How to boost business meetings with BYOD

It is hard to imagine a modern workplace without mobile devices - so the next logical step for businesses would be to embrace the growth in this type of technology and use it to their full advantage.

Those companies who have adopted a bring your own device (BYOD) strategy have been quick to recognise the numerous benefits. Productivity is increased as workers have more options to log on, there are additional opportunities for flexible working, and organisations can also make significant cost savings since less IT equipment needs to be purchased.

There are many ways that businesses can make their meetings more effective and productive. Aside from the obvious factors that contribute to a meeting’s success, such as a concise and well-structured agenda, and considered support materials, one of the most important elements enabling meetings to run more smoothly is technology.

From this perspective, the BYOD trend could provide the most straightforward way to boost efficiency in the meeting room. For those companies looking to improve performance by adopting a BYOD strategy, we have put together some tips to bear in mind: 

1) Create an official company policy – Before focusing on particular areas, the best place to start is by drawing up a general BYOD strategy for the whole workforce. Companies can no longer ignore the fact that personal devices are being used throughout the workplace as a matter of course.

However, employers still need to demonstrate a degree of caution when it comes to BYOD and guidelines on how and when the devices can be used should be precise. There have been some concerns voiced surrounding data security. However businesses implementing and enforcing clear guidance can avoid significant problems.

2) Personal devices vs. company issued – While company issued devices can be allocated, employees’ personal devices are going to be naturally upgraded every 12-24 months through personal use. As technology becomes more advanced, backwards and brand compatibility issues are becoming much smaller problems, soon to die out. The other benefit is economical, with the company not having to foot the bill for a new batch of devices every few years, and not having to account for faulty or damaged equipment.

3) Stay secure - The BYOD policy should stipulate exactly what data employees can store and process on personal devices. Best practice should also be encouraged, such as ensuring strong passwords and encryption programmes are used to secure all personal and business devices and discouraging staff from connecting to public Wi-Fi. Additional security software should be installed in case of accidental loss or theft, for example to lock devices or automatically delete data if an incorrect password is used too many times.

4) Communicate and Collaborate - Technology-savvy companies are starting to recognise that the connectivity options smart devices offer can improve collaboration options, and this is particularly apparent in the meeting room. Employees are using tablets and smartphones as combined personal dairies, communications tools and notepads. However, their potential goes way beyond what was offered by the personal digital assistant, and their connectivity options make them well-suited to a meeting context.

Businesses should look to provision the sharing of content from across these devices to improve the meeting room experience. Whether the purpose of the session is to brainstorm a creative idea or to present a sales pitch, mobile technologies help it run more efficiently. 

5) Sharing information – BYOD has the potential to make screen sharing scenarios more advantageous in meetings. However, the challenge lies in the fact that each device is likely to run on incompatible operating systems, such as Android, Windows or IOS, and managing all of these necessitates a greater level of technical support.

There are solutions available on the market that can support BYOD by streamlining the sharing process. What we’re seeing is an emerging market segment for wireless collaboration technologies, such as Barco’s own ClickShare range, which bring all the participants’ devices together to make meetings far more productive. A wireless connection to a shared display from participants’ seats will remove the need for complex configuring and cabling.

Without bridging technologies in place, connecting a device to a shared screen typically means a tangle of cable and having to regularly reconfigure screen settings. This can result in a less than perfect representation of the content to be displayed due to distortion caused by incorrect settings or resolution. When multiple people want to put content on a shared screen the problem is compounded. Selecting an appropriate wireless collaboration solution will bring all of the devices together regardless of the operating system.

6) Tool up with the right technology – Investing in the right technology is key to the success of bringing BYOD in to a meeting room environment. Ironically it is technical issues that are also one of the main factors holding back the effectiveness of meetings. Technologies must be fail-safe and easy-to-use to improve meeting room performance. 

BYOD is no longer just an emerging trend, it is here for the long term and it will continue to transform the way businesses work. Companies welcome the potential it brings for greater productivity and efficiencies in the workplace, and one of the biggest growth areas is the meeting room.  BYOD should form a significant part of every company strategy and, together with the wireless collaboration technologies, it will significantly improve the quality of meetings and reduce the time spent in them.

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2 May 2014, 10:30 a.m.

Thanks for the great overview of the business meetings environment needs. Sharing information is another side of collecting it and access. For the meetings especially it's important to share info just-in-time and directly to the participants. When we think about the real life it is not just for corridor warriors but out of the office and on customer site as well. You are right- t shoud be secured when sharing is available for trusted devices only. This is the complex problem. And I'm happy to say we solved it in our solution MobileSputnik with just released cross-platform (iOS and Android) Direct File & Screen Sharing capabilities - .