IBM's CTO for mobility, Bill Bodin, has stated that up to 200,000 IBM workers will be allowed to bring in their own smartphones and tablets to work, and connect these to the company's internal servers.
By the end of the year, 100,000 employees will be able to connect their bring-your-own devices (BYOD) to the networks, which have recently been bolstered for enhanced mobile security, said Bodin, in an interview with Computerworld.
The additional 100,000 employees will be supported from 2012, with the overall total of 200,000 representing around half of IBM's global workforce.
Bodin stressed that the devices will be the worker's own, meaning that they will have to pay for the device and the monthly services plans. He did however say that IBM will give guidance and technical support with integrating them into the workplace.
Users will be required to load IBM's agent software on their device, for secure access to IBM's systems, email and other work-related functions, while security will be further enhanced by the need to use VPNs and passwords to access the systems. Further adding to this, IBM will deploy end-point management tools, so that IT managers can wipe data off lost or stolen devices.
Bodin said that workers will initially be able to access email, contacts and calendar through the IBM Lotus Traveler.
"We've noticed that BYOD and the consumerization of IT, with devices now becoming more and more proficient", said Bodin, when speaking to Computerworld. "We're taking steps to fortify the infrastructure and device management - all the way to agents on the phone itself - to guarantee that it has not been hacked or jail broken.
In addition to adopting a more open mobile platform approach, IBM has also said that it will allow employees to choose from hundreds of smartphone and tablet apps.
They will also be able to get software from IBM's WhirlWind app storefront, which has seen about 35,000 app downloads since its launch late last year, according to Bodin. The store offers around 400 third-party apps and 100 apps built internally for IBM employees.