Catching up with SOTI on Android for Work, remote control, and RMAD

SOTI had their user conference this week—here’s what they’re up to and what the big topics were.

Earlier this year I wrote an overview of EMM vendor SOTI. We haven’t covered them much at BrianMadden.com, but they do have a significant presence in the mobile space going back 20 years, so they should definitely be on our radar. Among other things, they specialize in managing ruggedized devices and Android.

Anyway, this week SOTI is hosting their user conference in London, so I caught up with Roula Vrsic, SOTI’s chief marketing officer, to find out what they’re showing off.

One of the big topics for SOTI this week is Android for Work. Roula said that at this point, fewer than 10% of their customers are using it, but also that there’s a lot more interest these days. SOTI saw a spike in trials over the last couple of quarters, and many of their partners have been getting a lot of requests for it, too. Early on, most of the interest in Android for Work was for corporate-owned devices, but now there’s more interest in using it for BYOD.

This is a reminder that Android for Work—especially for BYOD—is going to take time. I was impressed to learn they have customers with it in production already. Remember, it’s only been about a year and half since devices that support Android for Work started appearing in the wild. Now we’re getting to the point where it could start to spread more.

One of SOTI’s signature capabilities is remote control for Android. Usually this requires device manufacturers to integrate components from SOTI (they have about 70 or 80 OEM partners that do this). However, soon SOTI will announce remote control for any device that supports Android for Work. Of course when Android for Work is in profile-owner mode (the work/personal separation mode for BYOD), the remote control capabilities will only apply to the work profile.

Another new capability that SOTI is showing off at their event is a preview of a new rapid mobile app development (RMAD) platform, which will go into a public beta in January. I’ve always liked the idea of having some sort of basic app creating tools come along with EMM, as it could be a convenient entry point for customers to get started with in-house apps.

Since SOTI's event is in London, they’re highlighting their EMEA growth, with includes a 41% increase in sales in their fiscal year (which ended July 31st).

The last thing we talked about was IoT. Of course there’s plenty of hype out there, but SOTI is reminding customers that they don’t have to boil the ocean and connect everything at once—instead, customers should look at specific opportunities that are either already in place or that could benefit their business. Of course some customers are already doing IoT things (even if it doesn’t always have that trendy label), and SOTI is working on it, too. SOTI is going down the path of connecting mobile and IoT, and in the immediate future they see value in it as an extension of business-critical apps and devices.

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