November 28, 2023 By Mark Stone 4 min read

As purpose-built devices become increasingly common, the challenges associated with their unique management and security needs are becoming clear.

What are purpose-built devices? Most fall under the category of rugged IoT devices typically used outside of an office environment and which often run on a different operating system than typical office devices. Examples include ruggedized tablets and smartphones, handheld scanners and kiosks.

Many different industries are utilizing purpose-built devices, including travel and transportation, retail, warehouse and distribution, manufacturing (including automotive) and healthcare. These devices, often running on Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and non-GMS (non-Google Mobile Services) platforms, are tailored to specific tasks and environments and can enhance productivity and streamline operations. However, managing and supporting these devices can pose a unique set of difficulties.

For the enterprise, investing in applications to manage these devices may seem like the only viable option. However, with the rapid advancements in Unified Endpoint Management (UEM) solutions, organizations can effectively manage and protect purpose-built devices without purchasing a separate, specialized app.

How can a modern UEM app seamlessly integrate and support purpose-built devices across various industries?

The power of a modern UEM app: Key benefits

A UEM solution is a comprehensive platform designed to manage and secure all types of devices. This includes smartphones, tablets, laptops and IoT devices, regardless of their operating system. UEM apps have evolved to support purpose-built devices and can be managed and protected just as efficiently as traditional devices.

Leveraging a wide range of powerful features and capabilities, organizations can address the unique challenges that purpose-built devices pose while streamlining their management processes.

Reduced costs are the most obvious benefit of a UEM app. However, businesses can also take advantage of these ten key benefits and functionalities.

Comprehensive device support: UEM apps support a wide variety of devices and operating systems, including Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and non-GMS platforms. This helps eliminate the need for additional specialized apps.

Customizable profiles and policies: A UEM app allows IT administrators to create custom profiles and policies tailored to specific device types and use cases, enabling them to fine-tune device configurations, security settings and access controls.

Enhanced security: Purpose-built devices often hold sensitive data and are used in critical operations. A UEM app enables IT administrators to implement robust security measures, such as encryption, secure data storage and advanced authentication, to protect from potential threats.

Device compliance: A modern UEM app can help ensure purpose-built devices adhere to industry-specific regulations. By automating device configuration and policy enforcement, a UEM app minimizes the risk of non-compliance and associated penalties.

Simplified updates and maintenance: A UEM app can automate software updates, patches and maintenance tasks for purpose-built devices. This ensures they remain up-to-date and secure — reducing downtime and maximizing device efficiency.

Reduced costs: By consolidating device management into a single UEM app, organizations can eliminate the need for multiple specialized apps, resulting in a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

Remote monitoring and troubleshooting: Modern UEM apps provide IT administrators with real-time visibility into the status and performance of purpose-built devices, including monitoring device health, network connectivity and battery life. UEM apps can also enable remote troubleshooting and diagnostics.

App management and distribution: A UEM app simplifies the process of deploying, updating and managing apps on purpose-built devices. IT administrators can centrally manage app catalogs, so devices have access to the latest versions of critical apps. IT teams can remotely install, update or remove apps on devices to streamline app management across the organization.

Context-aware management: By incorporating context-aware capabilities, UEM apps allow IT administrators to apply policies and configurations based on factors such as device location, network connectivity or user roles.

Scalability and future-proofing: A UEM app can scale and adapt to the evolving needs of an organization. As businesses grow and adopt new purpose-built devices, a UEM app can easily expand its support to accommodate these devices.

Integration with other IT systems: Current UEM apps seamlessly integrate with other IT systems and platforms, such as enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions, identity and access management (IAM) systems and IT service management (ITSM) tools.

What is UEM?

Which industries can benefit from UEM apps?

A modern UEM app can support purpose-built devices across a diverse set of industries. Here are the most common:

Travel and transportation: Purpose-built devices here often include ticketing machines, fleet management devices and navigation systems. A UEM app manages these devices efficiently, keeping them updated and protected from security threats.

Retail: Retailers rely on devices such as point-of-sale (POS) systems, inventory scanners and digital signage. A UEM app can manage these devices, secure payment transactions and streamline device deployment and updates.

Warehouse and distribution: Purpose-built devices such as barcode scanners, inventory management systems and forklift-mounted tablets are essential in a warehouse environment.

Manufacturing (including automotive): Manufacturers use purpose-built devices for quality control, production line automation and inventory management. Like in warehouse and distribution, a UEM app can help manage these devices, ensure they comply with industry standards and protect sensitive data.

Healthcare: Healthcare providers use purpose-built devices such as patient monitoring systems, medical imaging equipment and electronic health record (EHR) systems. A UEM app can help secure patient data, keep devices compliant with HIPAA and other regulations and simplify device management across the healthcare ecosystem.

How the enterprise can best leverage UEM

The increasing use of purpose-built devices across various industries requires a robust and flexible management solution. UEM apps have evolved to meet this challenge, providing a comprehensive platform that can effectively manage and protect purpose-built devices alongside traditional devices.

IBM commissioned Forrester Consulting to conduct a Total Economic Impact™ study to help IT and security leaders realize, demonstrate and justify the tangible value of their investment in unified endpoint management.

This study applied Forrester’s TEI methodology to examine the potential return on investment enterprises may capture by deploying IBM MaaS360 with Watson UEM.

Forrester interviewed and surveyed several customers with years of experience using MaaS360 to help key decision-makers identify the cost, benefit, flexibility and risk factors that affect their UEM investment decision.


By adopting a UEM app, organizations can centralize device management, enhance security, ensure compliance, streamline updates and maintenance and reduce costs. This allows businesses to fully leverage the benefits of purpose-built devices without the need for additional specialized applications.

Ultimately, that increased operational efficiency can give your organization the competitive advantage it needs.

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