Wavelink Blog

Tag: smartphone management

How to Score a Winning Touchdown for your BYOD Policy

It’s a final nod to American football references from me (at least until the draft in May), but consider the requirements of an enterprise mobility policy: there are a lot of parts that need to be considered to make a deployment successful, similar to a championship winning team. When the strategy is thorough and the numerous “what-if” scenarios are played out, success is far more likely than for a team that doesn’t plan.

BYOD, like any other component of an enterprise IT strategy, needs to be strategically implemented for the best results. Just as no individual player on a team is greater than the team, BYOD should not be viewed individually; so as not to exclude other mobility initiatives across the enterprise.

To continue the “BYOD as an athlete” analogy, BYOD needs to be a versatile, balanced policy. This means that it needs to support all the leading mobile operating systems equally (or at least as equally as Google, Apple, and Microsoft allow). It needs to enable the mobile worker to be optimally productive – regardless of their hardware selection.

However, as a component of a larger enterprise mobility strategy, BYOD needs to be deployed in a manner that unifies it with the requirements of complementary mobility components – like teammates. For example, managing BYOD should be unified with the solution for managing other mobility hardware deployed within the company – such as rugged mobile devices used at the loading dock, in the warehouse, etc. Why would an enterprise want a different console for managing BYOD? A separate management system specific to BYOD creates the kind of friction synonymous with a self-interested player on the football team – disruption, confusion, and complexity, as IT administrators need to toggle screens and systems just for BYOD users.

The big play that scores points with IT administrators and mobile users is to deploy BYOD policies in a common enterprise mobility management solution like Wavelink Avalanche.  Doing so enables enterprises to unify the management of all their mobile deployments. It enables BYOD support without compromising the support that mission critical mobility users need. Want to throw the winning touchdown? Using Wavelink Avalanche also allows for management of the entire enterprise deployment – all enterprise mobile devices (BYOD, rugged mobile computers, etc.), mobile applications and content access, network infrastructure, and printers. That’s a game plan that will enable maximum worker productivity, and maybe earn you a ride on the shoulders of your fellow IT administrators and mobility users.

Mobile POS Systems: The Value of Consumer Devices

If you’ve gone shopping anywhere in the last year or so, you may have noticed the iPads, iPhones and even a few Androids that are increasingly being used as cash registers. While the trend is perhaps most noticeable in mom-and-pop stores (if you’ve been any non-Starbucks coffee shop in the last six months, you know what I mean), it’s certainly not limited to that. Department stores and major retailers are making the switch as well.

In fact, research group IHL recently released a study examining the projected growth of mobile POS systems. The firm found that by 2017, over 3.6 million tablets will have been shipped to retail and hospitality companies in North America alone, projecting that these shipments will result in some fundamental changes in many of these companies. The group also projects that shipments of non-rugged small format handhelds for mobile POS systems will increase 380% from 2013 to 2017. At the same time, overall POS shipments will be reduced by 12% in 2016, and in some segments, may be reduced by as much as 20% from previously forecast volumes. Those are some pretty striking numbers and it’s easy to see that mobile POS systems will have a large and far-reaching impact on the service industry.

For a start-up company, the appeal is easy to see. They can skip the investment of a traditional cash register and POS system and can instead purchase or repurpose an iPhone or iPad and use a cost-effective system like Square.

But what about for an established company? They’ve already invested in cash registers, credit card machines, and all the other bells and whistles that come with a traditional POS system. What’s the appeal?

Well, for one thing, it means your workforce is more mobile. Workers are no longer tied to the cash register. They are free to move around the store helping customers, restocking inventory and tidying the store floor. And while they do these things, each employee is a walking sales opportunity. Since each employee working effectively becomes a cash register, check out times are no longer limited by the number of cash registers available, but by the number of employees. This can speed up check out times for customers. And of course, it does give your company a bit of sleek modernity to be able to check out customers from anywhere in the store at the drop of a hat.

One cautionary note, however, is security. Most of these systems have security features built into them to ensure consumer PII and credit card information isn’t stored locally. Be sure you’re careful reviewing those features. It also wouldn’t go amiss to look into MDM software. Chances are, if you use ruggedized mobile devices in your back room or warehouse, your organization is already using MDM. While we tend to think of it as closely related to BYOD, mobile device management policies and technology protect corporate-owned devices as well.

Why Small Businesses Should Still Care About MDM

It started with a simple $5 wristband in November 2011; Let’s Create Jobs for USA was founded with a $5 million contribution from Starbucks and a promise to create jobs for the American people. I vividly remember purchasing my wristband when they went on sale (ironically I was in the company’s hometown of Seattle). As someone who lives in a state that’s seen substantial unemployment, I was eager to play a small part in launching the movement.

As part of my weekly Starbucks visits (I won’t admit to a daily addiction), I recently noticed that they’ve taken this movement one step further by assisting small businesses on the technology payment front through a payment processing option called Square Mobile Card Readers.

Available in every company operated Starbucks store in the United States, “Square’s Mobile Card Reader with the free app, Square Register, enables anyone to easily accept credit cards so individuals and business can connect with customersSquare Card Reader anywhere their business takes them.” This simple tech attaches to an iOS or Android device and enables any size business to accept credit and debit cards. According to Starbucks roughly two-thirds of the 27 million small businesses in the United States do not currently accept credit or debit payment due to expensive processing fees and extensive applications. Think of the potential this small mobile card reader can bring to a small business and talk about a low investment – these card readers cost only $10 and come with a $10 rebate!

