New Canadian investments, enhanced IOT capabilities, highlight first SOTI SYNC event

Mississauga-based SOTI has announced major new R&D funding and job creation initiatives around its Canadian base, as well as important new Internet of Things and other partnering moves. The company also announced the winners of its Channel Partner awards.

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Roula Vrsic, SOTI’s vice president of marketing

At SOTI’s inaugual SOTI SYNC 2015 conference for their global users and partners, being held in Toronto, the Mississauga-based MDM vendor has made a flurry of announcements. These include joining the Cisco Solution Partner Program as a Solution Partner, which is designed to ramp up their already strong Internet of Things (IoT)/Internet of Everything (IoE) presence. SOTI also announced a major investment in Canada, which include a $50 million R&D investment and 300 net new jobs in Canada over the next 36 months, mainly in engineering and software development, and with IoT as a key area of focus.

“We have been leveraging IoT since 2005-2006, before it was even given that name,” said Roula Vrsic, SOTI’s vice president of marketing. “Since then we have been managing scanners, ATMs, digital signage, mobile POS devices, printers – anything with a wireless or Bluetooth connection.”

Vrsic said that what can be defined as Internet of Things encompasses up to 40 per cent of SOTI’s business.

“It is heavily vertical- focused, and began when we first started managing mobility and encountering the common pain points every organization has regardless of their vertical,” she added. “We work with wearable device companies. Panasonic also leverages our technology, as they have emergency vehicles with health care and biometrics that they manage through our technology.”

SOTI and Cisco have been working together for several years, but their joining the Cisco Solution Partner Program as a Solution Partner is designed to enhance their relationship around the IoT. Being a member of the Cisco Program will allow SOTI to more quickly create and deploy solutions to enhance the capabilities, performance and management of the network to capture value in the IoT.

“In particular, it gives us the ability to extend our support for a broader range of endpoints, and add in our identity component,” Vrsic said. SOTI MobiControl works with the Cisco Identity Services Engine to restrict access to network resources based on the identity or security posture of the mobile device.

The IoT is also a significant component in the multiple announcements of major investments in Canada that SOTI also announced at the event, which include a new $50 million investment in R&D.

“Two years ago, we only had R&D in Canada, but in the fall of 2013 we opened up a new R&D facility in Asia-Pacific.” Vrsic said. “And earlier this year, in a move that was all about IOT – we opened up a new Research and Innovation Lab in Waterloo which is set up as a think tank. Some of its projects will come to commercial fruition and some won’t. Its mandate though is to come up with those connected IoT solutions customers will need, even though they may not know it yet. What we are doing now, with the additional investment, is enhancing the strength of the core R&D facilities which are in Canada.”

SOTI also said that after increasing its Canadian-based staff by 30 per cent in the last year, they will add approximately 300 more new jobs in Canada during the next 36 months. The majority of them will be in engineering and software development roles focused on tech-centric innovation. The company will also be breaking ground on a new 150,000 square foot facility in Mississauga next spring, in order to house the expanded staff.

Most of SOTI’s revenues come from outside Canada, but Vrsic said the Canadian market has been showing recent strength.

“The reality is that North America accounts for only 50 per cent of our revenue, and of that, 10 per cent is Canada,” she said. “Partly it has been because Canada has been a little behind the U.S. in advanced mobility, but it has really been picking up in Canada. Canadian businesses have become more ready to advance mobility, to change the way they look at their businesses and make mobility a much bigger part of that.” Vrsic noted that in the last 12 months, security on mobile has risen again as a top security concern, with BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) giving way in some cases to CYOD (Choose your Own Device).

“CYOD gives IT more control by allowing employees to select from devices that IT knows it can protect,” Vrsic said. “It reflects the results of a battle between the CIO, who liked BYOD because it promoted cost efficiency, and the CISO, whose primary concern was security. The IOT has also been a factor here, because the mobile device is the thing the smart objects are hooked up to.”

SOTI also announced a new partnership with Certes Networks, which will combine Certes’ award-winning CryptoFlow Software-Defined Security solutions with SOTI’s EMM solutions. This will streamline the security of new enterprise applications extended to employee mobile devices, and let IT managers extend enterprise applications to any user on mobile devices with role-based access control and simplified key management.

“We have a lot of demand for effective control over our applications, and we find our partners are asking for this kind of partnership,” Vrsic said. “We have over 300 partnerships where we are both mutually certified to work on each other’s gear, and it’s a very important part of our go-to-market.”

Vrsic said that partner requests for specifics about other vendors whose solutions work with SOTI and which can address a particular pain point has been handled in the past by informal matchmaking by SOTI to put these relationships together.

“We will be expanding and formalizing this by introducing a partner marketplace for solutions that work with SOTI, and delivering it very shortly as a formalized program within our portal,” she said. “The timeframe for that is Q1 2016.”

SOTI also announced its SOTI Altitude Channel Partner Award winners at the event. They included Homecare Homebase as Application Partner of the Year, for their ability to build innovative solutions based on SOTI technologies that address critical customer needs. Data Select won Distribution Partner of the Year for having the highest number of new and active authorized resellers. Global Partner of the Year went to Barcoding, Inc., for being the VAR with the highest percentage of year-over-year growth. Honeywell took OEM Partner of the Year, for having the highest revenue growth for OEM licenses, geographic regions, and customers. Cloud Partner of the Year went to OCR (Canada), for being the VAR demonstrating outstanding overall results with SOTI cloud solutions.