I'm writing this at the Jamf Nation User Conference, better known as JNUC. It is my second year at this conference and while Jamf's Apple-focused device management software has evolved and the 2000 participants are keen to learn about the latest best practices, at a high level, the conference is broadly the same as last year – for details , see "JNUC 2017: A Glimpse into the World of Apple Enterprise" (November 3, 2017). And again, to get complete disclosure, Jamf has sponsored TidBITS earlier, and the company invited me and other journalists to participate, pay for travel and accommodation.
More interesting than the coolness of Jamf Pro's work are the ways schools, companies and other organizations use to help activate large and innovative Apple-focused projects. For many of us, it's hard to look beyond individual use of Apple devices. So let's go back from the daily media competition and look at how technical professionals around the world use Apple devices as organizational tools for change for education, health care, hospitality and retail.
2 Education: Sewanhaka Central High School District  When he was in 8th grade in 2012, the son of Tristan announced that he needed a TI-83 graphics calculator for his algebra class. It was not cheap at around $ 110 and I was shocked to realize that it had been designed in 1996 and last updated in 2001. It was old technology to be sure but that was all that was approved for use on New York State standardized tests. And it could not be used to cheat as it could be possible on an iPhone or iPad equipped with a graphics calculator app.
So I was fascinated by JNUC to talk to Brian Messinger and Robert Pontecorvo, District Coordinators at Sewanhaka Central High School District on Long Island. Their district has five schools in very different communities, and they struggle with equity problems around the graphics calculators.
For students whose families could not afford the $ 110 calculator for a standardized test, the school would provide a lender calculator, but it was not something these students had access to throughout the year and put them at a major disadvantage to the test. And while $ 110 may not sound so much, one of Sewanhaka Centrale's schools released three calculators for the test, while another had to borrow 300. The test questions could have been standardized, but taking the test was anything but equality. At the same time, students in other richer districts used more modern calculators that were easier to use and had more capabilities. Even Sewanhaka Centrals wealthy students had a disadvantage compared to nearby schools.
So Messinger and Pontecorvo worked with the New York State Education Department to create a 1-to-1 program that would give iPads to 8200 students and 800 teachers. They are all equipped with the free GeoGebra graphics calculator app, which, as Pontecorvo said, "can do everything a regular calculator does, but better" thanks to the iOS direct manipulation interface, compared to using complicated key combinations for actions like zooming.
This system works for two reasons. First, the GeoGebra graphics calculator folder is approved for use in New York state-standardized tests. It's important because Pontecorvo said his teachers refused to consider previous iPad math apps because students would not be allowed to use them on tests. Second, with a Jamf Pro profile and workflow, the Sewanhaka Central IT department could lock all iPads to use only GeoGebra during testing. No one switched to Safari to do a Google search or to Messages to request help.
Of course, iPads are more expensive than calculating calculators, but not so much, and bringing them in for educational reasons was a smartly placed foot in the door. And now, with iPads across the student population, the district is standardization on Apple's Schoolwork and Classroom apps for class management, and teachers use GeoGebra and other programs to improve the instructions focusing on creativity instead of root learning.
I raised the question of keyboards, which Sewanhaka Central does not provide with its iPads. Pontecorvo said, "We have learned, and this was a change of mind for me that the keyboard is an adult problem, not a teenage problem." Apparently, the students are happier with shared keyboard and thumbs.
Higher Education: Ohio State University
Although it may seem counterintuitive, one of the most important drivers for the 1-to-1 iPad program that started this year at Ohio State University was cost savings. The Ohio State's Digital Flagship program issued 11,500 iPads to the incoming freshmen this year, and the university designated 42 cases of holiday classes as "iPad required" due to apps that the courses use. Each iPad also has a custom app that provides a course planner, grades, schedules and a list of student organizations, along with campus maps and bus routes. Unlike the Sewanhaka Central High School District, Ohio State has provided its students with iPad Pros equipped with cases, keyboards and Apple pencils, allowing students to end up with highly skilled systems that they want to keep when they upgrade.
