Today's Apple product intro is now available online. In case you haven't heard, they announced the iPhone 4S, available on October 14. There are some nifty features in the iPhone 4S for business users. I'll have more tomorrow, but my short list is:
- Siri for a 24-hour personal assistant that won't break up your marriage
- Long battery life
- Quicker download speeds without the 4G downsides
- AirPlay -- fantastic for wireless presentations
- GSM+CDMA go-anywhere world phone
- Quicker dual-core A5 processor for background VPN and innovative apps
What did you think?
We're happy to announce the re-release our popular Comparison of MDM Providers'. While the original comparison was built by an HTML table, the new page sits atop a wiki-enabled database. This allows MDM providers and users to modify and improve the data on each provider.
We've also added several MDM solutions: Apple, MaaS360, and SOTI.
If you're favorite MDM provide is missing from this list, we encourage you to add them yourself using a simple form. We hope you find this change useful.
Thank you to everyone who attended our hugely successful panel discussion "Your Business, Your App," organized by Tekserve, New York's largest independent Apple consultancy and retailer. We had time for only a few questions from the audience. To address this, we've created this forum thread so we can continue the discussion online. Our panelists will try to respond to any question posted here.
In addition, we are pleased to bring you a video of the entire event. We hope you can add your questions and comments below.
This Friday, September 30, I have the honor of being a part of a distinguished panel discussion titled "Your Business, Your App." Members of the Enterprise iOS community are invited to register for this special event.
The luncheon and panel will be at Ogilvy, 636 11th Avenue, between 46th And 47th Streets, in New York City. The panel includes:
- Joe Zeff of Joe Zeff Design, creative studio that helps companies merge content, technology and business opportunities through iPad apps. Their specialty is consumer engagement, leveraging the power of storytelling to help publishers, corporations and agencies forge deeper relationships with their audiences.
- Jason Richelson of ShopKeep.com, a cloud-based point-of-sale service that allows small retail businesses to replace their cash registers with iPads and ring up customers, collect sales tax, print receipts, accept credit cards and manage inventory and customers.
- Jamie Manalio of Rust Labs, dedicated to exploring new technologies for custom hardware and A/V installations, creating custom interactive presentations for private and public events, programming applications for smart phones.
- Joseph Wachs of [x]cube LABS, a specialty mobile app development firm offering end-to-end solutions across a wide range of mobile applications; from games to enterprise apps, across all major mobile platforms, including iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android, as well as the iPad.
- Irven Cassio of Luxottica Group, a retail technologist - with a focus on convergence, multichannel integration, social media, fashion, design and marketing.
The event is being sponsored by my employer, Tekserve, New York's largest independent Apple consultancy and retailer.
Update: We've posted a video and some Q&A of the event on this site.
The eBook "Managing iOS Devices with Lion Server" is now available on the iBooks store and the Kindle store, and soon on peachpit.com.
The $4.99 ($3.99 for Kindle) is a steal considering the weeks I put into preparing this. I really hope you find it useful.
I also wrote the official description below, and I think it captures it perfectly; there's not much about using Profiles for managing Macs other than remotely locking and wiping them (which is vey cool). It really is all about managing iOS devices.
Learn how to use Profile Manager, a feature included in OS X Lion Server, to configure and remotely manage iOS devices (including iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch) and Macs running Lion. With this eBook, you will learn how to use Profile Manager's web-based tools to configure user settings for services such as Mail, Calendar, VPN, and Wi-Fi; define passcode settings to prevent unauthorized access to data stored on your users' devices; and remotely wipe devices if they go missing. The Profile Manager uses the Apple Push Notification Service (APNS), so you can immediately push configuration changes to your devices, as long as they have some kind of network connectivity. Why do all the work yourself? Show your users how easy it is for them to use the self-service web portal to download and install the configuration profiles you've carefully crafted for them, and how to remotely lock or wipe their own devices without your intervention. This eBook includes the knowledge you need to configure your Lion Server to be an Open Directory master, use an appropriate SSL certificate, provide Profile Manager services, and perform basic troubleshooting.
It's 339 pages on my iPhone 4.
Apple today introduced its Volume Purchase Program for Business Apps. The program, available "soon," answers a simple question that has had no satisfactory answer: How does a company buy apps for its users?
- Businesses must have a Dun & Bradstreet number to participate, and go through a validation process.
- Admins will be asked to create a new Apple ID for exclusive use with the Business VPP.
- There are no minimum or maximum quantities for purchase.
- Only paid apps are available through VPP. Free apps should be downloaded by the device user.
- Payment must be made via corporate credit card or PayPal. (There seems to be no mechanism for purchase orders at this time.)
