What is Volo Solutions?
Name: Volo Solutions
When someone pitched a pie-in-the-sky idea on day one of Ben Londa’s new job at a web and app development company in 2016, little did he know what the idea would turn into. Now, he finds himself the President and CEO of that idea-turned-company, Volo Solutions, an in-room tablet provider for the healthcare and hospitality industries designed to engage and delight clients’ guests.
Built as a progressive web app deployable to any device, the company decided to start with iPads for a more luxurious, high-end experience. Volo looked to Apple to better understand options for deploying its custom app, how to manage iPads, and how MDM solutions fit into the equation. Ultimately, the company found that SimpleMDM’s robust features helped streamline the customization of configurations and settings for each client.
It was clear from the beginning that while Volo was a hotel application, it could be used in other industries. Years later, a skilled nursing facility that was about to open approached Ben and his cofounder desperately needing a solution that no one else wanted to provide. From that moment Volo was no longer just a hotel app. The company decided to give the client a shot, thereby opening the door to all sorts of healthcare industry opportunities, including drug and alcohol rehab facilities, hospitals, behavioral health clinics, and more.
Knowing Volo would need exceptional mobile device management to operate successfully, Ben started doing trials and demos with a couple of solutions, including SimpleMDM. He wanted to integrate their backend application with an MDM solution just once to avoid the unnecessary hassle of migrating from one MDM solution to another. Therefore, it was crucial to choose a solution that not only provided the necessary features and functionality for Volo to operate but also scaled seamlessly as the company grew.
“I really liked the feel I got from SimpleMDM — we were drawn to it. And so, we said, ‘We're going to do this once. We're not going to integrate the backend of our application with all these different MDMs, so we better make sure we're doing the right thing.’ And so, we did, and we put all of our eggs in the SimpleMDM basket and are happy to be here.”
SimpleMDM’s ease of use and execution are crucial for Volo as it signs on new clients.
Once the client has gone through the initial info-gathering and onboarding processes, devices are added via Apple Business Manager and connected to SimpleMDM for setup and configuration. Devices are then assigned to a Device Group via the SimpleMDM admin interface, where both the Volo app and SimpleMDM are provisioned, and any configurations or settings based on the client's specifications are applied.
With Apple Business Manager already central to its operations, Volo built its application as a private, custom App Store Connect (formerly known as B2B VPP) app so that licenses could be allocated to SimpleMDM and distributed directly to devices. This method allows for more control over which ABM accounts can access the app, which is essential for distributing custom apps to each client.
Other configurations and settings Ben regularly uses include the following:
Single App Lock allows only browsing in the Volo application (Single App Mode) and enables or disables any device functionality to enhance the user experience even further. These guardrails allow Volo Solutions to provide a streamlined experience to clients’ guests.
Wireless Network configures the Wi-Fi settings and restrictions for a device and allows the device to join the selected wireless network automatically.
The Restrictions profile enables or disables certain apps or functionality on the device. Common restrictions that Volo uses include hiding all system apps (like Calendar, Clock, App Store, and more), hiding Safari to restrict internet access, and disabling the camera.
The Wallpaper profile gives clients the flexibility to customize the background image on the lock screen and home screen.
The Software Update Policy for iOS profile configures software update preferences and pushes OS updates after the deferral period, giving Volo developers time to verify the app is working on the new OS version after deferring the update via the Restrictions profile.
When asked how SimpleMDM changed the way the team works and supports clients, Londa responded enthusiastically.
“It just kind of ties everything together. It’s the connection between Apple Business Manager; it's the connection between the hardware, the application, and the settings we have for each hotel. If we had to do this manually for each device, it would be unsustainable. It would be impossible.”