The tablet program faced a critical scalability issue. Without endpoint and mobile management tools, the staff had to completely rebuild each tablet following the factory reset to eliminate a borrower’s personal data.
Unified endpoint management, delivered by solutions provider O2 using MaaS360, combined with data usage controls from IBM Business Partner Asavie, enabled data privacy and fast turnaround.
Reduces timeneeded to prepare tablets from hours to minutes
Protects dataof borrowers and helps address GDPR requirements
Tracks effectivenesswith usage monitoring and program reporting
Business challenge story
Driving digital inclusion across the city
A number of factors are behind the city of Leeds’ drive to improve digital accessibility for residents. One is its own ambitious “100% Digital Leeds” goal in support of a “digital by default” strategy to deliver services. Another is the rollout of Universal Credit, a digital-only program that consolidates claims services for a number of different national social benefits.
Moreover, in living up to its motto “A compassionate city with a strong economy,” the city council is committed to reaching people who are disadvantaged in some way and, as a result, digitally excluded. While there are a number of agencies addressing digital inclusion in various ways, the council decided to consolidate its efforts through the Leeds Library Service to in turn provide resources, direction and support to the organizations that deliver services to target populations.
“We want to address those drivers, but as well we want people simply to have better outcomes in their own lives,” says Jason Tutin, Digital and Learning Development Manager for Leeds Library Service. “That could be reducing social isolation by using Facebook to keep up with friends and family and feel more a part of the community. Or it could be enabling people to look for a job online. This will allow us to engage more effectively with people than by saying ‘You can do council things online’.”
The Library Service devised an innovative tablet lending scheme to reach digitally excluded populations by taking internet access out into the community. However, from an early pilot that lent tablets to members of the Library at Home program, the service learned it could not scale an effort based on using iPads out of the box, with no additional management.
“Every time a customer would give back a tablet, we would do a factory reset to erase any personal data. But that also erased anything useful that we had preloaded onto the iPad, such as the link to our online catalog to help the customers borrow books,” says Jason Tutin. That meant staff would have to manually reload content onto each tablet before it could go out again—a process that was barely manageable with 20 tablets.
UEM delivered by MaaS360
With the goal of scaling up to 150 tablets in the program, the Library Service began conversations with suppliers about making the transition between users more efficient. Mobile communications provider O2 worked with the service to create a tailored, end-to-end solution for the tablet lending scheme.
MaaS360 provides the unified endpoint management (UEM) capabilities that are integral to the O2 solution, which includes iPad tablets, a monthly allowance of 5GB of mobile data per tablet, and a custom preload of apps, eBooks and a modified app store. The preload also includes links to council services such as housing and resources such as links, apps and digital content to help people manage their health.
UEM from MaaS360 gives the Library Service fine-tuned control and centralized management over the tablets it lends. Tablets can be tracked and controlled to maintain service and security. In the case of loss or theft, a tablet can be remotely locked and wiped.
“Now with MaaS360, when a tablet comes back, we can do a factory reset to wipe the borrower’s data without losing the preloaded image,” Jason Tutin says, noting that wiping the data is a critical capability for addressing data privacy requirements of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Solution in hand, the Library Service worked with O2 to identify local charities and community support organizations serving people most at risk of being digitally excluded, including care leavers (young people ageing out of care and supervision programs), the elderly and refugees. Three were selected for a three-month pilot program that gave each program 10 tablets to lend to clients.
“People were using the tablets for exactly the kinds of things we wanted them to be able to do,” Jason Tutin says. For example, care leavers were using the tablets to search for jobs online and prepare for further education. One participating agency was teaching its refugee clients English as a second language. Tablet borrowers were learning in part by watching YouTube videos of English classes.
“But they were watching the videos in high definition, full screen, using the SIM card. That meant they were using up their 5GB mobile data allowance in a couple of days. This was a problem we had not anticipated.”
O2 brought IBM Business Partner Asavie, a technical partner for MaaS360, on board to provide mobile data control as part of the overall tablet management solution. Integrated into both MaaS360 and the SIM card, Asavie Moda monitors mobile data use and, when a consumption threshold of 2.5GB is met, throttles connectivity speed back to 2G or less. This significantly conserves data use while maintaining an acceptable level of service, even for watching videos.
“Without the controls offered by the Asavie Moda solution, we would have been faced with the difficult choice of unsustainable data costs or switching the SIM connection off when users reached the pre-set 5GB data limit,” says Jason Tutin, adding that the Asavie Moda functionality also locks the SIM card to the tablet so it can’t be used with another mobile device.
Scaling up to bridge the city’s digital divide
Following its successful proof of concept, the Leeds Library Service expanded its “inventory” to 150 tablets and is working with social service agencies and charities across the city to tackle digital exclusion and bring measurable improvements to the lives of Leeds citizens.
The program expansion is possible because of the control and efficiency offered by the UEM capabilities of MaaS360 and mobile data optimization and SIM controls from Asavie Moda. MaaS360 helps the Library Service protect the personal data of the agencies’ clients from online threats. Being able to wipe that personal data without deleting the preloaded links and apps enables the staff to quickly and easily turn around tablets for the next borrower.
The solution also provides comprehensive usage data that the Library Service can use to report on how the tablets are being used and thus measure the effectiveness of its program.
“If 20 tablets are loaned to a charity that deals with homelessness, for example, and 60 percent of the time they are used to access online housing services, we can report that impact back to City Council,” says Jason Tutin. “It’s a lot more effective than asking people to write down what websites they are visiting.”
Leeds Library Service
Leeds Library Service operates 34 libraries across the city of Leeds in West Yorkshire, England. With an estimated population of 780,000, Leeds has become the largest legal and financial center outside London. The city is committed to making sure that all citizens benefit from its thriving economy and to increasing digital inclusion across at-risk populations. The Library Service is leading that effort with the 100% Digital Leeds initiative. To learn more, visit: www.digitalinclusionleeds.com
Take the next step
To learn more about unified endpoint management with IBM MaaS360 with Watson, visit: https://www.ibm.com/security/mobile
To learn more about mobile solutions from O2, visit: https://www.o2.co.uk/business
To learn more about the Asavie Moda mobile data optimization solutions from Asavie, visit: https://www.asavie.com/asavie-moda