Organizations that use Apple TV should manage the devices and the software that runs on them, but patch and application deployment on these atypical endpoints is not as easy as it seems.
There are some legitimate dangers to using Apple TV devices and the tvOS that runs on them -- especially when they are unmanaged. People can use these devices to stream movies, play video games, or cast irrelevant or inappropriate content from other Apple devices. Like any device with an OS, it faces vulnerabilities, especially when organizations don't keep up with the latest tvOS updates.
The use cases of Apple TV and its supported software
Deploying Apple TVs has helped many organizations in various sectors. For example, manufacturing firms can use Apple TVs with manufacturing-focused software from vendors such as RedZone and Oracle to deliver timely stats on worker production and overall performance.
Apple TVs are not limited to just manufacturing plants. Hospitals have adopted these devices to help deliver surgery schedules, patient stats and other key clinical indicators for nurses and physicians using Apple TV's health apps.
Education environments can use Apple TVs to provide many of the same functions that a full-on interactive whiteboard provides. An Apple TV with a basic display can accomplish many of the same features with the right applications and support.
A typical office workplace with meeting rooms can benefit from tvOS to display content during meetings or display conference calls for remote workers attending an in-person meeting by streaming Apple AirPlay.
Managing Apple TV devices and tvOS
Managing Apple TV is a critical aspect of a successful Apple TV adoption for most IT departments. Organizations will need a management platform that can account for these devices and their software. IT administrators can use these platforms to manage these devices with a wide range of features, including the following:
- Integrate with Apple Business Manager to support application and OS licensing and management at the corporate level.
- Track device details, including connectivity and serial numbers.
- Restrict users from accessing or controlling the Apple TV device using a remote control or a control center widget on any iPadOS and iOS devices.
- Deploy applications from the Apple store to an individual device or a group of Apple TVs -- this includes enterprise software that is not available within the consumer Apple Store.
- Restrict Apple TV-specific settings to ensure users are not reconfiguring the devices.
- Configure the Apple TV for a single-app or kiosk mode.
- Assign device profiles with preset configurations and accounts.
- Control the devices remotely to perform reboots or remote wipe.
- Manage and deploy software updates.
- Preconfigure devices for specific Wi-Fi network or VPN connectivity.
Apple TV management software options for the enterprise
Several popular Apple device management platforms offer Apple-TV management, but it is not a universal feature. Apple TV isn't nearly the omnipresent force that Windows, iOS and Android are, so some device management platforms don't include tvOS management features.
Organizations with Apple TV devices in their fleet should consider vendors with products that can address Apple TV management. This will ensure endpoint management synergy across all devices and allow admins to manage numerous device types from a single platform.
As an Apple-focused vendor, it's no surprise that Jamf is a viable option for Apple TV management software. One of the key features that Jamf offers is integrating with Apple Business Manager, which allows organizations to purchase their devices pre-enrolled. Customers receive the devices, and there is no need for manual configuration. The enrolled device will have all the software and configurations IT presents for the device group.
In addition, Jamf's platforms provide most of the core functionalities on the bulleted list above. These will help IT admins with their device management goals. One additional area that adds value for IT admins managing Apple TVs is Jamf's automation of some management tasks, including Smart Targeting capability. With this feature, the Jamf platform automatically analyzes all registered devices and automatically triggers device management tasks to specific devices or groups.
The Apple TV management that Hexnode offers is another popular option with broad adoption across multiple sectors, especially hotels and other hospitality-focused organizations. This platform offers the same core functions highlighted earlier in the feature list.
The platform focuses on the following three core areas to support IT needs when it comes to Apple TV management:
- device management
- application management
- security management