BYOx and the underpants strategy

Tools

Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) is an all-encompassing concept that goes beyond BYOD policies that are mainly aimed at employee-owned smartphones and tablets in the workplace. Driven by the evolution of wearable technology, EMM includes smart watches, glasses, shoes and even underpants--should it come to that.

Mobile device manufacturers each have their own way of helping IT pros manage ever-increasing BYOx mobile security needs. However, some organizations aren't interested. They've decided not to support BYO-anything and supply their own devices instead.

"The Ford Motor Company is an example of a company that is voluntarily letting go of BYOx," notes Silicon Angle's Suzanne Kattau and Mellisa Tolentino. "Ford recently announced that it will issue one standard mobile device for all of its employees. By the end of the year, about 3,300 Ford workers will have their old phones replaced with iPhones. Within the next couple of years, the company aims to have all of its 6,000 employees using iPhones."

It comes as no surprise that companies are opting to incur the cost of outfitting an entire organization with a single mobile device instead of grappling with increasingly complex BYOx issues--particularly where wearables are concerned.

As FierceMobileIT editor Fred Donovan reported last month, "[there are] a number of challenges wearables will have to overcome before they are embraced by the enterprise, according to a report by CIO. These include poor battery life, lack of charging connector standards, energy inefficiency of color displays, data input challenge, privacy concerns, lack of efficient Internet connectivity and design issues."

It's difficult not to feel at least a measure of compassion for businesses tasked with the technical and managerial obstacles of wearables, and BYOx in general. People can be pretty passionate about their technology, especially the early-adopter crowd. While a "no BYOx" policy is certainly the path of least resistance, it doesn't necessarily go over well with employees committed to wearing their new smart watch or using their personal mobile device over a company-issued handset.

In the end, it's best to iron out BYOx policies now when wearable tech is still big, bulky, and, for the most part, overtly visible. If the smartphone industry is any indication, it's just a matter of time before wearable tech gets smaller and smart underpants really do become An Actual Thing. - Lisa Hoover McGreevy, filling in for Fred this week