When people hear Apple TV, they may think of digital streaming and entertainment, but Apple TV has plenty of use cases in a business setting.
What is Apple TV?
Apple TV is a small digital set-top box that plugs into a television or another screen with an HDMI input. Its most common purpose is to stream video content such as movies via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet connection.
There have been six generations of the Apple TV set-top. The two current models on the first-party market when this publishes are the fourth-generation Apple TV HD at $149 and the sixth-generation Apple TV 4K 2021, which costs $179 for 32 GB of storage or $199 for 64 GB of storage.
The small streaming unit is less than four inches wide and stands an inch and a half tall, yet the latest model sports an Apple A12 Bionic processor. This is the same processor as the Apple iPad Pro, making the Apple TV box capable of delivering enterprise content consistently.
To set up and deploy an Apple TV, admins need an HD or 4K television with a High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) input. To connect the set-top to the screen, IT needs an HDMI cable.
During the Apple TV configuration process, the device's password is the same as the Apple ID for the business. In some SMB settings, a personal Apple ID may be simpler than creating a new dedicated Apple account for business. Admins can set up a requirement for an onscreen password for AirPlay-enabled devices such as the Apple TV in settings.
Apple TV use cases in a business environment
Despite the predominant use of this technology being entertainment, Apple TV can do much more than relay videos and music from a streaming provider. The unit's Apple tvOS operating system incorporates mobile device management (MDM) capabilities that give IT administrators some control over the Apple TV system.
The system can handle multiple enterprise tasks such as running custom apps in kiosk displays and sharing business presentations. The unit supports Apple Airplay, allowing admins to transmit content from computers and other devices to the Apple TV devices via a Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connection.
IT administrators should learn the different enterprise functions they can assign to the Apple TV for business use cases.
Displaying business content
One notable use for the Apple TV in a business setting is to employ the endpoint to transmit documents, presentations and slide shows onto different displays in a meeting room. This applies to all sorts of environments, ranging from SMBs to the largest enterprise organizations.
In organizations with remote workers, IT can set up Apple TV via AirPlay to show video meeting participants on a big-screen TV. Users with this set up can still manage the presentation materials using a laptop.
Single App Mode kiosk applications
Apple administrators can convert an Apple TV into a single-purpose device with numerous use cases. With the proper MDM configurations, admins can opt to run a single application on the unit. The Single App Mode in tvOS enables the Apple TV to display one application and allows a system administrator to set options such as volume control and image resolution.
This is very useful if a business needs to set up a touchscreen to act as a kiosk, serving up information about a specific area or app.
Apple TV is a widely used digital signage platform. The Apple MDM APIs enable easy deployment of digital information boards across various environments, including the enterprise, education, medical, hospitality and travel sectors. Digital maps, conference guides, food menus and advertising are all well suited to Apple TV.
IT can set up automatic configuration for Apple TV devices, as long as they have a connection to the internet via Wi-Fi or an Ethernet link. This means the units can ship from a retailer to the final location and then run whatever signage an organization needs without needing IT to touch it. This makes digital signage a much simpler task, so any digital signage configuration assignment is an easy task for an IT department.
This can drastically reduce shipping costs for an organization as they roll out a digital signage system. All IT needs is the Apple TV box and a screen to display the content.