Windows 10–Getting Ready for MDM

One of the big selling points of Windows 10 is the convergence of form factors and “one OS to rule them all” seeing Windows 10 desktop and Windows 10 phone merge together in some way. This started in Windows 8.1 where both device gained support for OMA DM, but there were still slight differences between the two.

With a new OS we obviously want new enterprise features as well, and MDM is also one of the areas where the intention is to go further. I have played around with the Windows 10 technical preview for desktop, and a preview build for phones should be imminent. My intention is to play around with MDM for both of them real soon, as well as other enterprise related features in due time.

While we all get ready for some hands-on Microsoft has updated their documentation:
Preview Specifications:
https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee941641.aspx
CSP reference: 
https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/hardware/dn920025(v=vs.85).aspx

The first link contains a bunch of links to pdfs, and the one’s you’ll want are MS-MDE and MS-MDM.

I’ll get back to you once I’ve got some more details lined up Smilefjes

Windows Phone 8.1 – Kiosk Mode

We’re not entirely done covering new enterprise features in Windows Phone 8.1. Let’s dive into what I would usually call "Kiosk Mode". (At least it’s meant as an enterprise feature, but if you’re the controlling type I suppose you could turn it into a "kids mode on steroids".)

Smartphones are nice devices for enabling the user to do a whole bunch of things, but there are plenty of scenarios where you don’t want the end-user doing all sorts of stuff on their devices. If you control a fleet of delivery drivers who carry a smartphone for keeping track of their routes & pickups, and having the customer sign for the delivery, you don’t want the driver playing Angry Birds on the device on their break. Quite often I hear enterprise customers asking "how do we lock down these devices so the user can’t mess it up"?

We can lock it down by placing it in what we call a "kiosk mode". A kiosk mode alters the interface so the end-user can only access very specific parts of the operating system. Most of us face these kinds of interfaces almost every day; paying for bus tickets on an unmanned machine, withdrawing money from ATMs, etc. And I think I’m not the only one to be happy that I face a simplified UI focused on the specific thing I’m trying to achieve.

iOS has what they refer to as "Guided Access" to put one app in focus, and while Android has no Google-provided feature (that I’m aware of) you can lock down Samsung devices by using their enterprise APIs.

Windows Mobile (old school pre-Metro) also had the ability to lock down the UI fairly good back in the day. Technically kiosk mode wasn’t officially supported or sanctioned, but is was possible to implement nonetheless through different tweaks.

Windows Phone however hasn’t had any ability to do this until now. With the 8.1 version bump Microsoft adds a kiosk mode, but prefers to call it "Assigned Access". The naming is in line with 8.1 non-phone, however how it works is not fully synchronized between the two operating systems. This post will focus only on the Windows Phone implementation.

The Assigned Access features consists of more than just slapping one app in front and saying that’s all you can use. You could say that you create a set of apps and settings to compile a complete kiosk experience.

The kiosk mode can to the best of my knowledge only be configured through MDM.

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Windows Phone 8.1 – MDM & Enterprise

The cat is finally out of the bag – even though the rumors have been making the rounds on the interwebs for some time now Microsoft just confirmed details officially for the update to Windows Phone codenamed Blue, which will bring the version number to 8.1.

Lot’s of new stuff of course, and you can expect seeing MSDN articles, sessions on Channel 9, and a bunch of blog posts covering the OS from A to Z. I’m not going to duplicate all those efforts, and as per usual I’ll rather try to cover some of the enterprisy stuff like for instance Mobile Device Management (MDM) since that’s kinda my cup of tea.

I’m not going to run through the entire history of the Windows Mobile/Phone operating system line, but Windows Phone is finally starting to look like it did in the good old days before switching to the Metro-era. (Behind the covers that is, not the parts you see up front in the UI.)

I have previously looked at Windows Phone 8.0, and if you need to catch up on that you can find that here:
http://mobilitydojo.net/2013/03/31/understanding-windows-phone-8-mdm/

Let’s take a look at some of the additions and changes coming with WP 8.1 in this department.

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