So how is this saving money? Again, iPads are not exactly cheap, but their price tags seem quite reasonable compared to those of college textbooks-Ohio State students spend $ 61 million a year on textbooks and supplies. The University's Affordable Learning Exchange program finances and supports faculty members in replacing expensive textbooks with open educational resources available for free. According to Mike Hofherr, Ohio State CIO, the freshmen is reportedly saving $ 230 a year by not having to buy as many textbooks. So far, Ohio State has spared students about $ 3 million, and the university hopes to increase the savings to $ 10 million a year in 2020. There are many iPads.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the Digital Flagship initiative was its deployment. Imagine how much work it takes to deliver 11,500 fully-featured iPads to the incoming freshmen. The University IT department was prepping 250 iPads per day for 2 months straight, bagging all parts and registration of iPad in Jamf Pro management system. And with the distribution of the 11,500 iPads only 50 had some kind of problem out of the box, only 8 students did not want one and there were only 2 technical errors.
Health: University of California San Diego Health
I mentioned this program briefly last year's coverage and Marc Sylwestrzak, director of IS Experience and Development for UCSD Health Sciences, was back to provide an update. To collect, UCSD's Jacobs Medical Center delivers an iPad to all patients in the 245-room hospital and equips each room with an Apple TV. IPad provides access to patient health information, room controls via Crestron home automation and entertainment via Apple TV.
This is a completely different scenario from high school and college installations, since patients have iPads only while they & # 39; re checked in and any given iPad must be configured for any room and patient. Upon check-in, a patient is issued an iPad where Jamf Pro coordinates with the hospital's health information system to set it up for that patient and room. Patients can install a selection of apps without entering an Apple ID or password. Upon discharge, a Jamf system called Healthcare Listener automatically dries iPad to ensure patient privacy and make sure it is ready for the next person. (And yes, each of them has been cleaned with hospital cleaning wipes between patients to eliminate virus virus.)
Since its inception, this automatic drying system has been used over 32,000 times, saving about 1400 hours and $ 65,000 over manual cloths annual. More importantly, patients using the room controls on the iPad are almost three times more likely to interact with their health items, which makes for more informed patients.
This original project had been so popular in patients as UCSD Health Sciences has extended it to another 490 rooms in two other hospitals in recent months. The other major change was made possible by a couple of new apps: Jamf Setup and Jamf Reset. The automatic setup and drying system does not work for outpatient clinics, which do not check into a room. It also falls into situations like a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where more babies are in beds in a single room (and where baby patients do not yet use an iPad). For a NICU, Jamf Setup allows a nurse to take an iPad, tie it with a particular bed and patient with a few cranes, and give it to a family member visiting. When that person leaves for the day, they or a nurse may wipe the device manually (since the baby is not emptied) with some cranes using Jamf Reset.
UCSD Health Sciences also works to provide iPhones for employees using these apps, so a nurse or a member of the janitor can check out a device for shifts on a particular floor or department. It enables communication with the person who is in a particular role, regardless of who it is at any given time. (Previously, Android phones were used, but they had significant Wi-Fi issues.)
As much as this type of program is good, we'd rather avoid hospital visits altogether. Nevertheless, the inevitability of being in the hospital as a patient or family member triggered an interesting conversation with UCSD's Sylwestrzak about other uses for the iPads.
We first talked about using these iPads to make audio or video recordings of conversations with a terminally ill relative or bring the outside world through FaceTime. A Jamf employee at the table said he had lost his father a few years before, and only once he thought to pull out the phone and record the conversation, which is now one of the most precious items the family has. In addition, we have discussed the possibility that iPad offers planning resources, or even provide a chatbot to help someone start a difficult discussion, with some lessons from the La Crosse planning in Wisconsin. It is all about time in heaven, but it will require ubiquitous accessibility to such technology until patients come closer to reality.
Hospitality: Red Lion
On a lighter note, we can all wish to avoid the hospital, but most of us end up at hotels at some point. Each hotel room has a TV and a kind of entertainment system, but they are usually difficult to use. In addition, many people will be watching the show from their own Netflix account than channel fire at random.
