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What is Enterprise Management software?

Is EM a complete solution to managing your customer experience on Android IoT?

Android as an IoT platform

The huge success - and relative openness - of Android makes it an interesting possible platform for IoT devices which:

  • Need a screen
  • Can be mains-powered

A decent-quality Android tablet can be bought for sub $200 and there are free apps which will lock it into "kiosk" mode so it runs just your target application from boot. But recognise that by doing this you're definitely taking-on responsibility for managing it, so you'll probably want to be able to perform management activities like:

  1. Managing the device estate (change permissions, upgrade the OS, upgrade the apps) - ideally en-masse
  2. Remote-access individual devices to debug and fix them

A generic term for being able to do these things is Enterprise Management. The world of Enterprise Management has moved on from the PC to also encompass Android, and so solutions for doing the above exist. Here's an official Android take on the subject, and there are plenty of third-party solutions such as this.

Necessary but not sufficient

So Enterprise Management software is necessary. But is it sufficient to deliver a good experience to your users? Sure it can take care of managing the device technology, but it doesn't really manage the delivery of your application, and with it your customer experience.

For example, if you were using Android devices to control the door-locks in offices, then you probably need a way to see whether they are actually delivering this benefit effectively with good uptime (how many times are they used? in which locations? which are offline? how often?). These metrics are important not just for customer service, but also to support your sales activities. This is more the role of DevicePilot, which is complementary to EM. If customer experience is important to you then some of the key metrics you might like to consider measuring are covered in this blog post.

Final note: Since many IoT devices are deployed in places where bad actors can gain physical access, if you're using cellular as your backhaul then look into locking your SIM cards too, to stop someone racking-up huge bills by prising them out of your device.