Bring your own device (BYOD) is one of those big changes currently sweeping through the tech sector. Instead of the new employee being handed an aging laptop much abused by the three previous employees, the newbie is being told to use whatever device they want and the IT staff will do the work of connecting the BYOD to the corporate network. Would that it be that easy, but the idea is powerful: the newbie gets to use his or her favorite device, the company doesn’t have to keep shuffling around dinosaurs and that agonizingly embarrassing moment when you have to present your media company’s hot new cutting edge capabilities on a laptop from the past decade is avoided.
But for b-to-b firms, as well as just about all media companies, the question is what will be the preferred media being displayed on all those BYOD devices? In other words, is BYOD just the first step in BYOM, as in bring your own media? The question is not insignificant as b-to-b media has just recently found its footing in the mixed format worlds of Web, video and digital presentations and is now juggling tablet expectations, smartphone proliferation and a generation reared on social networks. I’m going to argue that BYOD will indeed lead to BYOM and end up with another BYO: Build Your Own Community, which represents a great opportunity for b-to-b publishers.
But first, take a look at the present state of epublishers. The first e-books from the likes of Amazon and Apple were simply more efficient ways to shuttle the words from the author to the reader. Although bookstores, printers and author’s agents suffered mightily in that shuttle, the ability to get the book to the reader in digital format was just one more example of that digital intermediation we have been hearing about since Esther Dyson outlined what was in store for the music industry in 1994.
However, now simply e-publishing that printed book in digital format is passe. As a WIRED article recently pointed out, publishers are now racing to make their ebooks more immersive." Immersive in the sense of providing multimedia, video, associated interviews and just about any other information relevant to the book and sticky to a reader that wants to really understand the full spectrum of the author’s intention. The publishers that are successful in creating that immersive experience will develop a reader community loyal to the publisher and looking for more from that publisher and author.
The current b-to-b segment, particularly in the tech area, is undergoing great change as trends such as BYOB are being bolstered by other big developments such as cloud computing, big data analytics and mobile deployment. Smart publishers — and I definitely put ourselves at UBM TechWeb and InformationWeek in that category — are doing very well with readers and sponsors by developing robust communities around those topics.
The next step is to develop ebook-like immersive platforms that allow community participants to drill deeper into their preferred topics in the format they prefer — in essence being key players in building their own community. And of course that ability to show community engagement along with enhanced multimedia formats also presents a new and exciting range of sponsorship revenue opportunities. Will BYOD lead to build your own communities? I think so and I’d be happy to hear from you on the topic, just remember to BYOB.
Eric Lundquist, vice-president and editorial analyst for UBM TechWeb, provides analysis and commentary on the hottest topics in enterprise technology including cloud computing, mobility, social networks for the enterprise and corporate and personal hardware and software trends. He writes regular commentary and analysis articles and videos on current technology trends as well as conducting interviews with senior industry and customer executives. He is especially involved in the Global CIO content.