Recently I was on a United flight to a conference in Las Vegas, and upon boarding the plane, noticed that there were no headset displays. I don’t fly all that much to begin with; maybe once or twice a year, but of course, I rolled my eyes at the lack of in-flight entertainment. While the remaining passengers were boarding, I debated ordering some gadget from the SkyMall catalog, and started to review United’s magazine, Hemispheres, which has various articles about destinations, food, etc. – and United’s in-flight entertainment. Wait, what?
United actually does have in-flight entertainment; however you need your own device (laptop, iPad, etc.). Prior to take off, we were instructed to flip our devices to airplane mode, which was a first for me, as I was actually used to turning devices off. Once we hit cruising altitude, the plane provided Wi-Fi access. This included free browsing to United’s website, and paid browsing/email sync and streaming of movies/TV shows. I assume United has a media server that streams movies and TV shows. There wasn’t an option for live TV – at least not on my flight.
Why am I telling you this awesome story about in-flight entertainment on United? For the miles, of course (just kidding). This is actually an excellent example of bring your own device (BYOD) in action. One of the main concerns with BYOD is supporting multiple end-point devices. Instead of investing in headset displays and maintenance of those displays, United put the display portion on the customer. Similarly, some software companies provide a stipend for users/customers to purchase any device they want to connect into the backend environment. In those cases, the companies don’t support the end-point devices.
For BYOD to really take off, companies need to think outside of the box like United. It makes sense for the company, and to a certain degree, the end user. I only saw two flaws in United’s BYOD inflight entertainment: lack of power outlets and customers that don’t have a device. Then again, a good book works just fine without either of those items.
To discuss more about BYOD and the technologies that support that initiative, please reach out to your Gotham account manager.