IBM Security MaaS360

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Managing Frontline Workers Android Devices with Custom Commands

By PRATYUL KAPOOR posted Wed February 07, 2024 11:20 PM


Managing Frontline Workers Android Devices with Custom Commands

Authors: @Vanshika Kuchhal and @PRATYUL KAPOOR

Ever wondered how to make your Android devices dance to your command without the techy hassle? Say hello to our tech magic show! 

This blog spills the beans on how we crafted a super-flexible wand for MaaS360 admins, letting them pull off cool tricks like wiping app data, launching apps, and more on Android devices, perfect for those frontline rockstars with not-so-techy skills. Our solution is like a tech-savvy chameleon – customizable, adaptable, and ready to groove to your every command, granting wishes and making your Android dreams sparkle!"

Understanding the needs of the frontline workers

Frontline workers form the backbone of many operational setups, contributing directly to the core functions of an organization. However, their proficiency with technical aspects may vary, and expecting them to handle device configurations or troubleshoot technical issues might be impractical. Upon closer examination of the operational dynamics, it became evident that these workers required a streamlined approach for administrators to remotely initiate specific actions on Android devices.

Custom commands

The framework designed to enable these custom commands involved a systematic architecture to facilitate a range of actions. All the commands are designed in a way such that they are highly customizable by admins. Framework is further designed such that it is straight forward to add new commands as and when the requirements come in.

Starting App Activities

In Android context, activity refer to any UI shown to end users. Administrators had the ability to remotely trigger specific activities or functionalities within applications installed on managed devices. This was further enhanced by providing the flexibility to pass many parameters. Some of the parameters available were the following:

  • Action – action to start the UI component (Activity)
  • Data – data URI to be passed to the UI component.
  • Category – category of the component being launched. 
  • Component – name of the component being launched.
  • Extras – any extra data to be passed to the UI component.

Benefits: - 

  • Operational Efficiency: By remotely triggering app activities, administrators could expedite task execution, saving time and reducing manual intervention.
  • Consistent Workflows: Ensured consistency in performing predefined actions or tasks across multiple devices, maintaining uniformity in operational processes.

Launch App

A natural extension to start activity, admins could remotely launch apps installed on these managed devices allowing them to initiate and activate specific applications. Here admins had the ability to specify name of the application to be launched.


  • Immediate App Activation: Offers the ability to instantly activate essential applications on managed devices, ensuring swift access without requiring manual intervention on individual devices.

Sending Broadcasts

The framework empowered administrators to broadcast signals or messages remotely to multiple devices simultaneously. Contrary to start activity which starts a UI Component of an application on the device this is useful to send a message to a background component of the app. Background component (Broadcast-Receiver) could not do the needful based on the broadcast message received. Here again similar customizations like start activity were available for the administrators. Some of the parameters available were the following:

  • Action – action to start the broadcast receiver. 
  • Data – data URI to be passed.
  • Component – name of the component being launched.
  • Extras – any extra data to be passed to the broadcast receiver.

Benefits: -

  • Rapid Communication: Facilitated swift communication with many devices simultaneously, ensuring immediate dissemination of crucial information.
  • Centralized Messaging: Administrators could convey consistent messages or directives to maintain coherence in actions or responses across the operational landscape.

Clearing App Data

Admins possessed the capability to remotely trigger the deletion of app-specific data stored on managed devices. This action ensured the removal of cached files, preferences, and any user-generated content within the targeted application. Capability was provided to pass the list of apps whose data must be cleared.

Benefits: -

  • Enhanced Stability: Removing problematic app data contributed to the stability of applications, minimizing unexpected crashes or malfunctions.
  • Resource Optimization: The action facilitated better resource allocation by freeing up device storage and enhancing the app's responsiveness.

Enabling Kiosk Mode

The framework enabled administrators to remotely activate kiosk mode on managed devices, effectively locking the devices into specific applications or workflows predetermined by the organization.

Benefits: -

  • Controlled Access: Kiosk mode ensured restricted access, preventing users from navigating away from predetermined applications, thereby reducing distractions and unauthorized usage.
  • Action enabled the ability to remotely enable and disable kiosk mode as an when needed.


Executing Commands

  • Starting App Activity 

  • Launch App
  • Sending Broadcast
  • Clearing App Data
  • Enable Kiosk

                         Admins can enter the custom command and then click Run.

                   Admins can view execution status of all the commands in the History page.

Conclusion: Empowering Seamless Device Management

The grand finale of this breakthrough not only shook-up device management in the kiosk world but also handed admins a wand of power over managed Android devices!

Easy-Breezy Control

This solution didn't just talk tech; it walked the walk with a user-friendly interface fit for superhero administrators. Frontline champs needed simplicity, and this solution delivered, seamlessly integrating into the MaaS360 Portal for a one-stop-shop of intuitive actions.

Watch and Marvel

After hitting the 'send' button on custom commands, our solution turned admins into device wizards with a front-row seat! Thanks to the Device History page in the MaaS360 Portal, admins got a backstage pass to monitor every command's grand performance, making overseeing device actions a breeze.

Looking ahead, this game-changer isn't just a solution; it's a high-five to user-friendly interfaces and super-sleek monitoring tools. Brace yourself for a future where controlling device ecosystems is as easy as a superhero landing – intuitive, efficient, and downright impressive!"