iOS

Four ways that iOS 5 will impact IT departments

Scott Lowe highlights four of the new features in iOS 5 that he believes will have the most impact on IT departments.

Apple's iOS 5 has a lot of new features. Here are four that I believe will have the most impact on IT departments.

1. iCloud

Although Apple previously made their MobileMe service available, iCloud is intended to expand the capabilities of this service and make it more useful to more people. As uptake of this services rises and an increasing number of employees bring personal devices to the workplace, organizations risk users storing work-related documents in a personal iCloud space, where these documents remain unreachable by the employer. Such a situation can create compliance issues, as well as issues during employee turnover.

Start planning now by revising any Bring Your Own Device policies you may already have in place and prohibit the storage of work-related documents in iCloud. However, even that is probably too specific; users should be using only sanctioned, approved storage areas that fall under the control of organizational policy, retention, and backup mechanisms. Your policy should clearly articulate where storage is allowed. If you intentionally add new storage opportunities, then update the policy to include those new areas.

2. Productivity enhancements

When the original iPhone was released, I panned it as completely inappropriate for the enterprise due primarily to the product's lack of ActiveSync capability. That shortcoming was corrected, however, and the iPhone quickly became my phone of choice.

While many people use their iOS-based devices for e-mail, the mail client lacks formatting capabilities. In iOS 5, Apple is aiming to change that and make some of the built-in apps, including mail, more full-featured.

Here are some of the things we can expect to see with iOS 5:

  • New ability to format messages a bit more
  • Message flagging (I use this a lot in Outlook)
  • Calendar enhancements
  • Much improved tasks capability that synchronizes across devices with iCloud

On the surface, the productivity enhancements aren't earth-shattering, but they do make the whole platform a bit more compelling.

3. Apple TV integration for AirPlay

In many places, iOS-based devices have permeated the employee ranks all across the organization, and the trend is not likely to change in the near future, particularly as Apple updates its product line. With iOS 5, Apple is adding AirPlay functionality, which allows iOS 5 devices to integrate with Apple TV boxes in order to display mobile-based content on connected HDTVs. I can absolutely envision tech-savvy executives who carry iPads and iPhones wanting to make significant use of this capability, especially if it works as seamlessly as most other Apple services.

I highly recommend that IT departments invest in an Apple TV or two and start testing the possibilities here as soon as possible. It could reshape the way that a lot of presentations are made.

4. Enhanced messaging via iMessage

Apple surprised carriers with the introduction of iMessage, which is an integrated messaging function that will be made available in all iOS 5 devices. iMessage bypasses a carrier's own messaging systems and could negatively impact some of the significant charges that carriers assess for SMS service. Obviously, in some organizations, electronic communications need to be logged and retained for compliance purposes.  Regardless of ownership -- whether an iOS device is owned by an employee or the organization provides the device and service -- make sure organizational policies take into consideration that third-party apps can be used to bypass approved communications channels.

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About

Since 1994, Scott Lowe has been providing technology solutions to a variety of organizations. After spending 10 years in multiple CIO roles, Scott is now an independent consultant, blogger, author, owner of The 1610 Group, and a Senior IT Executive w...

8 comments
techno0001
techno0001

i don't think its really its worth

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

And in many others, there isn't an Apple device to be seen. Those IT departments won't be affected at all by this OS change.

jspanitz
jspanitz

ICloud? Nothing new. Apple is late to this space. If iDevices cause you to update your security policies, that's good. But good luck enforcing them since apple doesn't provide any method of doing so. Mail formatting, flagging, calendar and task syncing? Uh, pick up a Windows Phone 7.5 device. Its got all that and an the entire Office Mobile suite. Apple tv. Hmm, anyone actually buying them? And for those who have, who still uses it and why? And last, my fav, iMess(age). Nice ripoff, as others have pointed out, of BBM. I mean if you are going to copy other platforms, at least make it better. How should i message my non izombie friends? Oh wait, i need to switch to my text app. That just plain sucks. Why not an all in one messaging app like Windows Phone 7.5? I launch one app and can SMS and fb chat and switch at will mid conversation all from a single app. IOS 5 and 4s are huge fail for Apple. Why even have a launch event for such crap? Its a blemish on apples previously great product launches.

Gisabun
Gisabun

Wasn't the iCloud actually using the "cloud" from some other company [Amazon maybe?] according to an article this past summer? iMessage [a blatant rip off of BBM] only works [last i checked] with iPhone 5 users. so for the immediate future, it will do squat. And like any new services, I'm sure it will have its glitches.

spdragoo
spdragoo

I always hear comments about how "everyone's bringing their personal devices into work". Well, I bring my cellphone into work with me...but not so that I can use it for work. That's what my desk phone is for. And if I *really* needed to have a cellphone to perform my work -- not in the sense of, "I'm out of the office today, but someone might need to call me, so here's my cell number", but in the sense of, "I work in the field, so the office/dispatcher needs to be able reach me whereever I am in the field" -- then my employer would provide one for me. You only see IT staff being forced to support personal devices when the devices in question belong to the higher-level managers & executives: directors, vice-presidents, board members, CEOs, CIOs, CFOs, etc. If John Smith, the data entry clerk down in Accounting, wants to bring his iPad into work to use instead of his desktop, IT will say, "Sorry, that's not an approved device". And if he tries to suggest that they switch from the current machines to using Apple machines instead, IT will say, "Sorry, have your supervisor submit a hardware acquisition request to his department head, & then we'll _review_ the request". Unlike in movies & TV shows, most employers don't lavish expensive equipment on their employees, or enforce security policies regarding hooking up personal devices to the corporate network. So until you see large-scale replacement of hardware using iOS-based devices at the enterprise level, the impact of iOS devices will remain limited.

Gr8Music
Gr8Music

That BBM can work with FB and SMS, nor did I know that WP7 messaging works with BBM and iMessage. Apple will have to make iMessage work with all that too since they do...

toestor
toestor

In the A/E design industry iDevices have become quite prevalent, especially with senior management (for example Marriott International in hospitality design). Most meetings include many iPads and even more iPhones. Adoption is happening from the top down. We are looking into AppleTVs as a means to display presentations. Convenience is key and ease of use for the less tech-inclined is where Apple is most successful. IT departments who desperately cling to BB and other old structures will find themselves passed by history.

JamesRL
JamesRL

I'm sure someone looked at Blackberry as a solution, but here, the iPhone is a corporate approved device. They do have certains standards, and they force us to keep up to date on OS. I could have chosen from a number of devices, but the overwhelmingly popular choice here is the iPhone. We don't have corporate support for the Blackberry. I should add that we are a software company and we do develop our apps for a mobile platform as well. The demand is highest for iPhone apps from our customers, so I'm sure that has influenced our IT departments thinking. I haven't seen any changes needed here as a result of iOS5. I'm not interested in using the cloud for storage yet. I still prefer USB drives. I don't do much work on my home computer, I have a laptop I can take home when I need to work. I do get calls occasionally after hours, and I do check my emails, though not obssessively.