Untethered Summit to Look at Managing the BYOD Landscape

A few years ago, the hottest trend in workplace innovation was Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), which called for large corporations to allow employees to use their personal smartphones, computers, and other devices at work as a way to open up innovation and collaboration.

Companies are unable to prevent employees from bringing their devices to work, the logic goes, so employers might as well benefit by allowing staff to use the often technologically superior personal devices they’re already comfortable with. According to a survey done by Vodacom, 95 percent of employees use at least one personal device to complete job-related tasks.

However, integrating personal devices with corporate IT systems and wireless carriers is still a big challenge, particularly for organizations with hundreds of employees.

“It’s a management nightmare,” said Chris Koeneman, senior vice president of sales for MOBI, an Indianapolis software company focused on managing enterprise mobility for corporate customers. “It’s confusing—you have all these employees with different phones, multiple carriers, and different plans. Imagine your monthly cell phone bill, and then picture that complexity across a massive corporation. There’s a lot of money at stake, but there’s no prestige for the person who has to manage all that. It’s the worst possible job.”

It’s with these issues in mind that MOBI will host the Untethered Summit in Indianapolis at the end of the month. The goal, Koeneman said, is to gather the sector’s thought leaders and discuss the role of enterprise mobility today, as well as what the mobile connected future might look like.

Koeneman said MOBI has created a powerful software tool to help its customers—including huge Fortune 500 companies like Ford—navigate the BYOD landscape. Sold as a subscription service, MOBI’s software interacts with wireless carriers from the moment an employee officially joins a company’s IT network to the staffer’s last day on the job.

MOBI’s system also works with companies that give their employees a monthly stipend—which is a taxable benefit—to offset the costs of their smartphones. MOBI allows the credit to be rendered directly through the mobile carrier, taking the tax burden away from the employee. Automating the process saves time and money, and it gives employers a better sense of control, Koeneman added.

“Through an automated feed provided by human resources, we can see when an employee joins and when an employee leaves the company,” Koeneman said. “We can then wipe all corporate info off the phone. Without our software, it’s a mad scramble that humans have to do.”

The Untethered Summit will look at the potential mobility has to “radically reshape” the way work is done in corporate America, allowing companies to be more nimble, profitable, and innovative. Koeneman is particularly excited about the summit’s lineup of speakers, which includes Kevin Mitnick, CEO of Mitnick Security and chief hacking officer at KnowBe4.

“Anyone who’s into hacking knows who Kevin is—he’s like the George Washington of hacking,” Koeneman said. “He’s one of the first people I knew to get in legal trouble for it. He’s gone straight now, and he’ll be on hand to talk about network security.”

The Untethered Summit is open to the public and will be held Aug. 29-31 at the Alexander Hotel in Indianapolis.

Sarah Schmid Stevenson is the editor of Xconomy Detroit/Ann Arbor. You can reach her at 313-570-9823 or sschmid@xconomy.com. Follow @XconomyDET_AA

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