An ode to BYOD

Forget all the nonsense about cost savings and productivity -- true as they may be, the real reason for BYOD is personal

We all have a love affair with our devices. More than half of the U.S. population has a smartphone, and that number will only grow. We may pick our smartphone for a variety of reasons, but it very quickly becomes part of us. They are extensions of our being.

You know that feeling, when you get that phantom vibration in your pocket only to look at your phone and realize you didn't get a voicemail or email. Or when no one favorited your latest Instagram masterpiece or your Tumbler post. It's even worse when you feel that vibration, only to remember that the phone is not in your pocket at all. You glance furtively around to see if anyone noticed that you went searching for it. It's gotten so bad that people now decide on who pays the check at a restaurant by seeing who can't wait to pick up their phone when it sits in the middle of the table.

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All of this is why BYOD is important. It has nothing to do with saving money and everything to do with spending time with the device you're comfortable with. You whisper sweet nothings to your device all day through the onscreen keyboard or perhaps voice recognition. You rely on it to tell you when your next meeting is and to remind you to pick up your kids from soccer practice.

You aren't willing to stop and ask for directions, but your smartphone is more than willing to help you out by giving you the directions to where ever you need to go. You can personalize your device so that it gives those directions in a dozen different accents, and you can decide how he or she talks to you. You could be partial to Elizabeth and her sexy Australian accent or Paulo and his wonderful Italian accent. You can even buy voices done by your favorite character. It's always fun to have Darth Vader use the Dark Side to make sure you don't get lost going through the Lincoln Tunnel or when taking the Cross-Bronx Expressway.

When you walk into a meeting at work, you don't want to pull out that laptop that takes two minutes to start up, then have to login, wait another minute, and finally open that word processor or find that Excel spreadsheet. Instead, you whip out that smartphone or tablet; it's already on. Your fingers dance across the screen making music as the document you need pops up in an app that's a joy to use. Sometimes you slip the device under the table and play a quick round of Angry Birds just because you can.

At the same time, the person across the table looks at you with disdain as he or she chugs away on the company laptop that you no longer need to use when you don't want to. That person's jealousy, barely hidden below the surface as you grab your device to leave the conference room, as he or she is still pulling the plug out of the socket -- that's right, the laptop needed a power cord attached, so it wouldn't run out of battery life midmeeting. Your smartphone or tablet of course did not.

The end of the day comes, and as those colleagues plan another evening of sitting by the landline waiting for it to ring, you slip your sweetheart into your coat pocket, having just used it to text its partner. You can now have a romantic dinner with your honey at that favorite restaurant to celebrate life while your two beautiful devices provide simulated candlelight with their power-saving OLEDs.

It's no longer bring your own device; it's bring yourself to work -- all the various pieces that are now part of your digital makeup.

This article, "An ode to BYOD," originally appeared at A Screw's Loose and is republished at InfoWorld.com with permission (© Brian Katz). Read more of Brian Katz's The Squeaky Wheel blog at InfoWorld.com or at A Screw's Loose. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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