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How Many Mobile Identities Will You Possess in 2012?

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With Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) programs taking off at so many companies, the simple fact is that people are choosing a myriad of devices for use in their work and personal lives. Many use two or even three devices depending upon the task, location, or other factors. And, frequently, each of these devices has a different phone number for “identity.”

Some say that the answer is to just have one number. I don’t believe in the idea of “one number” across all our devices. That’s a nightmare, not nirvana.

First, why do I need multiple identities? It’s critical that I can project a different identity for personal and business calls. It’s much more effective if I call my brother from my personal number, and my top customer from my business number. I want to project the right identity to the right audience.

Think about the last time you answered a call from a number you didn’t recognize…never? Those calls usually go straight to voicemail. In a simple but profound way, my phone number is my identity.

I believe we need purpose-driven numbers that indicate our distinct identities in different contexts. And we need to manage calls and filter access just like we set groups and apply filters to our social identities online. We need to maintain multiple identities on each of our devices, so we can make any call from any phone number on any device.

Is this possible? Yes, it is!

New mobile communications capabilities like ShoreTel Mobility can provide easy separation of multiple phone numbers on a single smartphone. Now you can have one device, with multiple identities. On any device you choose.

Genius.

The next phase in the consumerization of IT will continue to be about choice, as people choose when they can be contacted, by whom, and by which methods (social tools, emails, SMS, voice, video, etc.).

As our addiction to mobile devices gets even stronger in 2012 and beyond, we’ll learn how to balance the multiple personalities that go with each device. The answer is not to merge them into one identity. On the contrary, we need the tools to cultivate distinct personal and professional identities on a single device, and manage them with brilliant simplicity.

How many multiple personalities do you have, and how do you manage them?