Say what you will about fancy and expensive coffees, but this is a highly effective tool that allows small businesses to generate new ways for income. Having said that, I won’t lie that my second thought was PCI compliance and keeping those devices secure. Any mobile device, be it rugged or consumer, has the capability to suffer a security breach. Add additional devices to your network and you further increase the importance of keeping them not only secure but maintaining peak performance. A Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution therefore still provides substantial value to any business whether you have two or three devices or two or three thousand devices.

For small business owners, a MDM solution that you manage in the Cloud is a perfect way to ensure devices are not only secure, but configured and managed from an easy-to-use console and without the need to purchase servers or an entire IT department. With MDM you also get the capability to lock down these consumer devices if they go missing and immediately protect them by securing and wiping confidential data. You even have the power to detect foreign devices entering your network and define specific parameters that your device(s) can be utilized in.

In closing, while we look at new ways to add jobs let’s not forget the critical nature of protecting the devices that come with them.

The POS Can Be A Pain In The… To Manage

It used to be that to buy something the consumer would just walk up to the cashier to get the items scanned and then pay. With the rise of mobile it’s becoming more common for the cashier to be roaming the store in search of a customer ready to check out all in the name of streamlining the customer’s experience.

Last holiday season Urban Outfitters used more than 300 iPod Touch devices as point-of-sale (POS) systems, and anticipates in the future that 80 percent of Urban Outfitter staffers will carry them to help with transactions.

While the emergence of mobile devices as POS systems creates convenience for shoppers and employees as well as less costs going into cash register acquisitions, it spells a problem in the form of managing the devices.

Earlier this year, beauty product retailer Sephora followed Apple’s lead by ditching its traditional POSes in favor of iPod Touches. With a list of retailers implementing pilots in an effort to reduce customer wait times the worry is if those devices need to be managed, and how is that going to be done?

The trend of mobile devices replacing cash registers isn’t going to slow down anytime soon, especially if you believe Square’s report of their volume last year. Mobile Payments Today published an infographic (also posted below) centered on mobile payments and stated that a mobile device as a credit card processor as one of the second-most hyped forms of mobile payments.

Companies need to make sure a policy is in place to manage all these devices and a central location to wipe them if they turn up missing.

The most important mobile payment infographic. Ever.

The most important mobile payment infographic. Ever.

Compliments of MobilePaymentsToday.com

A Few, Quick BYOD Considerations

Every time you turn around someone is talking about B.Y.O.D. As the current craze, it seems like it’s all anyone in IT can talk about. 

Still in its infancy the B.Y.O.D concept has a lot of companies and influencers “land grabbing” to be the leader in providing a solution that solves the inherent risks when you allow employee devices into the work place.  As we are in the MDM market we have our opinions on some of the top things IT managers need to consider from a management perspective.

One of the things companies need to know is simply what is on each phone that could cause a threat. This can be a bigger concern with Android more than iOS because Android phones are running different versions of its OS. With iOS, if there is a threat from an app then it will likely affect all iOS devices. With Android you need to narrow it down to the phone, OS and where they got the app.

Another consideration is email provisioning and policies, because a lot of security issues come from email. A lot of employees are just connecting to their company’s exchange server, but IT managers need to be proactive and know who is connecting so they can make sure the phone can be wiped if they leave or lose the smartphone/tablet.

Finally, companies should consider creating a policy or some strict requirements for B.Y.O.D. For example, IT should consider banning phones which have been jailbroken. Those phones can introduce more vulnerability into your network, and while it is the employee’s device, it’s still your network.

What considerations would you add? Post them in the comments below, or start a new discussion about this or any mobile ecosystem topic in our LinkedIn group.

How Seriously Are Your Employees Taking Smartphone Security?

A team member from our Seattle office shared this link about a recent study that might raise some eyebrows for any company utilizing smartphones. The first paragraph summarizes nicely;

Nearly 40 percent of smartphone users say they’re worried about security, including harmful apps, malicious emails and having their locations tracked and activities monitored. But 82 percent of them are not using security apps for their cellphones.

Let that sink in for a minute. Think about what corporate information is available on those phones. How many of your employee’s are using their smartphones to access work tasks, such as email? What would happen if that information ever got into the hands of someone it’s not supposed to?

It’s just another example of what IT professionals are dealing with these days, amidst the proliferation of mobile devices in the enterprise. Further, if you’re interested in the subject of smartphone management, check out our upcoming webinar that should prove pretty insightful on smartphone management, monitoring and securing.




Ok, by now we’ve all seen the news of Google’s acquisition of Motorola, and by now there have probably been several write-ups, blurbs, and  so forth. The deal certainly made for an interesting Monday morning, but as others have pointed out, one of the more interesting aspects of the deal is the patents Google gains with the purchase. As Silicon Valley Mercury News reported,

The deal also gives Google access to more than 17,000 patents held by Motorola, a pioneering cellphone maker that became an early partner using Google’s Android mobile operating system in 2008. Analysts said those patents could help Google stave off a barrage of claims levied by rivals battling the company’s Android mobile operating system.

[Google CEO Larry Page] acknowledged this strategy, saying in a blog post: “Our acquisition of Motorola will increase competition by strengthening Google’s patent portfolio, which will enable us to better protect Android from anticompetitive threats from Microsoft, Apple and other companies.”


On the enterprise mobility front, Motorola Mobility’s sister, Motorola Solutions, will remain a separate company. It will be interesting to see what Google does with the Mobility side once the acquisition is complete and how/if it changes the competitive landscape of the ever-growing smartphone/tablet world.

iPhone vs that old thing?

A humorous and short post today. I’m sure that many of us remember the days before iPhones, Androids, BlackBerry, etc. and Gizmodo has a pretty great contest between “John’s old phone” and an iPhone 4. Who do you think wins?

Have a great close to the week!