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New Apple TV opens door for enterprise use

Ryan Faas | Nov. 12, 2015
But much depends on the evolution of TVos and Apple TV App Store.

The list of settings IT can use to manage an Apple TV isn't exhaustive; it includes ways to secure access to the device, manage its network connectivity, and limit some content through the use of proxy servers. This also allows Apple TV's to be pre-configured by IT using a configuration profile generated by Apple Configurator, a USB-tethered Mac-only app that can be used to apply management settings to Apple TVs and iOS devices. As part of the configuration profile, Apple TVs can also be enrolled in MDM/EMM solutions for further management.

The fourth-generation Apple TV has the same support for AirPlay and Apple's MDM framework as earlier models, meaning it can be used with the same business or education settings. As a result, AirPlay as a presentation tool will no doubt remain a primary business use case for the new model, while the possibility now of apps dedicated to business and enterprise use could extend the platform's use further.

There are other possibilities, if Apple is paying attention and wants to see Apple TV in greater use in the office.

Digital signage?

One of the most compelling uses for the Apple TV is using an app to display product, event, or company information. This isn't really interactive, but there are a lot of  environments where it could work well: in retail outlets, at conference/convention centers and other event venues, or as window presentations in industries from retail to real estate to restaurants to transit facilities.

Digital signage apps could even being used in line management or crowd control -- think of a walk-in clinic or repair shop where consumers can see where they are in a queue and/or see wait times.

That use would work best in a kiosk mode where the Apple TV automatically booted into an appropriate app, something that apparently isn't available on the device at this time. Another challenge is that you'd need an easy way to load content into the app. Most likely this would be via a cloud service as a bridge between a Mac, PC or some other device and the Apple TV. Alternatively, content could be entered on the Apple TV directly, but with the device lacking support for Bluetooth keyboards or the iOS Remote app this would be a rather clumsy process.

Business content and tools

Another possibility would be an option to access specific, business-related content. This would strike a balance between digital signage, presentation, and content streaming and would be particularly useful in classroom or training situations where a specific set of resources needs to be provided to students or clients. This could include traditional presentation-style content, images or diagrams, or streaming video.


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