In the aftermath of Apple’s cancellation of the big HomePod, there’s been a lot of speculation about Apple TV’s future. After releasing the tvOS version of the Apple TV in 2015 and the 4K version in 2017, Apple has largely been silent on the platform’s future. Despite tvOS receiving continual software updates, the hardware has remained stagnant. Even without modern hardware, the Apple TV is nearly the perfect digital signage device, thanks to Apple’s mobile device management integration.
About Apple @ Work: Bradley Chambers has been managing an enterprise IT network since 2009. Through his experience deploying and managing firewalls, switches, a mobile device management system, enterprise-grade Wi-Fi, 100s of Macs, and 100s of iPads, Bradley will highlight ways in which Apple IT managers deploy Apple devices, build networks to support them, and train users as well as stories from the trenches of IT management and ways Apple could improve its products for IT departments.
If you’ve been to a professional sports arena in the past few years, you’ve no doubt seen some very high-end digital signage. Digital food menus, maps, and general marketing messages have replaced the paper signs that have to be continually replaced when items change. The technology has advanced a lot in the past decade, but it’s incredibly costly to build and maintain, though.
The Apple TV, without really meaning to, has become my favorite way to deploy low-cost digital signage in the enterprise and K–12 that’s easily manageable at scale.
Apple’s zero-touch deployment technology isn’t limited to Macs and iOS devices. It also works with the Apple TV. In practice, zero-touch on Apple TV will let you purchase them from Apple, ship them directly to your location, have them plugged up, and automatically configure themselves once they’re connected to the internet. If you’re using wired ethernet, it’ll be a seamless process. If you’re using Wi-Fi, you’ll have to get the devices online first, and then the configuration will occur. I am a big fan of this Apple TV mount as well for putting it on the back of a TV.
Single App Mode
The Apple TV is compatible with Apple’s Single App Mode, so once your digital signage app is installed, an IT team won’t have to be concerned with people using the Apple TV to watch Netflix or browse the App Store. The App TV will be locked directly to the app of your choosing.
Is the Apple TV on the high-end for TV streaming devices? So, but it’s on the low-end for digital signage solutions. Using a service like Kitcast, you can avoid any up-front costs for a server build-out, so your only capital expense is the Apple TV and the actual television. Since the Apple TV works on Wi-Fi, you won’t even need to have a contractor run wired ethernet to each TV location.
Wrap-up on Apple TV digital signage
Like I mentioned earlier, digital signage is typically a very complex solution. Using the Apple TV and its MDM capabilities, any IT department with Apple expertise will be able to deploy and maintain a digital signage platform for the workplace, education, retail, etc. It’s using all the same technology that the Mac and iOS devices use, so if you can deploy and maintain those devices, you’ll be a natural at digital signage on Apple TV.
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