Rio Tinto scales BYOD to 4000 users

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Rio Tinto scales BYOD to 4000 users

Green light after pilot success.

Rio Tinto is the latest big company to allow employees to use their own mobile devices on the corporate network, scaling up a BYO Device environment after a successful pilot.

The mine giant kicked off a proof-of-concept in December 2012 with 200 users, which it ran until March of this year.

A Rio Tinto spokeswoman told iTnews the company put a "BYOD solution" into production last month.

"We support Apple iOS and a limited range of secure Android devices only," the spokeswoman said.

"Any employee can bring their own device as long as they have their manager's approval."

The BYOD environment scaled up quickly over the past seven weeks, going from the 200 pilot users in April 2013 to "about 4000 active users" in early May.

Device users are able to access email and calendars, as well as "core business applications such as work flow approvals and leave requests and access to custom applications such as geographic information systems and mine monitoring systems," the spokeswoman said.

The BYO Device project is understood to have been part of a broader push to allow employees a greater degree of options for remote working.

Gartner distinguished analyst David Willis sees "mobile workforce opportunities" as just one benefit to cascade from the increased acceptance of BYOD strategies by corporate firms.

The analyst firm recently cited research that 38 percent of companies "expect to stop providing devices to workers by 2016".

Predictions of take-up rates vary wildly: an Ovum report commissioned by Logicalis Australia last year put the figure at about 40 percent in Australia, though Gartner said this month that "around two thirds of all employees are already engaged in some form of BYOD".

An increasing number of Australian firms are taking BYOD on board. NSW Police, St George Bank, the NSW Department of Education and Woolworths, have all this year raised the possibility of supporting BYO devices.

They would join a burgeoning list of BYOD adopters that includes the Commonwealth Bank, JP Morgan and Western Australia's Department of Education.

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