Should BYOD = Build Your Own Device?

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Recently, I saw this graphic via a Facebook posting from MakeUseOf.com:

I had to stop and think about this, and of course my thinking is biased by me being a user and buyer of these technologies.  For me, the underlying question was:  Will our choice of personal “device” depend on the situation as well as the intended purpose(s) and our personal non-technical preferences?  Will we each need to “build” a device for every situation – a form of “just-in-time smartphone”?

The enterprise IT department may need to support hundreds of variations of personal device, perhaps even more than one variation for each user.

The graphic suggests that screen sizes are both growing and shrinking.  The new mini iPad, an example of a smaller size, is similar to the Kindle, Google and Samsung offerings.  And phone functions are being built into multiple form factors as well – I use my original model iPad for Skype calls!

At one time this evolution in screen sizes was also happening with PCs.  Desktop screens were getting bigger (and some people even have 2 or 3 screens) while laptop and notebook screens were getting smaller.

Are we really looking for some magical size that is best for everyone and everything?  Or do we really need “stretchable” displays that act like rubber bands?

It doesn’t stop with just the screen size, however.  Similar changes occur with screen quality, memory size, processor power, camera pixels, battery longevity and even with the number of applications.  Is there a real need for all these variations or is this merely a phenomenon of competitive one-upmanship?

I think that the choice of device is situational.  For example,

  • I would not sit at my desk power typing on my mobile phone (or my iPad) all day;
  • I obviously cannot easily carry my desktop PC around with me even in a car but I can take a laptop;
  • I doubt I’ll ever use my iPad on the street (or even my iPhone but that’s a personal preference – many people wander all over the sidewalk while texting);
  • Most locations other than my desk aren’t suitable for printing or scanning;

and so on.

So, does this mean we’re heading towards a “mix and match” world where you can transform the device to fit the situation?  Sort of a tool belt for BYOD……

In today’s world, what is the minimum set of components that would be needed at all times – the core of BYOD?

How about the following scenario:

  • the core is a powerful processor/memory/operating system that can be carried around anywhere and parked whenever a docking station is available, and is most likely virtualized to allow multiple “personalities”;
  • there is on-demand integrated and seamless wireless access to cloud-based scalable processing, memory and storage components via a “personal cloud” that is linked to public and enterprise clouds;
  • wireless connection to many display types is available – from eye glasses all the way up to wall-sized displays – allowing the size to be situationally-selected;
  • wireless connection to add many types of audio is available – from basic ear buds to multi-channel stereo systems;
  • access to other types of systems is easily achieved – for example, house management, your refrigerator, your car, public databases, etc.;
  • there is full integration with various sensor-based capabilities – maps, who’s close by, weather, location, traffic warnings, etc.; and
  • fully integrated governance, management, administration, protection and resilience (including graceful degradation, self-repair and self-updating) is provided.

We may be a little way from having all of these features built-in, and who knows what the cost will be when they do arrive, but most of these aren’t science fiction/fantasy anymore.

Do you think it will be a “one size fits all” world or will we have BYOD – Build Your Own Device?

Don Sheppard Don Sheppard (93 Posts)

I'm a Blogging Idol enthusiast who also does consulting for a living. I began my career as a railway data communications engineer. After working for a bank for 7 years, I took up the consulting challenge and I still find it challenging! I try to keep in touch with a lot of different I&IT topics but I'm usually working in areas that involve service management and procurement. I'm back into ISO standards development - in the area of cloud computing (ISO JTC1/SC38). I'm starting to get more interested in networking history, so I guess I'm starting to look backwards as well as forwards! My homepage is http://www.concon.com


  • Bruce Stewart

    Increasingly I’m coming to agree with this — and when the cloud is the backend data store keeping all the different devices on the same page (so to speak) it makes it easier to reach for the form factor (laptop, pad, phone classes) “most suitable now”.