AT&T revealed their intention to jump on the bring-your-own-device enterprise bandwagon with their business-friendly Toggle service last October, which thoughtfully allowed users to segregate their personal and work content on their smartphones or tablets.
Now the company has announced a handful of new updates to the service to make it a more appealing option for companies and IT departments looking to ride the BYOD wave.
If you’re not familiar with the Toggle service, here’s how it works. Once the mobile client is installed and fired up (AT&T is quick to note that it works on devices from all carriers), users will see work-specific web browser, messaging, calendar, and GPS apps meant to keep them productive and undistracted by their multiple versions of Angry Birds. IT departments are also able to sink their fingers into those Toggle-enabled devices to reset passwords, setting up work-related apps, and wiping work mode information if needed.
AT&T notes several times in their marketing materials and on their website that Toggle works for “the top two major operating systems,” including Android 2.2 through 3.X. The company remains coy about what that other OS is, but the updated version of Toggle has indeed been confirmed to play nice with iOS. AllThingsD reports that things won’t stop there — support for Windows Phone and BlackBerry 10 is expected to launch later this year.
Also new to Toggle is the Toggle Hub, an internal app store of sorts that lets admins deploy their own work-related custom apps that can only run in work mode. Those admins are also able to track app usage by user groups, as well as make select documents and media files available to the users that need them.
As personal smartphones continue to grow in power and functionality, the barriers to them pulling their weight as business-oriented productivity tools are coming down. According to a May 2012 report from Cisco, 76% of their 600 senior IT admin respondents consider the growth of the bring-your-own-device trend to be a positive development for their company (though the trend also forced Cisco to kill their Cius tablet project).
It’s little wonder that AT&T has made these kinds of plays — if businesses continue to allow users to bring their own hardware to work, the days of huge corporate wireless contracts may be numbered, and with Toggle, AT&T is trying to position themselves to benefit whether that scenario comes to pass or not.