The open-source Arduino platform has helped tinkers make robots and controllers. At the Maker Faire last weekend, Arduino leader Massimo Banzi unveiled a new effort to help connect Arduino devices to the Internet.
How to prevent accidental damage from short-circuiting a BYOD program
One of the big concerns with bring your own device (BYOD) programs is the potential for a mobile data breach. That's particularly true when it comes to the iPhone, which has proven to be a popular target for thieves. The potential loss of confidential business information or access to a corporate network from a stolen device are genuine security concerns.
The bigger challenge to enterprise IT, however, is going to be much more mundane -- what to do when a user damages his or her personal device?
According to SquareTrade, which offers repair and replacement plans for mobile devices, nearly a third (30%) of iPhone owners have damaged their device within the past year. iPads fared better, as only one iPad owner in ten (10%) damaged his or her device within the past year.
All totaled, the gadget insurer claims that accidental iPhone damage or destruction is ten times more likely than theft. Or as the company's chief marketing officer Ty Shay put it -- "We were astonished at how many people drop their phones in the toilet."
SquareTrade's study, which was based on 2,000 of its own customers, said that 11% of iPhone owners have a device that is cracked or damaged and 6% are making due until they can qualify for a subsidized replacement or until they can upgrade to the iPhone 5. The company also notes that younger users are more likely to have damaged devices. Its study indicates that half of iPhone owners under 35 have damaged their device.
There's a good chance that device has become an essential business tool for its owner. But replacing a device immediately may not be an option for that employee. That's a particular issue if it's a new device (perhaps an iPhone 5) bought on contract and the employee can't afford afford an unsubsidized replacement.
Should an employer pick up the tab? Should IT have spare devices on hand for such emergencies? Should the employee try to manage without the device for months on end until he or she can replace it?
The answer to all those questions should be no -- for one very good reason. In addition to detailing security requirements, alerting users to the authority of IT to wipe a lost or stolen device, and spelling out acceptable uses for the device in the office, BYOD policies need to ensure that this situation won't occur.
That doesn't mean that no employee will shatter the screen of an iPhone or drop an Android handset in the toilet. It means that the individual is required to provide some mechanism to resolve those kinds of issues quickly.
That could mean buying AppleCare+, a store-based extended warranty, a carrier repair/replacement plan, or an after-market option like SquareTrade along with a device. Such an extended warranty can easily be required for a device to be used as part of a BYOD program. Depending on how the device was purchased, a credit card program with extended warranty protection may also suffice.
Microsoft said its updated Kinect will be available for use with Windows some time next year.
Social channels give companies unprecedented access to customers, and they can help you build better products that meet their needs. But sometimes it's your job to innovate and come up with products your customers never imagined needing.
A mobile app is as much a marketing tool as it is a product or link to a service. It needs to be just as flawless and well-designed as any other piece of marketing -- website, brochures, signs, stationary, and so on.