BYO device policy takes two steps towards mainstream

Two very different public sector IT schemes indicate a change of thinking about the acceptability of bring-your-own devices.

All schools in Northern Ireland are to have access to wireless services as part of a £170m million Education Network Northern Ireland contract. Meru Networks is partnering with Northgate Managed Services to provide state-of-the-art Wi-Fi connectivity to over 350,000 teachers and pupils in 1,200 schools.

The cloud-based network is claimed to be the first of its kind for education in Europe Teachers and students to access the network and resources securely via personal devices, such as smartphones, iPads, tablet PCs and laptops.

The network will be built around 10,000 access points located throughout school buildingslinked a central data centre. The data centre will be connected by superfast telecoms connections to the access points on the schools' premises. 

Meanwhile two NHS hospitals, Alder Hey Children's and Liverpool Women's NHS foundation trusts are trialling tablet computers in a "bring your own" scheme. The pilot, primarily based at Liverpool Women's, involves clinicians and other staff using handheld devices. Ten staff at Liverpool Women's have been using tablets that are secured by Kaseya's mobile device management software, which allows the trust to wipe the tablets if they connect to the internet after they have been reported lost or stolen.

Responses to the latest Socitm IT Trends survey found that 90% of organisations allow employees to use their own devices for business purposes, including 30% who allow the use of smartphones. Three years ago the idea was 'fiercely resisted' by the IT community, the report says.