Around 4 years ago, it was projected that there will be half a billion mobile VoIP users globally by 2015 – and this was supposed to be a humble forecast. It hasn’t officially reached that number yet but it’s on its way, especially with the increased acceptance for BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) on Businesses.
There are several business advantages that explain this trend, which include increased productivity because of BYOD. At the same time, increased adoption opens up a Pandora’s box; again, partly due to BYOD.
Advantages of BYOD
Mobile VoIP and BYOD go hand-in-hand. Device availability – whether it’s owned by the office or the employee – is useless when you do not have powerful mobile VoIP service providers and applications. Fortunately, this isn’t the case in 2015; or even back two years ago. The consideration now is whether the organization will allow employee-owned devices to be used for work. There are advantages to BYOD.
Foremost here is the increase in productivity and access. When employees are connected to their work through their phones, working hours extend beyond their hours within the office. They are able to produce more through collaborative work over VPN and mobile VoIP, even outside office premises.
At the same time, an employee’s location is no longer a relevant consideration when it comes to doing productive and connected work. As long as the person has reliable internet access, they can stay on top of their work. They can attend meetings, respond to emails, and remain accessible via their office extension.
Another advantage with BYOD is corporate savings. This comes from several avenues. For one thing, BYOD means that the company does not have to spend for employee devices. Working outside the office can also mean relevant savings from overhead office expenditure.
Work satisfaction among staff members is also seen to increase with BYOD. After all, a BYOD device also contains personal apps and connections. Email and chat are not limited to work. In the same way, applications can include games, music apps and other non-work apps, which are always welcome breaks from work-related mobile computing.
And, since the device is employee owned, there is a good likelihood that it is the latest model, and includes the latest app and OS updates. This ensures fast and effective work.
Disadvantages of BYOD
The number one issue with BYOD is security. A personal device is very open to infiltration. This not only pertains to possible access by people who aren’t members of the organization. Ideally, strict password complexity implementation can address this. Infiltration can happen unknowingly through applications and network connections.
And the security issue is two-way. BYOD also allows companies to spy on their employees. They can access and delete personal data, see their online activity and leverage private information against them.
The key to both issues is the strict implementation of an acceptable use policy that is adhered to by both parties. In which case, monitoring the implementation becomes the difference between a successful BYOD implementation and a counter-productive one.
The rules on BYOD use has to be clear-cut, and precise. It needs to list down all expectations when it comes to personal and business engagements using the device. There should be a minimum password complexity requirement, which has to be strictly followed. Plus, company-mandated security tools should be installed and used in the BYOD devices.
Another issue is the possibility of BYOD devices being distractions from productive work. Since there is the personal aspect in these devices, the owner can install any app and engage with people outside work. While this is natural, there should be some controls implemented to minimize this.
Finally, there is cost to consider. How will the company pay for the service costs of an employee-owned device, considering how the service is also used for personal engagements? Cost-sharing can be considered, as long as there are clear-cut guidelines for it.
Mobile VoIP is the one thing that weaves through the different implementation of BYOD, across all industries. Start-up or global, a company that wants its workforce to be accessible and involved wherever they are needs to set up mobile VoIP. And, so far, the easiest way to implement this is through BYOD.
A top-shelf mobile VoIP client is necessary when you want to keep your employees engaged through BYOD. Such client enables setting up office extensions into mobile devices, as well as enabling other telecommunications tasks like chat, email, and video conferencing.
A lot of VoIP service providers offer top-shelf clients with their service, which work with both Android and iOS devices. If unavailable, you can always choose to use a third-party client, such as CounterPath, which allows easy integration regardless of the VoIP service you use.
With mobile VoIP opening up venues of malicious infiltration and attack, it is important to be more vigilant when it comes to how your VoIP service performs. Monitor your service 24/7/365. VoIP Spear is a leading call monitoring service provider, which offers easy to set-up persistent/consistent endpoint testing for factors, such as MOS, latency, jitter and packet loss.
Matt Larson is freelance tech writer. He is currently in Asia, working remotely using Wi-Fi and mobile VoIP.