As fast as my 5 year old son can fill my iPad with every season of Cut the Rope, apartment communities across the U.S. are using iPads in the leasing office to equip both leasing agents and prospective residents with real-time availability, floorplans, leasing documents, and more. But what a lot of property management companies fail to consider is device management. I’m not talking about theft. I’m referring to the internal guts of the device: Tracking its history, updating apps, controlling access, and monitoring location, battery, and performance.
Fortunately, an entire industry has emerged to assist companies and organizations with device management. Providers like MokiMobility and Air Watch take care of all the details and can be a huge resource for property management companies with large sales/leasing teams. But for companies and apartment communities who are looking to have better control and oversight of their iPads onsite, here are three ideas to consider:
1. GUIDED ACCESS – People with kids know how life-changing the iPad’s guided access feature can be. By locking users within an isolated app and disabling the home button and other shortcuts, guided access keeps nosy residents out of places they shouldn’t be. It comes already installed with Apple’s iOS 6, so whether you want to remain on your apartment app or even on your apartment website in Safari, you can turn on guided access and limit access from anywhere else on the iPad. You can activate, set a password, and manage settings by going to Settings > General > Accessibility > Guided Access. Try it, use it, and love it.
2. APP CONTROL – Most companies don’t know whether to allow leasing agents to download additional apps, and if so, how to manage them. If you’re looking to limit app access (and/or get your kids’ games under control), everything you need is found in the Restrictions area under Settings. You can restrict access to features like Camera, FaceTime, and Safari; and control installation and deletion of apps. If you’ve ever had a resident go rogue on safari and an employee who somehow manages to delete your property app every other week… Consider it solved.
3. BYOD – Companies that choose to entrust individual employees with their own device need to establish a tablet policy. Establish policies for (1) responsibility in the event of theft, (2) rental fees, (3) access for other users, (4) protections for sensitive company information, and (5) the integration of other business apps (Apple’s list of business apps is a great resource).
iPad leasing is arguably one of the best ways for property management companies to equip employees with real-time information, as well as engage current and prospective residents at various stages of the leasing cycle. However, it’s important to discuss and determine company practices for device management in order to ensure this technology is used in the best way possible.