Everyone who has used or played with any EMM solution out there has seen that one of the most challenging hurdles to clear is the enrollment process. I had previously written a blog post on how to set up a custom SMS provider with XenMobile, but due to customer requirements, I needed to come up with another method to enroll devices easily.
Therefore, I started looking into using QR codes. The idea is simple: Instead of trying to find a way to send SMS, we can send an email, which in turn generates a code on your computer screen, that any mobile device can read.
The upsides are that you do not need an agreement with any SMS provider, and that you can reach devices that do not handle SMS. Like tablets that may not have a GSM module built-in. The downside is that you need some QR reader installed on your device. For those who are not familiar with QR codes, they represent a structured way to turn any text into a picture that is readable by a computer. So, think of it as OCR that won’t fail. QR is most often used for encoding URLs into a picture, in order to distribute it easily. -And this is exactly what we will be doing today.
Luckily, Google and other providers have created free tools for everyone to use, in order to create codes. So in my examples here, I will use Google’s web site, chart.googleapis.com, which generates QR codes based on the URL POST request they are sent. Google have warned that they may turn their site off at any time, but there are others available, too, like http://goqr.me/api/.
So, let us dive into how you can use QR codes in your XenMobile environment!
First of all, you are probably aware that there is a concept in XenMobile that is called “Notification Templates”. This is where you can decide exactly what the text should look like in enrollment invitations, Worx Home download links and similar that are being sent out to your users. So, in order to send QR codes to users, you simply make sure the invitations you send out contain a link to generate QR code. In order to send out using email, I deactivate the SMS option in my invitations, so for enrolling, this is how my invitation template looks:
The URL you see here for creating the QR is very simple. You connect to https://chart.googleapis.com/chart, with the following parameters: “cht=qr” means “generate qr code”, “chs=150×150” means “create chart of size 150×150 pixels”, while the “chl” parameter defines what data to encode.
I have created a similar template for downloading the agent (Worx Home) for iOS:
In this example, I have also included text to assist the user in finding a QR reader that the example IT department has tested and recommend. A similar template should be created for Android as well.
The next step from here, is to set up these templates as default for invitations. This can be done by going into Settings –> Enrollment, choose your selected enrollment method, select the new templates as templates for the invitation method, and save.
Edit: Since XenMobile 10.7, we have also got some new, exiting macros in XenMobile! Have a look at the documentation for XenMobile 10.7 to learn more about this, and the new possibilities it opens up for us!
That’s it, you are now all set to start enrolling devices using QR codes!