BYOD: North America and Asia embrace it; Western Europe, not so much

Quick hits from Strategy Analytics' report on smartphones in global businesses for Q1 2013.

Photo: Robert Nelson/Flickr

The enterprise technology community is decidedly split on the value of bring-your-own-device, or BYOD. (ZDNet readers have seen that debate play out on these very pages.) A new survey shows that the rift has as much to do with geography as it does technology.

In the first quarter of 2013, the number of smartphones entering large businesses through the outlay of employees (hereafter, "BYOD devices") was more than double the number purchased as corporate assets, according to a new report from market research firm Strategy Analytics.


That's 62 million business smartphones in total, or about 30 percent of the global smartphone market.

But the story is different depending on which continent you live. North America and the Asia-Pacific region "have been the most liberal in their approach," with 18 and 77 percent increases in year-over-year BYOD device volume, respectively.

Western Europe, on the other hand, isn't so keen: the region saw a 15 precent year-over-year BYOD device reduction in Q1, and a 43 percent increase in corporate smartphones. Strategy Analytics called the market "far less liberal," a description usually not given to the area.

What gives? Several factors: costly roaming tariffs and the inability of operators to offer split-billing on data charges, plus the usual concern from IT organizations who want to preserve volume rate plans and fear security breaches.

"Western Europe is already scaling back a trend it barely recognized," the authors write. Oof.

Overall, global BYOD devices experienced almost 100 percent growth in 2013, with 40 percent just in Q1. But the concerns of enterprises in Western Europe are hardly unique—making you wonder which way the wind is blowing as we head toward 2014.