Ask an IT manager about using mobile devices for dedicated applications, and the first thing that comes up is total cost of ownership (TCO). Whether it’s employees carrying around electronic catalogs to help customers, or wine lists on tablets making it easier for clients to see what’s available, every aspect of digital transformation comes down to cost.

IT managers aren’t complaining about the acquisition cost of the tablets or smartphones (a good leather menu cover doesn’t cost that much less than an affordable Android tablet). It’s the full lifecycle cost that decision makers are concerned with — managing the devices, loading them with software, making sure they’re updated, keeping track of the configuration — everything that happens beginning the moment you unbox the device. And they’re right. Those costs far outweigh the cost of the devices, just as the printing and labor costs to make weekly updates to a wine list makes a leather cover look almost free. That’s the TCO equation, and if you do all those things by hand, one at a time, mobile devices don’t offer any cost advantage.

Fortunately, there are lots of ways to change that equation and make mobile devices a cost-effective way to deliver dedicated applications to staff, whether it’s in the back office and warehouse, engaging customers on the retail floor, tablets locked into kiosks or anyone who needs accurate, timely information in your organization. Samsung Knox Configure, a cloud-based service from Samsung that supports all of their Android devices, is the first step to customizing your devices.

What Is Knox Configure?

Knox Configure is a tool that lets the IT manager create a predictable and secure configuration that will automatically be downloaded by a Samsung smartphone or tablet the very first time it is turned on — and redownloaded and applied even if the device is reset to factory defaults.

Knox Configure works elegantly because a device is linked to the customization tool before it ever arrives at your doorstep. Resellers preload the serial numbers of Samsung devices into the Knox Configure portal as they’re shipped. When the device is unsealed and connected to a network — wherever it is in the world — it checks in with Samsung and downloads the configuration created and assigned in the Knox Configure portal.

More Than Customization: The Knox TCO Advantage

Knox Configure also inherently acts as a mobile device management (MDM) and enterprise mobility management (EMM) tool, but comes with a tighter focus: building secure configurations to cut the time required to deploy a new device to the bare minimum.

For IT managers who are considering rolling out dedicated applications, Knox Configure turns the TCO equation completely on its head. With a few clicks in the portal, devices can be configured with personalized settings, put into “kiosk” mode, and have applications and data preloaded. All of the most tedious parts of deploying new devices simply go away.

A security benefit of Knox Configure — especially over standard MDM tools — is its capability to control hardware features of Samsung’s Android devices. A Knox Configure kiosk profile, for example, can specify which wireless network to use, enable or disable hardware controls (such as volume and brightness), personalize what types of alerts can pop up, control how and when screen savers will appear or how screen rotation is handled. Add that to traditional security controls, such as restricting what applications can run and what websites can be visited, or how security and software updates are applied, and Knox Configure makes devices secure enough to hand to customers without fear of introducing a data breach.

Unlike “golden master” deployment tools that IT managers might already be using for desktops and laptops, Knox Configure doesn’t require special servers or expertise. Once you’ve identified an application you want to deploy in a dedicated mode, you can create a profile, apply it to a device — and that’s all the work needed.

If this sounds interesting for a single application, consider the possibility of having a wide variety of dedicated application devices. Deciding what application runs on what device is just a matter of applying a profile in the Knox Configure portal — which means that you can easily scale up or down the number of devices as needed, and repurpose a device from one application to another whenever needed. The TCO of devices managed under Knox Configure makes dedicated applications easily affordable for businesses of any size.

Still wondering how smartphones and tablets can become dedicated application devices for your business? Download our free guide to all of Knox Configure’s capabilities, or watch a roundtable discussion about the benefits of customizing devices.