In an attempt to modernize the hotel experience, the Red Lion chain of hotels is experimenting with installing Apple TVs (with custom remote controls) in all rooms in its Hotel RL brand. However, the project goes on and relates to an iOS app that allows travelers to check in remotely, open the door using iPhone instead of a key card, and communicate with hotel staff before (for room requests) and after (in case of forgotten things) their stay.
Apple TV runs a custom app that gives access to DirecTV for channel surfing, allows user to make room requests, replacing standard hotel books that document hotel features and provide tourist and dining venues. Red Lion uses Jamf Pro to customize the app for each hotel location and room and to configure Apple TV to standardize that app. It also automatically dries Apple TV when the guest checks out and sets it up for the next person.
The only thing the system does not yet, gives access to streaming video apps like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Some other hotels with newer smart TVs offer this and the problem is that login can be devilishly difficult. The problem is approval. It's hard enough to log in to any account on Apple TV because of the terrible onscreen keyboard, and it assumes you know your password. Red Lion tries to determine if there is a way to request and then transfer the authentication information with Jamf Pro and MDM setup.
Although the Red Lion system undoubtedly works better than average hotel layouts and has received positive customer feedback, Red Lion CIO John Edwards admitted that people still had trouble getting their heads around. The Apple TV interface can be easy, and the Red Lions custom app was well designed, but it is still assumed a level of comfort with digital interfaces that may not exist as wide as those of the technical world think. I would like to give the system a try.
The final case study for interesting uses of Apple devices run through Jamf Pro comes from Rituals, a fast-growing European cosmetics chain. Although there are only a handful of stores in the United States, Rituals operates 670 stores worldwide and opens two new stores per week. It's a crazy growth rate, but more interesting is how the company manages each store's technology needs.
Ritual stores are almost entirely from iOS devices. There is always an iPad for back office, which employees can use to maintain inventory, watch training videos, read emails, access shared files, and do other management tasks. For the front of the store, although rituals have a fixed cash register in the event of technical failures, most sales are completed by an employee who carries an iPod touch. They also use iPod touch for inventory, complete with a little gamification to get employees to build small amounts of product count every day, instead of spending an evening reviewing the entire store's inventory. Each store also receives an iPhone to contact the warehouse and for any tasks that may take place outside of the Wi-Fi area.
The use of iPod touch is worth noting. Joost van der Zwaan, ICT Solutions Architect at Rituals, said that the main reason for choosing Apple's little discussed iPod touch was the size. Most Rituals dealers are women, and they can carry or pocket iPod touch much easier than an iPhone or iPad. It's not bad that it's especially cheaper than an iPhone.
Like in UCSD Health Sciences, these iOS devices are not personal devices. They have specific roles to play, with a custom selection of programs that each role requires. If a device breaks or it is necessary to press the iPad office in the box for a particularly busy period, Rituals IT staff can use Jamf Pro to wipe it and reconfigure for the new role.
Going beyond the individual  I found these stories exciting because they challenge our standard display of Apple's equipment as focused on the individual end user. It is largely what Apple wants us to think, of course, and it is also reflected technically. IOS does not support multiple users. (That said, I was told at JNUC that Microsoft's Office Apps for iPad offer multifunctional support to allow separation of personal and work documents with different access controls.)
And yet, beyond its usual marketing, Apple acknowledges that organizations must buy and distribute hundreds or even thousands of devices with preset configurations. But Apple's own device management tool – MacOS Server Profile Manager, for example – does not scale to the levels discussed here, much less the 134,000 Macs used by IBM employees.
This is where Jamf Pro or a competing device management system such as Addigy, FileWave and SolarWinds is required. As these stories have shown too many Mac and IOS devices to meet the role-based needs of organizations, IT administrators need fine-tuned and highly automated control over the setup and use of these devices.
As this trend towards major institutions continues to deploy countless Apple devices as an integral part of their organizational engagement, we will all increasingly find ourselves in interaction with and trust these managed entities while they receive education, receive healthcare , live in a hotel, or just buy in a store. These devices may not be "personal" in the way we are used to, but Apple's attention to ease of use and design, combined with device management systems, means that they can serve very specific purposes in ways that nothing else can.