BYOD is a big trend in many industries, but as David Krebs, VDC’s VP of mobile and wireless explains, “[BYOD] has limited impact today in areas like field service.” We spoke to Krebs about that issue as well as mobility trends in the industry.

Why have so many field service firms said no to BYOD?

There is opportunity for further development with BYOD, but I have some reservations. Much depends on how companies are approaching their mobile workforce strategy. Is it BYOD or nothing? Is it relying on company-supported devices for technicians or nothing at all?

What are the big drawbacks to BYOD in the field?

For businesses it’s expensive to develop mobile applications that can properly function across a multitude of platforms. When it comes to field service technology, many of the solutions are sophisticated and require a certain amount of reliability – which is exceptionally difficult to guarantee with varying mobile operating systems and devices.

Finding a solution comes down to what the context of the application is and how advanced it might be. With features like payment, dispatching, GPS, mapping content, data capture, RFID tag scanners, and receipt printing, how are businesses going to get an application that operates effectively across device to device without developing a native app for each version?

In what context would BYOD work for field service?

Many field service technicians already have their own mobile device. In the case of basic mobile applications such as email and calendar – BYOD is a possible solution. BYOD might be a viable option for smaller businesses and technicians that operate locally, providing that they have access to basic service capabilities.