Everyone looks to Afaria for Mobile Device Management, but don’t forget that it is also a very useful tool for process automation for devices that are supported by the Afaria Session Manager feature (everything at the moment except for iOS devices).
While it is a very important part of Afaria, not everything in Mobile devices is about making sure device “A” has password policy Y, and WLAN settings Z and access to enterprise applications etc etc.
Afaria can also be extremely useful in helping to provide a support framework for your mobile application. From the application allowing itself to be self reporting (report it’s own crashes) to self healing or self updating.
I have been in Mobility for over 12 years. A lot of that time with Afaria and Applications. One thing that I have learnt is that you can really help yourself in App development by building in an awareness for device management software into your application, and that is where Afaria and Session Manager can help.
When it comes to getting your app installed, and supporting it running, it is most likely to be the IT support department that gets this job.
Be kind to your local IT support person (remember they can reduce your mailbox quota, or lock out your remote access), make it easy to support your app and you can speed up roll outs and reduce support costs.
Be aware of what it takes to upgrade your application, detect crashes, run some self healing actions, and build those features into Afaria, or build those features into an on device helper program that can run with command parameters and be called by Afaria.
Session manager is that part of Afaria that allows you to design your own device management tasks.
It has it’s own set of events, you can compare it in some ways to a script language. Further more is that one of the events you can run in Afaria is to load a VB script file and run a function from that.
This is probably most useful for Windows32 clients and windows Mobile devices, but part of the event properties is that you can choose to run the event on the Afaria Server (which, being a Microsoft Windows Server 2008 OS, will always be able to run VB Scripts).
This means that even on an Android device you can design your own, custom actions.
Afaria also has the SLL (Static Linked Libraries) feature for Android and iOS application that can allow them to talk directly to the Afaria server (via the configured Afaria client on the device).
This can allow your application to request configuration/security settings etc directly from Afaria, simplifying the application roll out process.
There are also Afaria client API's for the other client platforms Afaria supports so that you can build into your application the ability to run Afaria sessions, and hide this from the end user.
Anything that you can do to make your application easier to support, and easier to roll out will benefit you in the end.