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“BYOD is a universal requirement for all consumers of information – anywhere (not only the office). Today we consume information at every given moment of our daily life at any location and situation – from dusk to dawn.”

The topic of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) has been on the IT agenda for some time. Employees want more than ever bring their own equipment, which they feel comfortable with, to work. The fact is that the performance of personal equipment is often higher than the professional tools supplied by the company or organization. And obviously we want the best to do our work right. Statistics show that 75% of employees in high growth market such as Brazil and Russia, and 44% of employees in developed markets bring their own technology to work (source: Wikipedia). The figures are most likely to increase rapidly in the next couple of years. This new employee behavior has high impact on security, information sharing and support for the IT organization. It is a great challenge for many businesses.

A couple of weeks ago, I travelled to Los Angeles with my family on a combined business and family vacation. It was a long trip via Amsterdam to arrive in Los Angeles almost 20 hours after embarking in Stockholm. What hit me during this trip was the lack of WIFI and electric sockets on the plane. My kids, and myself, are used to launching Netflix, Spotify and other streaming services for entertainment and keeping in touch with family, friend and work – but this was not possible. It was also not possible to socially market our trip on social networks. The question I asked myself was – does BYOD also apply outside offices and in consumer markets? Is our view on BYOD to narrow?

My point of view is that BYOD is a universal requirement for all consumers of information – anywhere. Today we consume information at every given moment of our daily life – from dusk to dawn. I recall that 75% of us turn on the smart phone before moving out of bed in the morning. In our consumption of information and streaming services – we want to use our own technical devices! Companies, in all industries, need to acknowledge that the pattern of information consumption has changed. We today more or less see fast access to information as a natural part of our lives.

I think the biggest change in the way we view information is that the value of information has a very short life expectancy. How long time is information interesting? Not very long! I would be so bald to say that the value of information drops significantly after one hour (maybe shorter). Obviously financial information has a shorter life expectancy. Imagine how often your check your mail, news sites, social networks and games to understand how fast information is distributed and consumed. How often are news sites updated? How many Facebook updates are there within one hour? It is to keep us interesting in the static of the information age. Information is no longer that we wait for but rather something we expect to have access to at once – in our own devices.

What I find interesting is that access to the right information at the right time has generally been a source of power. The more we know, the more power we have. In many organizations, senior managers have access to more information than others. It is part of their role. Today it is different. Today sharing and utilizing information is key to make the right decisions, and keep employees engaged and motivated. I read a study (sorry for forgetting the source) that access to information is often more important than the financial rewards at work for high motivation. That is something to think about! Today, we expect to consume information regardless of where we are (work, traveling, shopping, home and other places) and using our own devices.

My conclusion is that we need to expand our view of BYOD to include all parts of live and locations. Consumption of information is a basic need today where the value of information has a very short life expectancy. The question is not how to limit information but rather spread it faster, more exact and to all devices – anywhere. That is the real challenge of BYOD. What information do we need, where and how?

Knowledge is often seen as applied information and follows the pattern of information consumption. When learning something new, we expect to have immediate access to the knowledge and not wait for a book to arrive, wait for someone to tell us or wait for a seminar to be held. We want to utilize the knowledge now! The question to ask is how does this affect your business? What is the life expectancy of your information and how do you support the information consumption in your domain? What is the price on bad customer experience by not supporting immediate information consumption?

Hans Gillior