3CX Mobile Device Manager – an app for corporate device and/or family location management
Jun 19, 2012 8:03 AM –
3CX Mobile Device Manager let’s you monitor the location of various Android devices, via a user friendly browser dashboard. If you’re a business and want to monitor field employee locations and more, the app is simple to use and provides lots of tools and functionality.
Tested on: HTC One X, HTC Hero, HTC Desire HD
Pros & Cons:
- Lot’s of functionality!
- Easy to use browser interface!
- Ability to manage apps remotely!
- Ability to send messages to each device!
- Time delay in actions; locations, messages, apps, etc.
- Messages took an average of 20 minutes to be received.
- Locations are ‘close’ but might not be accurate enough for some purposes.
3CX Mobile Device Manager is a means for corporations to monitor their Android devices while being used in the field. Whether that be to supervise staff locations or protect sensitive corporate data on the devices, there is a lot of functionality. (An additional application might also be to monitor your families locations, for security reasons.)
The first thing you need to do is set up an account, which I managed to do via the app, and then the web. At the time of review the client will only activate after you initiate the activation email… I had trouble receiving it, or so I perceived but it was in the spam folder so check there if you run into the same issue. The app itself is essentially a client, embedded on the phone to push location and administrative data to the web dashboard, or portal. All the action essentially takes place in your secure browser. For testing purposes I installed and signed up the Android -toting members of my family (unfortunately I don’t have a workforce of many to test this out on properly). Once the client is on their devices, all they need to do is log in to the host account, allow permissions and it’s set up.
So, here’s what you can do:
- Monitor the location of every device
- Send messages to individual or all devices
- Enforce strong passwords
- Remotely manage apps on every device; from Google Play Prompts to pushing app install APK’s directly to devices
- Block, lock or wipe a device remotely
Testing these, I had mixed results. Location information was good, but pretty slow to come through, devices had been at a specific location for some time before it registered on the map. Compared, for example, with something as accurate as Glympse, this isn’t that good accuracy-wise. If however, you require less detail, it’s actually fine. My location history was mostly quite accurate up to a distance of about 100 meters, so if you’re monitoring devices/staff movement over a wide area, this would be absolutely fine.
Messages sent, but didn’t hit the devices for an average of 20 minutes, even with great network coverage. So, if it’s something like ‘Don’t forget to submit reports tonight folks!’ or something else that’s not time-critical, this is fine. However, if your message content is important, you might prefer to send an IM or SMS which is far quicker. This also applied to locking the device, it worked but took quite a while to happen. If then, you’ve got important data you want to protect immediately, I’m unsure if this will be good enough. Apps like Cerberus were far more immediate in deployment of actions.
One aspect which worked really well was app management. You can send apps to devices for install by pushing a Google Play link, which is pretty good. While again there was a delay, it was pretty effective. There is a function to send APK files directly to the devices you choose, but while this process started it never loaded correctly- perhaps not the most reliable means to send apps. The dashboard also lets you see what apps each device has installed, and you can remove apps if you need to (although these are prompts- the user has to manually remove the app pending the request).
Overall, the app is mostly easy to use, but I’d certainly recommend to any business to try a full field trial first, before rolling it out as a full solution. In my experience the service works really well, but actions take quite a while to be executed at user level which may or may no be good enough. I would stress, however, that rolling this out to mobile workers own devices might be a little ‘Big Brother’, and I’m not sure users would be keen to give up some of their privacy for the sake of this kind of productivity tool.
3CX Mobile Device Manager – Main screen
3CX Mobile Device Manager – Application management
3CX Mobile Device Manager – Noticiable delay in sending and receiving messages
3CX Mobile Device Manager – Dashboard, devices
3CX Mobile Device Manager – Dashboard, devices 2
3CX Mobile Device Manager – Monitor device location from desktop
3CX Mobile Device Manager – Optional satellite view
3CX Mobile Device Manager – Remove apps
3CX Mobile Device Manager – Device location history
3CX Mobile Device Manager – Apps list
For monitoring and managing device movement, it’s a comprehensive and very useful. Time-critical actions might require alternative solutions however.
Ease of Use:
The whole service is incredibly easy to use; both with setting up and using the user-friendly browser dashboard. Instructions sent to devices are also quite simple too (so even if your users are utter technophiles, they should be able to use the prompts easily)
Obviously this depends on what you would using the service for, but clearly it’s something that would be on all the time, at least in the background if it wasn’t being used for specific purposes throughout the day. If the app/service was faster it might be even more useful and an option for everything from managing a sales team in the field or even more detailed logistics.
The interface is quite simple. The app only really has basic administrative and information screens. The web browser dashboard however is more detailed, but looks good. The map takes centre stage so-to-speak, but the menus are well laid out and would not take too much staff training.