Frequently Asked Questions

General

Is GroundControl only for Apple Devices?

Yes. GroundControl manages and provisions Apple iOS devices — iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Apple provides the most secure, private, future-proof, and scalable platform for enterprise mobile devices. Our team brings over 10 years of Apple deployment expertise to GroundControl. We are Windows friendly, too. Our patented Launchpad client software runs on both Windows PC and Macs. Currently, two-thirds of our customers use Windows PCs to run their Launchpad app.

Is GroundControl software or hardware or both?

GroundControl is software, specifically SaaS. The management console runs in the cloud; the Launchpad client runs on Windows PCs and/or Macs within your network; and the Locker and Self Heal apps, if you opt to use them, run on your shared devices.

The Launchpad app is frequently run on a headless PC-on-a-stick such as Intel Compute Stick, with a USB hub of your choice. For more information see our page on Integrations.

 

Is GroundControl an MDM?

No. 95% of our customers use an MDM with GroundControl. MDM manages devices over the air, and GroundControl manages devices over USB. GroundControl does more than MDM alone. For starters, Apple ships iOS devices with wireless disabled. At a minimum you need to turn on WiFi, set language and location. GroundControl, on the other hand, allows for true touchless configuration. GroundControl can add management to sounds and brightness, government alerts, location services, server settings, and even Airplane Mode. And through our MDM integrations, we can assign devices to MDM organization groups, to labels, or to specific users.

How does GroundControl compare to Configurator?

We love Apple Configurator, and it is a great free tool for small schools and specific, short-term projects. But Configurator was never designed for large-scale use. It has been said “GroundControl is Configurator on steroids.” The differences are considerable. GroundControl runs on Windows PCs as well as Macs. We manage the full suite of mobile services, from MDM to WiFi controllers to app configs, not just the initial device setup. Our cloud-hosted administration assures you can easily expand on a global scale. Users are assigned roles: IT admins manage the system, and less privileged users have much more limited access. Devices are no longer tied to a single Mac. And our new Tap & Go and Self Heal systems offer features unique in the Apple world.

Can my users have different levels of access?

Yes. GroundControl provides IT administrators with controls to limit access to the handful of staff who should be making changes. Additional roles are available for help desk technicians and mid-level admins. Automation allows for operation even with no admin accounts. All accounts may be tied to your Active Directory system through SAML 2.0.

Provisioning

I have DEP and my provisioning is pretty quick. Why do I need GroundControl?

Apple’s DEP is a godsend for most IT departments. DEP streamlines enrollment, saving time for both IT and the end-user who only completes a few screens to have a fully-configured device. However, in healthcare, transportation, and hospitality, devices are shared — so there is no single end-user to tap on these screens. The burden falls on busy IT staff to fully provision and update devices, and the process is no longer “zero-touch.” The challenges faced by organizations to automate, provision and secure thousands of shared-devices anywhere, anytime gave birth to GroundControl.

How many devices can the system handle at once?

Our cloud-based patented architecture allows your organization to manage an unlimited number of Launchpads at an unlimited number of locations in parallel anywhere around the globe. So the real answer is: “unlimited.” A single Launchpad can provision dozens of devices at once, though the precise number depends on disk and USB speed. One hospital regularly provisions 100 iPhones from a single Intel Compute Stick.

How does GroundControl tethering compare with over-the-air provisioning?

You still can’t beat a wire for speed and reliability, particularly for large updates. And with GroundControl, since you update while charging, IT admin are guaranteed devices are idle and not in use. Staff will never be interrupted with an over-the-air update again.

Apple ships iOS devices with wireless disabled. At a minimum you need to turn on WiFi, set language and location. GroundControl, on the other hand, allows for true touchless configuration.

GroundControl also built-in local caching of iOS updates and enterprise apps, saving massive WAN bandwidth.

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Automation

What’s a Workflow and how does GroundControl automate these?

A Workflow is a “recipe” — a series of actions for your device to perform. The automation “rule” defines when the workflow is executed. Rules trigger the workflow when you device is connected and matches specified criteria. 

For a simple example, a workflow can (1) factory erase the device, then (2) enroll it into your MDM. This allows you to reset devices at any time, for good-as-new devices with zero effort.

You can add a USB hub to connect to multiple devices at once. You can also clone this setup to multiple locations, by adding additional Launchpad Windows PCs and Macs, with or without USB hubs. All locations will stay connected and synchronized via the GroundControl cloud.

How does GroundControl help with iOS Updates?

iOS updates include security updates, and we believe these are essential to maintain a well-functioning mobile fleet. GroundControl applies updates while devices are charging and locked, so you don’t disrupt an employee’s work. This is critical when devices are used 24-hours a day, as in healthcare. Our Launchpad software locally caches a copy of the iOS update file, saving tremendous WAN bandwidth and speeding updates. Our management cloud allows IT to set the timing of updates, so you can delay updates by a few days or weeks. You can even downgrade devices, usually allowed by Apple for a few weeks after a major release.

How does GroundControl Self Heal devices?

GroundControl now enables the time-tested technique of “wipe and re-image” for your iPhones. Your staff can flag an iPhone as “Unhealthy,” while in the field. They simply bring the device to a local charging station, and the device is reset as new in less than 5 minutes, without bothering busy IT staff.

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Tap & Go

Does Tap & Go work with my MDM?

Three components of Tap & Go – Locker app, Single Sign-On & Single Sign-Off – can be used separately or together.

The Locker app allows IT administrators to record which user takes which device, for accountability and a layer of security in software. The Locker app is supported by most MDMs. Please see Integrations chart for a list.

Single Sign-On allows for password-less authentication to compatible apps. This feature is currently available only for VMware Workspace ONE. We are working on compatibility with other identity management systems. Please contact us for more information.

Single Sign-Out sends signals to apps to sign-out as the devices are checked back in. This feature requires apps to meet the emerging SharedSSO standard. Please contact us for more information.

Does Tap & Go work with my existing proximity badges?

Yes. GroundControl works with your current identity management system. Our software requires a simple API to translate the raw badge data to a user. All data is kept local within your network for security.

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Licensing

How is GroundControl licensed?

We try to keep licensing simple and transparent. GroundControl is sold as an annual prepaid SaaS subscription with a base fee plus a tiered fee for the number of devices. Tap & Go is an additional per-device charge.

Public schools are entitled to a 50% discount.

Speak to one of our sales reps, and schedule a demo.