BYOD, which stands for bring your own device, was the buzz word for a large group of IT managers who attended a presentation by Cisco and their business partners Digicel Business and SyncOn Technologies, in Kingston on October 17. Cisco is a leading international IT solutions company.
BYOD is the latest trend in IT management, where employees, customers and other users are pushing for the ability to use their own devices at work.
There are advantages for businesses, as it allows them to reduce their expenditure on IT hardware such as desktop PCs. But on the flip side is the danger of allowing employees the ability to access confidential information on their own tablets and other portable devices.
Some of the types of businesses that are affected by this increase in wireless access and the move to BYOD are retail outlets, hotels, hospitals, schools, banks, and offices.
IT departments need to "control what users can do on your network," said Alistair Clarke, systems engineer at Cisco. "Now it's more a wireless network that we are moving towards."
The presentation introduced several Cisco products, including Cisco Meraki which was promoted as an excellent solution for BYOD issues. Meraki Inc, seen as a leader in cloud-based Wi-Fi, routing and security, was acquired by Cisco in December 2012 for US$1.2 billion.
Clarke demonstrated how, using BYOD technology, museum visitors could get their own personal guide on their tablet, "who will give you information based on your location".
Underlining the importance of the new trend, BYOD was also one of the main topics at another IT forum in Kingston by Fortinet with its partner Fujitsu Caribbean. Fortinet is a fast-growing competitor of Cisco, specialising more in the small and medium business sector.