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Personal and Work Computing No Longer Separate Silos

March 30, 2015

It used to be that whatever computing devices an employee owned functioned separately from work. This changed to a scenario where an employee would occasionally connect to their IT system at work from a home computer, but otherwise the two systems remained separate.

Today, the line separating personal and work computing has not only been blurred, many would argue it no longer exists.

One reason for this trend has been the proliferation of mobile devices. According to Cisco, the number of mobile devices grew to 7.4 billion in 2014, up from 6.9 billion the year before. Mobile tablets increased from just over 46 million in 2013 to 74 million in 2014, a 1.6 fold increase.

Although the tendency is to treat smartphones, tablets and laptops as different devices, they share many functions in common. You can browse, run apps, send email and make phone calls from any of them. Since smartphones are the most common mobile device, they are also the most common computing device and follow the user to work.

As a result, companies had to develop BYOD policies to allow these personal mobile devices to also be used in the work environment. Technology also enabled remote workers and workers in the field to connect to the enterprise network.

Image via Shutterstock

Forbes contributor Maribel Lopez illustrates other areas where consumer and work computing meet. Video content will play an increasing role in business, especially in customer service. You can add wearable devices like smart watches to the mix. Lopez also envisioned virtual reality, accommodating wireless charging and authentication relying less on user ID/password combinations and more on technologies like facial recognition as future workplace trends.

There’s no going back to the days when employee and work computing existed as separate environments. There may be a few exceptions to this trend where companies issue their devices for employee use, their policies forbid employee devices connecting to the enterprise, or they feel there’s no need for it. Those companies will become increasingly harder to find, however. Many people carry their computing devices with them wherever they go and this includes connectivity to their employer’s IT system. 

Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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