What is Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)?

BYOD, also referred to as BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology), is the practice of people bringing their own laptops, tablets, smartphones, or other portable devices with them to the learning or work environment. Intel coined the term in 2009, when the company observed that an increasing number of its employees were using their own devices and connecting them to the corporate network, leading to major productivity gains. As of 2015, millennials became the largest generation represented in the US workforce, and as group generally accustomed to mobiles being at the center of their lives, there is now an expectation that they can use them for many aspects of their work life. In formal education, the BYOD movement addresses the same reality; many students are entering the classroom with their own devices, which they use to connect to the institutions’ networks. While BYOD policies have been shown to reduce overall technology spending, they are gaining traction more so because they reflect the contemporary lifestyle and way of working and learning. Even in the absence of concrete strategies, institutions across the world are increasingly accommodating and even encouraging the use of mobile devices for a wide range of teaching and learning activities.

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(1) How might this technology be relevant to the educational sector you know best?

  • Still as relevant this year as the last few years. With smartphones and tablets so universal, it makes sense for us to take advantage of the devices people already have. More than that, people are not expecting we should already get how to do it. Information is already at everyone's fingertips. As purveyors of important information, shouldn't we be at the forefront of providing it? Also, as the technology improves, there's more access and possibility for every museum. Now you don't need an app. Have a mobile optimized website and you can get additional resources to anyone through the device they bring. - ortiz ortiz Feb 16, 2016 - laura laura Feb 19, 2016This is the new normal and museums need to respond by adjusting their offer. e.g. supporting BYOD means charging stations, rock solid wifi, and offering headphones.
  • Agree with Laura - the ubiquity of devices means museums need to offer a friendly atmosphere for their use and support. - dianezorich dianezorich Feb 23, 2016
  • According to a Time Magazine report from December of 2015, Americans checked their smartphones 46 times a day __http://time.com/4147614/smartphone-usage-us-2015/__. Museum visitors and staff alike can be seen walking through galleries with mobile devices in hand. Yet, few museums are serving their customers and publics appropriately, lacking free public charging stations for mobile devices, public workstations for longer-term productivity focused engagement or adequate signage about free applications or WiFi. Airports, railway stations and major metropolitan areas in the United States now understand that servicing BYOD experiences are essential for customer transactions and have found ways to support this critical infrastructure. Education and learning can most be significantly empowered by users utilizing the tools that they already have in the palm of their hands or on their body in the case of the wearables category. Prioritizing user experience and the benefits of optimizing personal data and platform experiences are an urgent priorities for museums. - nealstimler nealstimler Feb 23, 2016
  • Many low income visitors rely on their mobile device for their sole mobile connection (see http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/04/01/us-smartphone-use-in-2015/ ) as well as international visitors, so to me, the most important aspect for BYOD is strong wifi available free across museum campuses. - emilyllytle emilyllytle Feb 26, 2016
  • Agreeing with all of this, though I think there also needs to be a closer look at how people are using those devices in museums. I feel like there is more of a push back on downloading institution-specific apps. Visitors seem interested in what apps have to offer, would prefer to use their own device, BUT also don't want to have to download something, wait for the download, and have it take up space. Not sure what the solution is, but seem to be seeing a pattern in terms of usage that the ubiquity isn't solving... [[user:jfoley|1456768340]==(2) What themes are missing from the above description that you think are important?== * - laura laura Feb 19, 2016The above description seems a bit out of date and overly focused on formal education and work settings. I think it needs to be adjusted to reflect what BYOD means in a museum setting
  • - dmitroff dmitroff Feb 22, 2016 I think it's also important to consider that even if visitors are bringing their own devices, they are not necessarily going to our museum resources for information on those devices when they are in our institutions. Even if we have responsive sites, are visitors coming to our sites on their devices, or are they going to Google, Wikipedia, Instagram, etc.? And what do we need to do in order for our content to be findable in multiple places and via multiple platforms?
  • Agree with Dana here- matching your BYOD policy to your actual museum visitor profile is important. We are finding that despite having smart mobile devices- many visitors prefer "renting" a device for an audio tour because of its simplicity and ease. Furthermore, visitors often use their smart devices constantly at the museum, but mostly to document their visit (photos, video, social media, etc). Adding a layer of interpretation to these mobile experience through an app might not be successful. - margaretsternbergh margaretsternbergh Feb 29, 2016
  • To add to Dana's point, museums might want to take a page from the airline industry, which now tells their passengers - at the point of their ticket purchase, and at regular intervals between ticket purchase to the boarding of a flight - that the airline offers free movies, wi-fi, special entertainment, etc on their device IF they download the airline's app. In other words, museums need to not only encourage and support BYOD, but incentivize visitors to use those devices with the museum's special apps, resources, etc. - dianezorich dianezorich Feb 23, 2016
  • The focus of here must shift from museums making their own products with traditional vendors to empowering other business to make applications and experiences for education from open media assets and data. Third party vendors in the marketplace can more quickly innovate and iterate solutions for BYOD than museums are capable of achieving themselves. It’s time for museums get out of the application and device business as we knew it. Our users have already left us behind, except for those habituated to the museum industry’s own antiquated offerings. - nealstimler nealstimler Feb 23, 2016
  • There are more comments here than in any other section I've seen so far. And this is not the horizon, this is NOW. We could actually invert the question and ask, "Is there anything we should be talking about other than BYOD strategies? Is this the WHOLE DEAL in museum technology now, or at least 90% of it? It might be.- weberj weberj Feb 28, 2016
  • ....And, my next question is, why aren't we talking about BYOD content itself. That's still the big issue: finding the staff/time/money to make something GREAT that our visitors will worth spend precious museum time on. Yet we aren't really talking about that, and we aren't talking about the difference between producing for a smart phone screen and for a tablet, and whether there's any viable relationship between those productions and what's on the increasingly larger screens on desktops. But really, the success of any platform will not be based on that platform itself, but on the strength and appropriateness of the content produced for it. I'm stating the obvious, I know.- weberj weberj Feb 28, 2016
  • I think it's more CYOD (Choose your own device) than BYOD - lkelly lkelly Feb 28, 2016 Love this point, as we are exploring new ways to deliver audio tour content we are looking at ways to offer both a mobile website, mobile app, and paper-based experience at the same time as a way to meet all our visitor needs. - margaretsternbergh margaretsternbergh Feb 29, 2016
  • +1 to everything brought up above. - jfoley jfoley Feb 29, 2016
  • This is not my area of expertise, and I'm insanely past the deadline for commenting, but a few things strike me about this topic. As has been pointed out, this isn't a future technology. Most of what we should be doing is putatively available, but in most places doesn't work well enough for a lot of people to adopt it. Although I see people using smart devices in museums all of the time, it's almost entirely to photograph the objects, or themselves with the objects. Having our data easily accessible via something like Goggles (I know the Met did this in 2011, but not sure about others) would fit seamlessly with what people are already doing. Audio only, or audio-mostly has been around forever, but it still feels really clumsy (or clumsier than the rented devices of yore) in most places I've used it. Finally, the most obvious (and again, I know these exist in abundance) single thing for getting people to use a dedicated app in a museum is really robust wayfinding. I know all of this exists, but as the article by Scott that is cited below makes clear, BYOD has had spotty success, and much of the blame for that is due to inadequate infrastructure and failure to interpret social behavior in museum settings. The future of this seems more a matter of strengthening the foundations already in place through integration of some of the technologies we're discussing here, continuing to improve existing infrastructures, and improved anthropology of the museum experience - chuck.patch chuck.patch Mar 18, 2016

