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What Will BYOD for Collaboration Look Like in 20 Years?

May 02, 2017

What Will BYOD for Collaboration Look Like in 20 Years?


The enterprise BYOD trend shows no signs of stopping, as we've discussed in this space before. Markets and Markets estimates that the BYOD and enterprise mobility market will be worth a whopping $284.7 billion by 2019. That growth will drive increasing adoption of BYOD for collaboration. If the trend continues, what could BYOD for collaboration look like in 20 years? Let's take a look at the technologies, from the end user all the way into the backend systems that support and secure them.

End user technologies

On the consumer end, the last few years have shown a drastic shift away from traditional computing devices, like laptops and desktop computers, and towards handheld computing devices like tablets and smartphones. In fact, Forbes reported last year that IDC predicts that by 2017, tablets and smartphones will make up 87 percent of connected device sales. Tablets and smartphones will also come to dominate BYOD. This will create challenges, some of which the enterprise is already encountering.

Backend systems

Collaboration technologies like Unified Communications and VoIP typically require heavy-duty infrastructure in the back end to support features like voice, video, and file sharing. BYOD for collaboration could complicate matters. Under the traditional model of corporate-issued devices, device provisioning is relatively simple, as is network resource allocation. Both are more static. BYOD for collaboration, on the other hand, will demand more dynamic backend infrastructure. As employees introduce new devices into the network, device provisioning will have to speed up to keep up. Meanwhile, handheld devices make collaboration easier and will increase the load on the data ecosystem, which will need a revamp to preserve availability of services.

Here's where new networking technologies come in. The cloud, network virtualization, software defined networking, and the software defined data center all promise far greater agility. Automated, policy-based provisioning is just the start. Resources will be allocated dynamically, depending on the requirements of the application at hand, allowing the business use case to shape the network rather than the other way around. And these technologies all lead to the fully distributed data center, meaning those resources can be accessed anytime, anywhere, no matter how far the worker is from the corporate office.  Virtualized data environments will support BYOD for collaboration in ways traditional data centers simply can't.


Increased flexibility leads to greater security concerns, however. The increase in both the flexibility of backend systems and the quantity and diversity of devices employees bring into the network can create vulnerabilities. VARs planning to leverage BYOD for collaboration must learn about the solutions to those problems.

Luckily, some solutions exist, and more are emerging. To get a handle on current BYOD security and privacy concerns, start with our white paper on using technology to alleviate security and privacy concerns. Context will become extremely important in the flexible, virtualized data environments of the next two decades, so learn about context-aware security, too. Cisco's perspective is a great place to start. And since email isn't going anywhere, read up on how to simplify email management and security in this brave new world. Finally, if you still have questions, speak to one of our information security specialists for training, resources, and even business development assistance.

What do you think BYOD for collaboration will look like in 20 years? Tell us your thoughts in the comments.