Single-purpose devices have always had an exponential level of demand in an enterprise. These are specialized devices catering to a specific need in the organization. With the mobile devices finding an extended level of patronage in enterprise, using mobile devices as cost-effective single-purpose devices are on the rise. However, there are certain problems with this setup.
Firstly, mobile devices aren’t specialized devices and thus, cannot be easily used as purpose-built devices. Locking the device to a particular app or ensuring users do not modify settings are some of the most common problems one can encounter while trying to provision mobile devices as Kiosk devices.
To overcome this, mobile device management solutions act as Kiosk software, to let organizations utilize mobile device as single-purpose devices.
MDM’s Kiosk Mode (also referred to as App Lock) lets you deploy either a single app or set of apps under Kiosk Mode , locking it to the device. In such a scenario, the users navigate out of the app, in case of single app Kiosk Mode or navigate only between Kiosk apps, in case of multi-app Kiosk Mode. As users cannot access beyond apps, there is no option of users modifying pre-defined settings.
Here are some of the features supported by MDM’s Kiosk Mode:
Be it pre-installed apps or Store apps or in-house apps, you can deploy them all in a few clicks. As stated previously, you can provision either a single app or a set of apps under Kiosk Mode. In case the app isn’t already on the device, you needn’t install the app on the device. Instead, just add these apps to the App Repository and provision it in Kiosk Mode. Once the policy is provisioned to the devices and the app can be installed either silently or by the users irrespective of whether the respective app stores can be accessed or not.
In an organization, not all devices are going to be used for a single purpose such as POS, digital signage etc. In such a case, you need to deploy it to a certain number of devices. With MDM, you can cluster these devices into groups and easily deploy policies to these specific devices.
A lot of organizations are still transitioning into mobile-first workforce and thus, they still use a lot of web apps/services. Provisioning these under Kiosk Mode might be a problem as web apps can be accessed only using browsers. However, browsers are difficult to manage and can possibly lead to loss of productivity or security breaches. MDM lets you provision these apps as Web Shortcuts first. Web Shortcuts, look similar to apps but the advantage here is that Web Shortcuts lets you limit browser functionalities, whereby users cannot navigate out of the web app or use any of the browser’s basic functionalities. Once added as Web Shortcuts, you can provision these Web Shortcuts under Kiosk Mode.
Further MDM also integrates with Zoho Creator, a low code application development software, which further makes creation and distribution of web apps easy.
In a lot of cases, Kiosk-provisioned devices might be used for digital signage i.e playing short videos on loop, image slideshow etc. In such a case, MDM lets you gain granular control by ensuring you can disable physical buttons such as home button, volume rockers etc, and/or restricting basic device functionalities such as the touch capability, displaying status bar etc.
Updates to apps can sometimes result in breakage in functionalities due to various reasons such as device incompatibility, OS incompatibility. So, it becomes imperative to use these apps in a test environment before deploying it in the production environment, more so in case of Kiosk apps, as these are apps that usually interact a lot with customers (self-service apps) and hence, any issues might lead to loss of productivity. This problem gets amplified in case of in-house Kiosk apps which might not go through extensive rounds of testing, unlike publicly available apps. Thus, MDM lets you distribute the latest versions of Kiosk Mode to specific devices (or groups) and use them as a testbed. Once the app functions fine both normally and within Kiosk Mode, you can then deploy it to the production environment.
Having tested the apps, the next is to update them. But in most cases, Store might not be one of the Kiosk-provisioned apps, making it impossible for the device user to update the app. With MDM, you can silently provision app updates ensuring IT admins have the option of updating the apps during non-work hours, avoiding loss of productivity.
Similar to app updates, you wouldn’t want the device users to update the OS in an ad-hoc manner, as it can lead to bandwidth choking, the latest OS version might be unstable, the Kiosk apps might be unstable with the newer OS version. MDM lets you automate and schedule OS updates, whereby you can control when the device needs to be updated. Once this policy is configured, all subsequent OS updates happen based on the policy associated.
In case of Kiosk devices that are with field workers or in case the device is used for self-service, troubleshooting these issues can be easily done by remotely controlling the device or viewing the device screen. It also supports unattended remote access as well. Further, in case of Kiosk-provisioned devices, you can also execute remote chat commands which lets you execute a lot of commands including temporarily pausing Kiosk Mode. Once you've paused Kiosk Mode, you can troubleshoot the issue and put the device back into Kiosk Mode. In addition to pausing Kiosk Mode by remote chat, there are other ways to pause Kiosk Mode as well.
With MDM you have the option of viewing basic device data right in the console with support for Asset Management. However, in case of physical audit, you need to temporarily pause Kiosk Mode to get the data. In such a scenario, you can use Asset Tagging to show the basic device details on the lock screen, thereby ensuring there is no need to disable Kiosk Mode to view device information.
Having disabled all device functionalities, there are cases whereby the device users need to access the settings app to modify basic settings such as Wi-Fi, orientation etc. However, allowing access to Settings might leads to users deprovisioning Kiosk Mode. As a workaround, MDM provides a custom app, which lets you configure basic settings such as Wi-Fi, flashlight, orientation etc. This allows device users to modify basic device settings without actually having access to settings app.