Start planning now to drive efficiencies and streamline business operations with iOS 11

Apple offered a sneak peek at the upcoming iOS 11 operating system at its recent annual developer conference.  Apple has exciting things in store with the new system, which will be available publicly in September. For business users, iOS 11 comes with a slew of iPad and iPhone upgrades that can help boost productivity and efficiency. Some of the most notable features for enterprises include:

  • Driving notifications. Among other improvements, users will have the ability to block incoming messages automatically while driving. Instead of looking at third-party solutions, businesses with fleets of drivers or field services can use the new operating system to prevent work-and-drive scenarios much more easily and substantially lower their risks. Start to consider mobile device management services now to support these capabilities, if you haven’t already.
  • New augmented reality tools. Users will have access to visual cues, such as exactly where a box should be placed on a shelf, streamlining picking and other business operations. Some retailers, such as Ikea, have already announced support for this for their consumer applications.
  • Completely refreshed control center. The update includes a more flexible control center and drag-and-drop capabilities for more efficient multitasking. In addition, the Dock from Mac is now available on phones and tablets, putting your most-used apps at your fingertips through machine learning.
  • iCloud conversation syncing. Messages deleted on one device will be deleted across all devices as conversations will automatically be synchronized with iCloud.
  • Personal assistant improvements. Systems integration makes personal assistant Siri more intelligent and capable. For example, Siri can access the user’s calendar and provide suggested responses to questions. The update also offers translations in Chinese, French, German, Italian and English.
  • Introduction of Business Chat. Companies can communicate directly with their customers through this new capability in Messages.
  • DEP for everyone. Businesses can now add any device manually to the Device Enrollment Program.

Get ready to go to 11

If your business devices run on iOS, upgrading to iOS 11 comes with a number of considerations. Older devices may not be eligible to upgrade, and users may also need to update business applications or mobile device management solutions to be compatible with the new operating system.

The iOS 11 beta is already available for developers, so businesses can download it onto non-production devices now to start testing. It’s especially important to test business-critical applications from third-party vendors before the release goes live. Beta access is available through the Apple Developer Program or the enterprise version, which enables you to distribute proprietary iOS apps to your employees. To provide feedback directly to Apple on the upcoming release, enterprises can also apply to the invite-only AppleSeed for IT program.

For personal testing, the general public has access to the public beta release cycle through https://beta.apple.com, which provides a very simple step-by-step process to install the beta on any Apple device.

Your rollout checklist 

To ensure a smooth rollout as you migrate to iOS 11:

  • Prioritize your apps. Determine which ones to test first and coordinate with third-party developers to identify bugs sooner rather than later. iOS 11 will also be the first iOS operating system to only support 64-bit applications.
  • Test your IT systems. Make sure everything is compatible with the new operating system before you go live.
  • Plan ahead for new features. Will your business take advantage of driving notifications? Augmented reality? Start thinking now about how to incorporate them into your workflow.
  • Prepare your employees. Let workers know what prompts they can expect on their devices, new features they’ll be using and other need-to-know information. If you have a help desk, ensure that workers have been part of the testing and know what to do.
  • Think about upcoming initiatives. If you’re planning to invest in new devices this fall, remember that some distributors may still offer iPhones and iPads with older operating systems. Apple will most likely again prohibit users from reverting to older operating systems after the September release, so there is no way back if an employee upgrades accidentally. Likewise, any new devices you purchase (such as the rumored iPhone 8) will probably come with the latest iOS 11.

 A unified approach

Thoughtful planning and testing before iOS 11 goes live is essential to a seamless transition. A managed mobility services provider can help you ensure your devices, operating systems and applications work together seamlessly, and provide ongoing support to overcome any difficulties with availability of iOS 11. By taking the right steps now, you can take advantage of new operating system features to improve business productivity and customer satisfaction.

By Marco Nielsen

Vice President, Managed Mobility Services

IoT and Mobility: Who is Managing the Disruption?

IoT and Mobility: Who is Managing the Disruption? 

By: Heather Standrod, Director of Marketing 

In a recent post I discussed how the Internet of Things (IoT) and enterprise mobility are digital disruptors. A new influx of multiple smart IoT and mobile device types are operating in managed ecosystems to gather data at any point of activity and feed line-of-business information to mission-critical applications.

Although the disciplines of managing mobility and IoT have similarities, many businesses don’t have the time or resources to manage the rapid pace of technological change or the volume and velocity of devices. To seize the opportunities mobility and IoT offer, organizations often turn to managed mobile service (MMS) providers for help.

Mobility and IoT share a common premise: using real-time operational data to deliver actionable insights that drive smarter decisions. Retailers, for example, can employ a variety of sensors, cameras and smart devices to learn more about the buying habits of customers and to improve the buying experience.

While managing IoT definitely adds new layers of complexity to managing mobility, both technologies also share a common foundation from an operational perspective. Both involve gathering data from endpoints and communicating the data, often to distant parts of the business. IoT and mobility both require strategic planning, hardware selection, provisioning, deployment, and ongoing device management.

Management challenges, however, extend beyond deploying devices and managing their lifecycle. Exploiting their business value becomes a more difficult challenge logistically when IoT is added to the mobility landscape.

Consider the sheer scale involved, as IoT may put many thousands of new devices (and new types of devices) under management. Most will require WiFi or wired Internet access and IP addresses.

In addition, IoT and mobility both require the enterprise to support applications while dealing with a lack of standards, multiple vendors, and multiple technology platforms. Then there are the additional challenges of gaining user acceptance, optimizing connectivity, minimizing security risks, and controlling costs.

And finally, all decisions must take the future impact or return on investment into account. With rapid evolving technologies, many devices will have short lifespans.  Other device types may have great potential several years from now, but are premature today.

How can an enterprise effectively work through these new complexities—and still focus on innovation and revenue growth? Many organizations are already using MMS providers to implement, manage and optimize their mobility strategies.  The same approaches can be adapted for IoT.

Leading MMS providers—especially those with a wide range of services and deep partner networks—can help.  Some may be able to give a top-to-bottom blueprint for success, from enterprise goals to the tactics needed to support user requirements at each level of the organization.

The best approaches for optimizing mobility initiatives are evolving as technology changes. Yes, IoT adds new layers of complexity.  Recognize, however, that endpoint devices are no longer the disruptive force they once were. Mobility has matured, and so will IoT.  Now the real disruptive force—with the highest potential payoff—is optimizing devices into a much bigger picture: accelerating enterprise innovation.

For more insights into this topic, read the Stratix brief, Managed Mobile Services: How IoT Will Change Mobility Management.