The City of Boston tackles the BYOD Trend

Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 9:53 AM


Many organizations, large and small, are struggling with the BYOD issue. BYOD stands for "bring your own device" and refers to employees providing and using their own smartphones or tablets while at work.

There are a variety of challenges related to BYOD, including employee productivity loss, organization data and security risks, as well as liability issues, and more.  In the case of the City of Boston and the Boston Police Department, the related BYOD issues are no different than a private sector organization.

The City of Boston is taking a proactive approach to the BYOD trend by working to leverage smartphone technology for internal and customer-related purposes.  One goal is to improve efficiency rather than be dragged down by employee productivity loss.

The CIO for the city of Boston, Donald Denning, believed that his organization needed to innovate. He believed smartphones "are a force multiplier."

The City of Boston and the Boston Police Department use smartphones for email and calendaring but both plan to establish formal policies for mobile device use.  Meanwhile, some police detectives are using contact management apps to track investigation contacts, including photos. Another group is looking at leveraging the existing records management system to interact with mobile apps.

For citizens, they developed an Android and iPhone app called "Citizen's Connect" to allow citizens to take and forward photos of graffiti, pot holes or other public nuisances to the city.  The app also serves as a ticketing system, which is tied to a GPS to pinpoint locations of the problems. The city then built an app called "Worker Connect" to schedule the repair of the problems reported.

If that wasn't creative enough, the city held an app contest (crowd source) to find other solutions to solve problems. The competition resulted in an app that creates an onboard accelerator to record "bumps" and collect signatures of potholes as constituents drive around the city.

It only takes creativity to resolve the BYOD trend.  What's your organization doing?

(Source: FierceMobileIT, Nov. 22, 2011)