(3) What do you see as the potential impact of this technology on education and interpretation in museums?

  • People are starting to expect it. Those institutions that don't provide it will be seen as behind. We are no longer in a situation of "what if we offered BYOD experiences". Our visitors now understand the technology enough to know it shouldn't be a challenge to offer it. It's a huge benefit to museum interpretation and education. We can put far more resources, and hyperlink them, so that people have lots more to engage with. Visitors want more when they are interested, but we can't always fit more in an exhibition or project. With BYOD, we can give them more while they are there, and let them take it away with them. - ortiz ortiz Feb 16, 2016
  • - laura laura Feb 19, 2016huge. We already know that the vast majority of museum visitors bring their own mobile devices (mostly smartphones and increasingly tablets) and many of them use them while they're in the museum but only a very small percentage use them to access a museum's mobile website or mobile app - this is both a challenge and an opportunity for museums.
  • The impact of BYOD in museums is already evident. The immediate concern of museums is to meet it with adequate resources, support and strategic approaches. - nealstimler nealstimler Feb 23, 2016

  • Visitors also have concerns with devices in general:https://musdigi.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/visitors-apps-post-visit-experiences-and-a-re-think-of-digital-engagement-part-1/ - lkelly lkelly Feb 28, 2016

  • Definitely part of expectations-- and expectations are being set by for-profits as much as non-profits. People check in for flights, do their online banking, and make reservations for dinner on their phones, they expect the same convenience and access from everything and don't make the distinction between for-profit and non-profit in terms of those expectations. - jfoley jfoley Feb 29, 2016
  • I would disagree with the expectations argument here. I don't think what consumers enjoy from commerce related apps is the convenience aspect- it is easier to check in for a flight on an app then going to a webpage, its easier to deposit a check from your couch then to drive to a bank, its easier to look at a menu through yelp. However, what is a more convenient way to learn about a work of art- download an app, learn how to use it, and then look up the object? Or, just look at a wall label next to it? Or an iPad nearby with the information you seek? Or, a guide stationed in the space? App use as a whole is on the decline with many consumers not even using many apps after they are downloaded. I think the era of BYOD and museum apps in general may have already passed. The benefits to a user of using their own device to access information often don't outweigh the hurdles to get it. - margaretsternbergh margaretsternbergh Feb 29, 2016
  • The future of BYOD may be through messaging applications (http://www.wsj.com/articles/the-future-of-texting-e-commerce-1451951064). Rather than downloading a new app for every museum, visitors could interact with museum "bots" through chat like applications. Questions, content, navigation, commentary, could all be delivered through a chat like platform that visitors already use for other content in their lives- margaretsternbergh margaretsternbergh Feb 29, 2016

(4) Do you have or know of a project working in this area?

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