It’s that most wonderful time of the year. You know the one, where that special parent lets their baby fly around all by itself while playing with sharp weapons. Or for those of you wearing red today, the holiday with the flying toddler in a diaper who shoots arrows dipped in love potion at people. Many will get hit by the Valentine’s Day bug and will spend time with a loved one going out for a meal and trading sappy (I go for humorous personally) cards and presents with that special person. Others will ignore the day and spend it alone, but usually secretly pining for what everyone else has. In a lot of ways, it’s just one huge allegory for CoIT (the Consumerization of IT).
You see, we all have a love affair with our devices. Over 50% of the US has a smartphone and that number will only grow. We may pick our phone 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 that you didn’t get a voicemail or email. 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 no longer 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.
You see, all this is why BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) 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 on-screen keyboard. 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 phone 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 taking the cross Bronx Expressway.
When you walk into a meeting at work, you don’t want to pull out that laptop that takes 2 minutes to start up, you then have to login, wait another minute and then open that word processor or find that excel spreadsheet. Instead, you whip out that smartphone or tablet and it’s already on. Your fingers dance across the screen making music as the latest document that you need pops up in an app that is a joy to use. Sometimes you slip the device under the table and play a quick round of Angry Birds just because you can. While at the same time, that person across the table looks at you with disdain as they chug away on the company laptop that you no longer need to use when you don’t want to. Their jealousy, barely hidden below the surface as you grab your device to leave the conference room while they’re still pulling the plug out of the socket so they don’t have to worry about battery life.
The end of the day comes, and as they 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 the holiday of love while your two beautiful devices provide simulated candlelight with their screen dimmed power saving OLEDs. Of course when you arrived, you started by sharing a photo of a dozen roses on your screen. 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. Happy Valentine’s day to one and all.