Mobile Device Management Lets You Track Your Teens

It's becoming more common for companies to deploy mobile device management to track smartphone and tablet use as part of a BYOD policy. However, now MDM software is coming home to help parents keep tabs on their teens -- and possibly each other.

So your grinning teenager is texting away at the dinner table, flashing a mischievous smile between bites of pizza. You might ask, "Whatcha writing?" You'll surely get a look of sweet innocence followed by, "Nothing."

teenagers,   MDM, teen texting, BYOD
credit: Scott Griessel

Well, a new service allows you to read those not-so-innocent text messages, track device location, remotely wipe data and perform other security functions similar to those of mobile device management software, or MDM. Teenagers everywhere, if they only knew, would be shuddering in horror.

For BYOD There's No Place Like Home

For the last few years, companies have been using MDM to keep tabs on employee devices and data, even personal devices under a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. In turn, employees complain that managers wielding MDM treat them like children. Now a company called Remo Software is bringing MDM to the household to treat actual children like children.

Remo offers a currently free cloud service (although this may change) that gives admin rights to parents for monitoring, managing and controlling smartphones and tablets across Android, Windows 8 and iOS, as well as PCs and Macs. Of course, it's not as complex as enterprise- class MDM but does offer an array of services, including data back up and sharing.

"Basically, we're connecting the entire family on a virtual network," says Remo Software CEO Omer Faiyaz.

More than just a way to spy on teenagers -- and spouses -- Remo can wipe home data for lost or stolen devices. Parents often use devices to access work files, pay bills and store confidential data that they wouldn't want in the hands of strangers. Also, parents might want to keep offensive Internet content away from their children; 95 percent of teens have easy Internet access, and 68 percent have seen offensive content.

Parents can also flag and read individual text messages, according to Faiyaz. It is very much possible on Android (on iOS we are still figuring it out). He says the process is similar to antivirus software, which has the capability to read messages and alert you whether or not they are safe to open.

At Home With Smart Devices

The number and type of smart devices are proliferating in the household. There may be more than 10 smart devices in a home this year. All tallied, 1.28 billion smartphones and 655 million tablets are expected to be in use by 2016, according to Gartner.

Wearables, security systems, smart cars, game consoles and the Internet of things are coming to market and creating a computing environment that cries out for centralized management.

Here is Remo's infographic of the connected home:

connected homes, smart devices
Click image to view full PDF

Tom Kaneshige covers Apple, BYOD and Consumerization of IT for CIO.com. Follow Tom on Twitter @kaneshige. Follow everything from CIO.com on Twitter @CIOonline, Facebook, Google + and LinkedIn. Email Tom at tkaneshige@cio.com

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