD” is an acronym that means “Bring Your Own Device.” And in the world of hybrid work, the concept is everywhere. Any integrator involved in commercial installations knows that the demand for simple BYOD solutions is on the rise.
The mix of in-office and work-from-home schedules means laptops and tablets must travel with their users. More and more people are turning to smartphone business apps to stay connected with work.
In short, modern employees are now as reliant on their phones and laptops as they once were on “fixed” machines.
The Need to Collaborate
Beyond that, if a firm is hosting an outside consultant, contractor, salesperson — or any guest at all — they’ll likely be sharing some kind of content digitally. They may have a complete presentation, they may want to collaborate on a document, or they may simply want to share a spreadsheet stored on a thumb drive. The ability to work together on those digital assets that the guest has brought into the building — with as little friction as possible — is a must in the hybrid work environment.
Closed systems are very limiting, and the process of sharing content — the steps of finding a collaborative means of communication (email, Dropbox, and so on), loading it onto the proper device in a closed system, and then either instructing the guest on using the native device or controlling the sharing of content yourself — is pretty laborious. And what if your machine doesn’t have the right program to open the content in question? The ability of a BYOD collaborator to call up a file on their tablet and send that content right to a display saves time and frustration.
The same holds for the classroom. A guest lecturer may want to use their own machine for a presentation. And you’ll rarely find an entire class of students that have standardized on a single operating system.
Beyond Traditional Spaces
The traditional conference room — a table and chairs in a space with fixed unified communications solutions — still exists, but the spaces in which hybrid workers collaborate are becoming increasingly diverse. From small niche spaces to huddle rooms to lounge areas and break rooms, the need for connectivity and content-sharing has become a necessary feature for nearly every square foot of the modern office building.
Additionally, there’s a new coexistence between BYOD and native room solutions. Traditionally, rooms were outfitted with one or the other, but usually not both. As each meeting has different needs, organizations are looking for a way to bring the benefits of each solution to their organization. Some rooms need to be native, while others function better as BYOD. The key is being able to manage them all as a single solution.
In Crestron’s case, the answer comes in a single device, the AirMedia Connect, a dongle shaped like a fairly large puck with USB-C connectivity at the end of a short cable. It’s a “plug and play” solution that works without downloading an app or any kind of software (and there’s now a version built specifically for the Microsoft Teams platform). It’s something we believe will soon be ubiquitous throughout the industry — a solution that offers instant interoperability for any BYOD collaboration.