BYOD – From Today’s Classroom to the Workplace

A telecom veteran of more than 10 years goes back to school to get his MBA and discovers how much the classroom has evolved with the emergence of mobile technology. See what he has to say about tomorrow’s workforce and how it affects the growing trend of BYOD in the workplace.

Editor’s Note: This is the next installment of a series in which contributors elaborate on each of the five game-changes featured in CommScope’s latest Global Enterprise Survey.

Four years ago, I made a conscious decision to go back to school to get my MBA by taking classes on campus rather than online. This was an eye-opening experience with regards to the role of mobile technology and our future work force.

The first week of school was, let’s just say, an absolute culture shock. At what I considered to be the youthful age of 33, I was no doubt the old man in the classroom. I was over 30, had two children and more than 10 years of work experience.

Despite my career in the telecom industry, I was considered a relic when it came to technology. I discovered today’s students are taking notes on a laptop; while shopping vacations, looking up the status of old flames on Facebook and purchasing music online.

Since my first time experiencing academia several years ago, the university system has changed dramatically and is continuing to evolve. Everything is connected to the cloud. The classroom workstation outlets at the desk have all been abandoned for WLAN and Generation Y has no clue what a patch cord is used for. I’ll admit that widespread access to internet didn't truly exist when I went to school the first time, although we did have WordPerfect, FORTRAN, computer labs, and dot matrix printers.

Now you wonder why “Bring Your Own Device,” known by most as BYOD, is a huge topic that we need to further break down. It is no surprise to see BYOD as the top trend in technologies mentioned in our survey of enterprise IT managers. It’s where the world is heading; all the manual, tedious, time-consuming tasks in the academic world are now connected and simplified. Wi-Fi is now WLAN, DAS is becoming IBW and the LAN is morphing in front of our very eyes. With the remaining Generation Y and Millennials entering the workforce, they will continue to thrive off wireless and live in the BYOD world.

Frankly, we want instant access to data to look smart and make better decisions. We want instant access to friends and family to share the picture we took during a vacation or of a celebrity we meet. Online maps are the norm because none of us remember how to use a paper one. Employees today and in the future are using social media, new text apps, streaming video, and I can’t forget those who are fond of playing social games like Minecraft; a game that has the video graphics of my childhood Atari. These are just some of the many considerations as to why wireless connectivity is transforming from a luxury to a necessity in today’s workplace.

Do you have a similar experience with the growing involvement of BYOD in your workplace?