The program seems to follow the contours of the Education VPP system, introduced last year. The enrollment process, which is not yet online, is outlined in a PDF. Here's what they say about distribution:
Distributing apps purchased through the Volume Purchase Program is easy. For each app you purchase you’ll receive a redemption code to authorize the app download. The program website delivers these redemption codes in a spreadsheet format that contains multiple codes, one for each app in the quantity purchased. Each time a code is redeemed, the spreadsheet is updated on the program website so you can track the number of codes that have been redeemed by your users. The spreadsheet also includes a redemption URL with the redemption code embedded in the link so users don’t have to type or enter the redemption code manually when downloading apps.
Apple suggests that you email these URLs to each user, but I'd rather poke my eye with a stick. Alternatively, expect your MDM Provider to allow for VPP Integration. Casper Suite and Absolute Manage MDM already has this feature, and I hope others quickly jump on board.
So the user clicks on the link, they visit the Apple store, "purchase" the app, and the redemption code is used in lieu of payment. Then the app downloads and installs.
Read the documentation closely, and you'll find a second new initiative: Apple is releasing private app distribution for businesses. The idea here is to combine custom app development but use VPP for distribution, creating a new market strategy for enterprise-focused developers. (And Apple will happily take its 30% cut for the service.) Sound interesting?
Any outstanding questions? Do you like the plan? Please add your comments below.
I'm very happy to announce that Zenprise has added their data to our Comparison of MDM Providers. We are now at 800 boxes with / ticks.
As this feature has grown, we've seeing some areas where we can improve the chart. Please visit MDM Comparison 2.0 Beta to see where we are going, and contribute your suggestions.
Has your company built a great app? But you don't want it on the app store? In-house App Deployment is for you. There are two ways to go:
Several companies make a living building private app catalogs for businesses (like this mobile application development company). These sites typically require an enterprise subscription to Apple's iOS Developer Program.
Do It Yourself
(I haven't done all these steps myself. Hopefully some of you can fill in whatever gaps exist.)
Once you have established your iOS Developer Enterprise Program, everything you need to know is listed under the Provisioning Portal.
The rough steps for in-house app distribution are:
- Identify internal development resources
- Establish a cross-functional team to establish security, design & look and feel guidelines
- Download Xcode from AppStore or via free iOS Developer Program
- Build an app in Xcode
- Sign up for the iOS Enterprise Developer Program (not the standard program)
iOS Developer Enterprise Program
Requires DUNS number
Enrolling employee must have binding authority to enter into contracts
This employee becomes the Team Agent
Legal contact at your company to verify enrolling employee & their binding authority
Budget 10 - 15 business days for enrollment
From Apple's iOS Provisioning Portal
- Create App ID (performed by Team Agent)
- Register development devices (Team Agent)
- Create Development Provisioning Profile (Team Agent)
- Create Developer code signing Certificate
- Add Provisioning Profile & Developer Certificate in Xcode
Note that with iOS 4, provisioning profiles are read only at boot. So here is what will happen: MDM will install both profile and app, but then the app will seem to disappear. The system is simply hiding the app because it is not aware of the provisioning profile. Just reboot the device to have the app function.
EoIS member Haruhiko Nishi has released a prototype system for managing iOS devices as Open Source. The code works through an ActiveSync connection to your device, which can manage some restrictions and policies. There's a bit of discussion in our forum about this already.
The demo is quite interesting. See our forums for the URL. Thanks, Hanishi!
A huge THANK YOU to mobilEcho and all the attendees at last night's meetup shindig. The entire industry was represented: education, enterprise, developers, MDM, MAM, MFM, and your MOM. And as you can see from the photo above, even the bartender got into the spirit.
Let's do this again next year, shall we?
(Photo by Arek Dreyer. Thanks Arek!)
Yesterday's announcements bring up several questions regarding enterprise use of iOS 5.
- Can enterprises pre-load configurations and certificates to allow "PC Free" deployments?
- Do Over-The-Air software updates depend on iCloud for data backup and restore?
- User cy2k asks: What, if any, changes are there to MDM and mobileconfig.
- Can iCloud be disabled or restricted using MDM?
- Who holds the private keys to the iCloud?
- Can there be "private" iClouds for sensitive information?
- Is there the ability to record an iMessage conversation?
Add your thoughts and further questions below.
(A reminder about this site's policy: We aim to bring together all players in this community and therefore will not publish information covered by non-disclosure agreements. But we'll try to compile the best information available publicly.)
iCloud is Apple's announced cloud service.
In addition to Address Book, calendar, mail, iBooks, music, and photos, iCloud supports a number of innovative features.
Just looking at the WWDC Keynote, iCloud appears to be the file system that's been missing from iOS since the beginning. Files are sync'd wirelessly and in the background to all devices. (Sounds like Dropbox.)
IT appears Apps needs to be updated to work with iCloud, using iCloud storage APIs. Works on all iOS devices, and Macs and PCs too.
No word on security yet, or on enterprise sharing features. (Likely this is consumer-only at the beginning.)
5 GB base storage for mail and documents (does not count purchased music, apps, or books). More storage is probably available at an additional fee.
iCloud is in Beta now, shipping with iOS 5 this fall.
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Comparison of MDM Providers
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