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Put that new AppleTV to work

Since it was a rainy mess we spent most of our weekend in front of the tv watching some of our favorite Halloween movies. This was pretty good timing since the new AppleTV arrived on Friday. There are a lot of cool new features that are available, here's a good overview. The new Siri functionality is great and very intuitive. For me the most exciting thing is the App Store and the ability to build apps for the new AppleTV. After a couple of days the ideas really started to flow and I am excited about the possibilities.

Construction

Here are few ideas for some useful apps for construction:

Plans: This is an obvious one. There's something that just feels right about seeing plans rolled out on a big plan table. Sure it's convenient to have them on your iPad also but imagine being about to review the plans on a 50'+ HD TV. This is really exciting to me.

Jobsite Status: What if you could easily tie into your time tracking system and with a glance see everyone who is on the jobsite, what they are currently working on and what's on the docket for the day. Communication and collaboration is so crucial on the jobsite and anything that you can do to bring more transparency to what is happening the better off everyone will be.

Manufacturing

Production Dashboard: What are the three or four metrics that mean the most to ensure that production is staying on track? Now imagine that in a few key spots around your facility you could easily monitor these metrics with an AppleTV. Are you ahead of schedule, do you need to investigate why one line is considerably slower than the others? All of this data could be displayed and accessible for everyone to see.

Services Industry

Project Schedule: A client of ours works in industrial services, and they often have 5 to 10 crews working different jobs across the country. They have yet to find a good solution for being able to see company-wide where all of their employees are at any given time and where they are going to be in the next few days. Having a project schedule on an AppleTV where they could navigate and review their teams could be a game-changer for them.

What do you think?

Got any cool AppleTV app ideas?
These are just a few that came to mind over the weekend. There is some great potential in a workplace to expose data that's valuable to every that is currently not easily available. If you are interested in investigating some of these ideas then drop us a line.

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Mobile Device Management

Introduction

In short, MDM stands for Mobile Device Management. As the name implies MDM typically refers to the strategy in which you manage mobile devices for your business. Oftentimes for the Trade-oriented business an MDM strategy does not exist. In this post we are going to highlight some great benefits of a digital MDM strategy, a use-case, and finally some information to get you started.

Why You Should Care About Mobile Device Management

Although saying "mobile device management strategy" sounds like meaningless nerd-speak the reality is you could benefit from having one. Ask yourself these questions...

  • Have you had issues with an employee improperly using their company device?
  • Have you struggled getting your employees access to their company email on a personal device?
  • Do you begin to boil when somebody asks you for the company's wifi password for the nth time?

With a little bit of effort and an MDM you can solve these problems.

WeBuild Inc. Discovers an MDM

Imagine a Construction company with 100 employees, let's call them WeBuild Inc. This company does not have a dedicated IT department, in fact the IT is handled by WeBuild's best Project Manager who happens to be pretty good with computers. Every time a new employee is hired valuable time is taken away from him to setup the new device with email, VPN, and work-related apps. Anytime an employee is lost or a device is busted that same PM is tasked with handling it, and typically it's the last thing on his priority list.

As WeBuild grows, this problem grows until finally our PM is overwhelmed and starts looking for solutions online. After a quick Google search for "mobile device management" he finds a product he wants to try. He signs up for a free trial and within hours he's configured VPN access, wifi, and email and he enrolls his own device. Instantly he sees the value because he can pre-configure everything. Our PM decides the next person to need help gets enrolled in the MDM. A few months go by, a few employees were hired, and few devices were lost or broken. The IT responsibilities of our busy Project Manager have gone from manually configuring each device to a few simple forms on the MDM.The MDM is big win for him.

A few more months go by and then there's suddenly a problem. There is suspicion that one of WeBuild's superintendents is job-shopping and there is concern that they're taking company information with them. Fortunately our PM/IT superstar enrolled the super's device in the MDM. Through the tool he can see browsing history and shut off access to sensitive company information. It's not about snooping but about securing company data. Again, the MDM delivers.

As you may have guessed the story of WeBuild Inc. parallels some real life experiences of mine. I am convinced a small investment in an MDM will save you a lot of pain and potentially give you valuable information and protection for your business.

Demystifying the Nerd-speak

Mobile Device Management is software that manages mobile devices for you. It can be as simple as signing up, creating the settings for employees and your company, and then emailing a link to everybody that will automatically enroll them and their devices.

In addition to the features WeBuild Inc. took advantage of, you can also enforce usage rules and track compliance.You can get location, screenshots, and other often critical information. You can also remotely wipe phones and remove secure access to internal information if a device is lost or stolen.

Getting Started

We have experience with a few MDM vendors. Most vendors offer free trials and support to help you get going. The features are nearly identical on each because every vendor deals with the same devices and infrastructures. I recommend signing up for a free trial on a few different solutions, and allow the vendor to help you get setup. Once you've spent some time poking around pick the solution you like the best that fits your companies needs.

  • MaaS360
    A fully featured web-based MDM with excellent customer support. Maas360 does it all, and if you are IT-minded the tool is very native and easy to learn. The pricing varies by needs but for a flat-fee per device you get all of the features. The only downside is the tool and supporting apps seems a little dated but otherwise a solid choice.

  • Air-Watch
    Air-watch is another fully-featured online MDM tool. The user interface for Air-watch is excellent, as is the team that will walk you through your first setup. Pricing varies by feature, but can be a bit more expensive than other options. The tool is definitely worth checking out.

  • Bushel
    If you are a die hard Mac and iOS user then Bushel is the best choice for you. The interface is very easy to use and intuitive. Unfortuanately it's not as full-featured as the two mentioned above. Mainly you can't deploy you own internal apps through Bushel, only App Store apps. So keep that in mind if you are planning on building your own app one day.

Wrap Up

Depending on how comfortable you are with technology you could setup and manage the MDM yourself. Also the better digital MDM options come with support options. If you still don't feel comfortable going solo, your IT provider likely has MDM options for you. If not, contact us at Beloved Robot.

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Create the App Your Business Needs

Have you ever wondered what it would take to build an app?

Do you have some ideas on how an app could help your business?

For the past three years Zane and I have had great oppourtunites to work with a lot of different types of companies that did that exact thing. In that time we've learn alot about what it takes to create an app that is a success and inacts true change within a organization.

Today we are launching a free course in which we will teach you everyhting we know about generating great ideas, identifying users, getting buy-in from business stakeholders, and finding the right developer to make your idea a reality. We decided to make this course really easy to consume so we did a series of 15-20 minutes recordings.

You can subscribe to the course here.

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