When most professionals hear the term “mobile device management,” they generally assume that an MDM can only remote control company-issued phones. Several years ago, this idea may have been accurate. But as the digital devices in our world have exploded in number, so, too, has the umbrella of what an MDM can remotely control. Now the right MDM can remote control practically any device with a screen and an interface.
This fact is especially true of Android-powered devices. As the dominant operating system across many hardware categories, businesses that rely on Android for their device ecosystem have their choice of powerful MDMs to turn to. AirDroid Business is a popular choice for IT teams due to the strength and flexibility of its features.
Unfortunately, many IT teams still conflate an MDM only with phones, unaware that this solution can serve as the hub for all of their organization’s devices. It is important to highlight this breadth, or the A to Z of devices that businesses can remote control, so they understand the key benefits of an end-to-end MDM. These advantages include:
Eliminating silos – “Silos” are a pejorative term for teams, departments, or business units that do not communicate with one another. If silos are bad with human capital, they are even worse with physical assets. An organization’s devices should not operate as silos in the field, relaying little-to-no useful information back to IT teams. Sadly, this is commonly the case with many company-issued devices. While they serve as digital touchpoints, they are veritable silos of valuable information. The right MDM can unlock this value for your organization.
Reducing operational complexity – Because remote devices are tantamount to silos, managing them is a complex affair. Some might require the deployment of in-person staff to troubleshoot or repair. Another might require a proprietary software system to access, one which IT teams must go through the trouble of learning. Still another may require an extensive combination of both in-person and digital channels to interface with. An MDM can reduce this operational complexity by centralizing the management of all an organization’s devices to a single hub.
Enhancing data stewardship – When devices operate as silos, and each has a different means of management, it is difficult to keep track of who has access to what. This is a recipe for chaos. Within an organization, there should be clearly defined levels of admin and user access for each device.
Through an MDM, a business can set these permissions. These can be set in bulk and fine-tuned on a case-by-case basis. This ensures that staff only have access to devices on an as-needed basis, keeping company and user data private and secure. Data integrity is further enhanced by features like black screen mode, which enables IT teams to cover what they are working on when they remote control a device, should they elect to do so for a particular fix.
A (near) alphabet of devices that can be remote controlled
What follows is an alphabetically-ordered selection of the many devices that can be remote controlled through an MDM like AirDroid Business. This list is meant to showcase some of the use cases where an MDM would provide substantial value to an organization.
Since any custom device can be remote controlled so long as it is running on Android, this list is by nature incomplete: An organization can use an MDM for any of the proprietary hardware in its ecosystem. Some tech teams may even elect to build hardware products on Android from the start, so they can more easily fall within the purview of an MDM.
Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)
Not all ATMs are the hulking machines of the past. There are smaller digital units that are powered by Android. While a business will always need to deploy engineers to replenish an ATM with cash, an MDM can reduce the unscheduled maintenance of the machine. Rather than send an engineer to troubleshoot an ATM in person, the IT team will be able to diagnose and fix the machine entirely remotely.
With an MDM, a business can remotely access cameras from anywhere, freeing them from the need to be in a control room or security office. These may be stand-alone cameras, or cameras on a device, such as a kiosk. This oversight enables businesses to quickly fix real-world problems. Perhaps there is an overlooked spill on the store floor, an unattended customer at the counter, or a suspicious person loitering outside the business. Through remote control, the business gains real-world agility and responsiveness.
More and more of a brand’s signages are transitioning from print to digital. These signages are susceptible to a range of problems, including graphical glitches, outdated information, and even sabotage or hacking. Since brands do not have real-time access to these signages, they may take a long time to identify these problems and an even longer time to fix them. With an MDM, a business can fix any issue immediately, mitigating any reputational damage to the brand.
When a customer walks up to a kiosk, he comes in search of an answer. When he cannot get the information he needs due to an error or glitch, the person has a bad customer experience, one he will associate with the brand furnishing the kiosk. An MDM can prevent this situation from occurring. Through remote control, IT teams can spot and correct any informational or interactivity problems happening with a kiosk before customers do. That way, the kiosk will remain in good working order, so that it can dutifully serve as an information clearinghouse for a brand’s customers.
As this is the classic use case of MDMs, it bears repeating here. The right MDM will offer features that address growing issues, such as overemployment and quiet quitting. An MDM should be able to detect both of these unfortunate trends. If the device cellular data usage is unusually high, it may be a sign that an employee is using a company-issued device to freelance or even work full-time for another company. If app cellular data usage is unusually high, it may be a sign that the employee is shirking. Either issue can be validated with remote access, ensuring organizations only retain team members fully engaged with the organization.
Any technical issue with a POS device creates a literal bottleneck: There will be a confused cashier standing before a growing line of increasingly irate customers. Because POS devices are such a key touchpoint between a business and its customers, businesses cannot always rely on engineers going on-site to fix issues. In the time it takes for them to arrive, those customers may have very well walked out the door. An MDM allows IT teams to quickly resolve any issues with their POS devices, so that checking out from their business remains a breeze.
In business settings, smart TVs are most commonly deployed across the office, such as in a lobby or conference room. The audience for these displays is varied, ranging from employees to customers, and so is the content, ranging from static slideshows to audio-visual presentations. Since the same issues that plague digital signages can also befall smart TVs, the remote control function of an MDM is important.
Employees will not always report issues. Some employees who spot issues with a smart TV will be too busy, others may feel it is not their responsibility, and still others may not even know who to turn to. The onus is on IT teams to monitor and fix any problems, so that the image of the business as a digitally-savvy brand is upheld.
Because tablets are smaller devices often used on-the-go for demos or presentations, they may be prone to theft. They may be stolen by rogue employees or professional thieves. An MDM can help prevent such occurrences through the implementation of a geofence. If a tablet leaves a designated geofence, an alert can be automatically sent to staff, who can then take appropriate action. This is how the best MDMs operate: their remote control encompasses more than just digital troubleshooting, but the actual security of the device.
The last item on this list may also be one of the most surprising. Because vending machines are increasingly smart devices, many run on Android. Unfortunately, a glitchy vending machine can result in an even worse customer experience than a faulty POS device. Unlike a POS device, where a cashier is nearby, a vending machine is always unmanned. If a customer cannot retrieve a purchased drink or snack due to some error, he has little if any recourse. It is imperative for businesses to fix any issues with a vending machine through the remote control of an MDM, so that all customers can be figuratively and literally satiated.
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As is evident from these examples, the breadth of devices that can be remote controlled via an MDM is extraordinary. Businesses gain numerous benefits by putting their hardware ecosystem under the banner of an MDM. Some of these advantages are specific to the device type, but the most important are those that are universal: Businesses simplify operations by centralizing device management into a single hub, enhance responsiveness to both digital and real world problems, and most crucial of all, ensure proper data stewardship is maintained across the organization.