Dude, Where’s my Phone?, ask AirWatch


Looking outside at 6:30 AM to see 9 inches of snow resting on top of a hotel shuttle van is something I have been waiting for just as long as I’ve been waiting for the Buffalo Bills to make the playoffs again (17 Years).

I’ve been snowboarding since I was 12 years old. Since then, I’ve been waiting to go out West and catch a powder day. Now was finally my chance.

This is where I could bore you with the little details of the excitement of getting ready, rushing through breakfast, bla bla bla. All that mattered was getting to the top of the mountain and strapping in.

10,000 vertical feet later I was at the top of Steamboat’s Storm Peak. I wanted to document everything. The snow falling, the unpacked powder, every run down every slope. Not having a GoPro, I had to leave this up to my relatively new, relatively expense iPhone X.

The problem with using your phone to document your day on the mountain is that you are constantly taking it in and out of your pocket. The number one rule when doing this. ALWAYS ZIP YOUR POCKETS.

Well given the title, I am sure you can guess what I did next……

After forging my own lines deep in the trees of Steamboat’s Triangle 3 run, I was grinning ear to ear. Waiting for my girlfriend Danielle to catch up I decided I was going to catch a video of her making her way down only to discover my pocket was empty and my phone was no longer with me.

These days losing a phone is kind of like losing a body part.

I quickly grabbed Danielle’s phone to active Find My iPhone to only realize I never configured it on my new phone.

At this point I gave up hope and accepted the fact it was gone forever.

As we got on the next chair for another run, I remembered that I had installed AirWatch, our organization’s Mobile Device Management platform.

AirWatch standardizes and secures our mobile devices that access our organization’s data. With the platform, we can ensure mobile devices are up to date, encrypted, require passcodes, deploy applications, etc.

Remembering this, I called our helpdesk. Sam picked up and said, Burns lets do this.

Sam suggested first, see if we can geo-locate the phone. Then send a command for a repeating audio ping so hopefully someone will hear it. Lastly we’ll configure the home screen to display a message to call Danielle’s phone if found.

This gave me the confidence that there was a chance. I made a couple more runs with my ears tuned to listen for a ping but no luck.

Approximately an hour later we got a voicemail on Danielle’s phone. It was ski patrol….with my phone. “Meet me at the Four Points lodge to get your phone, I’ll be here til 10:45, if not it will be at the lost and found at the base.”

It was 10:40. I strapped up and put on a run Warren Miller would of been proud of.

Running into the lodge, there was Alan, the Ski Patrol guy, gearing up to head back out. He told me a women heard my phone ringing in the woods and gave him the phone. Sam’s idea worked flawlessly. I couldn’t thank him enough, offered to buy him a beer but….he was on the job.

For the remainder of the day, I was able to rest easy. I wasn’t so much worried about losing my phone but was having difficult coping with the fact I would need to spend a large sum of money to replace it. Luckly Sam, Alan, the mystery lady and AirWatch all saved the day.

When people think of Mobile Device Management at work they think of unnecessary applications and work is watching their every move. In reality, this access can be safely segregated and allow the application to act as an awesome safety net that can assist with locating lost devices, as well as securing the data that it has access to.