All of these studies, products, and efforts make it clear that BYOD is here to stay. So the question remains, how will this affect the evolution of engineering alongside BYOD? The bigger and most progressive companies are fully embracing the trend, and building support around the idea. Will everyone else follow suit?
Policies to ensure safe and secure use of personal devices will allow engineers to access more corporate data, which has obvious benefits when working in the era where time means everything. As part of wider access to information and expedited solutions, software-as-a-service (SaaS) and other services, like RemoteFX from Microsoft and XenApp from Citrix, are enabling engineers to access programs that use high-end graphics and heavy processing loads straight from centralized databases or servers on their own devices, effectively trivializing hardware or OS requirements.
This means that tests and results from AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Abacus, Creo (now Pro-E) etc., can be performed and accessed by smartphones, laptops, and the like, by making centralized computers do all the heavy lifting. No matter where the engineer is, a new idea or solution can be put to the test immediately. This will result in more robust engineering practices, as well as engineers who are proficient in maneuvering between these services and programs, expanding their field of knowledge and expertise.
Some believe this expansion in knowledge and productivity will give rise to another BYOD movement: building your own device. As companies adopt policies on bringing your own device, some are calling for in-house engineers to build components specifically for their company.
Boeing, for example, is developing its own version of a secure Android phone. Union Pacific railroad had their own R&D labs, engineers, and contract manufacturers to build 8,000 radios they needed, saving $7 million to $8 million plus recuperating cost by selling these radios. Google is developing its own secure and secret servers for its employees. Other companies will surely follow suit and create servers tailor-made to support all those employee-owned devices and protect vulnerable information.
There was a time when my colleagues used the "company computer" for all their work. Over the past five years I found that everyone, including myself, swiftly took to using our own computers, devices, and Internet connections at the workplace. The affordable prices of desktop components, laptops, tablets, and the like certainly is the foundation of the departure of past norms. However, the majority of my associates said that it is privacy they want most. Their office desktops, from what they tell me, log every keystroke, every Webpage visited, and in some cases, take screenshots. To a lesser degree, their personal systems will run faster and have fewer issues for what they want to do.
I even use my own oscilloscope, data logger, and soldering station. Times are changing. The consumer world and the corporate business structure are inevitably merging. It will be interesting to see how companies react to these shifts of accessibility and redistribution of authority, as each member of the workforce integrates their work and technology with their daily lives, year after year. Likewise, the evolution engineering practices and how businesses use them will continue to transform the workforce and economy.