Who Leads the Pack for BYOD Adoption

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Bring your own device (BYOD) has featured prominently in many organizations’ strategies over the last few years, and recently, it has turned into an outright explosion. Employees in greater numbers than ever before are bringing their personal mobile devices to work, leading to overall improved production, higher job satisfaction, and lower operating costs. While numbers vary, a study from Gartner predicts that half of all employers globally will have BYOD policies by 2017. The BYOD market will boom as well, with some predictions going so far as to estimate it will hit nearly $240 billion by 2020. But as popular as BYOD is in some countries, others are not so enthusiastic about it. Indeed, while some nations have fully embraced the ideals behind BYOD, some continue to lag far behind.

Some of the countries and regions with the highest BYOD adoption rates shouldn’t be all that surprising. The United States and the North American region are usually listed at the top of most studies. Perhaps more surprising are the regions that have found themselves falling progressively further behind as each year passes. Countries in Europe have shown a clear reluctance in adopting BYOD policies, and South America, despite its recent technological improvements over the past decade, is still coming up short when compared to other regions. While these results and statistics might seem confusing at first, it becomes clear when taking into account several factors that can prove to be crucial to determining BYOD adoption rates, including regional and national culture, and overall technological maturity.

Take the United States for instance. One of the reasons the U.S. leads the pack in BYOD adoption is the culture that has developed among businesses there. U.S. workers tend to embrace a lifestyle that mixes work with personal life. This can be seen in the amount of work U.S. employees engage in outside of normal work hours, even if it is something as mundane as checking work emails. Taking a personal device — like a tablet or smartphone — and using it while in the office feels like no big deal to a U.S. worker. In many cases, they actually prefer it when compared to the alternative where the company provides the device.

Europe is another matter entirely. In Europe, workers not only expect the employer to provide any devices needed for work, they want it that way. In some places, like western Russia, this is due to the high cost of owning a device. Another major cultural consideration is the value many Europeans place on their personal privacy. With security becoming such a big issue in the wake of numerous stories of data breaches, using a personal device at work becomes a lot less attractive. This is one of the reasons places like Germany lag so far behind other regions. Even the leading European country in BYOD adoption, France, is still behind much of the rest of the world since BYOD policies aren’t tightly regulated.

One cultural aspect that also must be factored in is how much a country loves having the latest gadgets. U.S. consumers certainly pursue new versions of mobile devices as seen by the exploding mobile market. China and India are also some of the leading adopters of BYOD for this very reason. In fact, the Asia-Pacific region is expected to have the fastest growing rate of BYOD adoption in the entire world through the rest of the decade. When 2020 rolls around, it may be the new leader in BYOD.

Technological maturity can also play a major factor in how quickly a country adopts bring your own device policies. Brazil has also fallen behind compared to other world regions, mainly due to an infrastructure that is sorely lacking when it comes to integrating BYOD policies. While countries like Brazil are by no means asking, “What is BYOD?”, they are not doing enough to ensure employees who use their personal devices would be protected from cyber attackers. The fact that the Brazilian government mandates businesses provide the technology that employees need probably doesn’t help BYOD adoption matters either.

The U.S. and Asia may be out in front of BYOD adoption, but that doesn’t mean things can’t change. Already we’ve seen some slowdown in BYOD enthusiasm in the U.S. as fears over privacy continue to be amplified. Other regions like South America will likely continue to develop better infrastructure, and consumers may develop the need to get the latest devices. All of these changes, however, would need to take place over a period of years and perhaps even decades. For now, the U.S. and Asia will continue to enjoy the benefits of BYOD more than other parts of the world.

Rick Delgado
Freelance Writer
I've been blessed to have a successful career and have recently taken a step back to pursue my passion of writing. I've started doing freelance writing and I love to write about new technologies and how it can help us and our planet. I also occasionally write for tech companies like Dell.

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