SOTI continues path beyond EMM with new analytics, IoT and identity solutions for SOTI ONE platform

SOTI Insight, the new analytics capability, is intended to be just the start of what will provide customers with a broad range of granular use cases.

Mississauga-based SOTI recently held their fifth annual SOTI SYNC event, at the Fairmont Royal York hotel in Toronto. The company made major news on the product front, announcing three new solutions to their platform, as well as making significant additions to existing ones, and announcing several of their solutions will now be available on the Azure cloud.

“SOTI has grown in many ways,” said Ryan Webber, Vice President of Enterprise Mobility at SOTI. “SOTI is no longer just an Enterprise Mobility Management [EMM] provider. We started out in the space, but identified further mobile problems and challenges within it that our EMM solution can complement. With the three new solutions we announced at SOTI SYNC, the SOTI ONE platform now has seven different components, giving our channel the ability to solve mobile challenges. And with the evolution of the product has come the evolution of SOTI SYNC.”

SOTI launched in 2001 in the EMM space, and within several years was also managing devices like ATMs and printers in what eventually became known as the Internet of Things. Their principal competition remains traditional EMM vendors like AirWatch and MobileIron.

“The platform has evolved over the last four years, and last year received a boost when we introduced the first version of SOTI Snap,” Webber said. SOTI Snap is a cross-platform solution designed to facilitate rapid app development.

SOTI is targeted at four key verticals: retail; health care; transportation and logistics; and field services. They generally emphasize the management of ruggedized purpose-built devices.

“Our strength is in the Fortune 200 in the US, and the Fortune 500 globally,” Webber noted. “American Airlines, one of our high-profile customers, uses us in all eight of their business units. They are transportation and logistics, but also have a retail element. Our partner community supports their key verticals.”

Webber noted that SOTI SYNC is now a four-day event – relatively long for an event with 600 attendees.

“The first day is focused on training customers and partners around key product elements, especially our flagship SOTI MobiControl products,” Webber said. Version 15 of SOTI MobiControl had its official launch at the event.

The second day was keynotes with the announcement of new  releases, followed by breakouts.

“The new releases is where we have really evolved,” Webber stated.

Three new platform solutions were announced at SYNC.

SOTI Insight is a business intelligence solution that provides analytics around customers’ mobility deployments.

Ryan Webber, VP of Enterprise Mobility at SOTI

“What is unique about Insight is that we are integrated into customers’ mobile devices, and extract the data by being able to control mobile endpoints,” Webber stressed. “We provide analytics specifically around applications that their employees use day in and day out. Are they even using the applications? What elements of the applications are they using?  Those provide a coaching mechanism. Battery analytics is also very important for us because of the ruggedized emphasis. Customers want to extend battery life as long as they can in their rugged devices, which are expensive. Insight tells them how long the batteries are lasting, and what factors are degrading it.” Insight also provides location-based metrics.

“The intent with Insight is to evolve it to become more and more granular,” Webber noted.

SOTI Connect provides complete lifecycle management of IoT devices within an organization, with a flexible architecture that makes IoT device management easier than in the past. This initial version of Connect is focused on printing.

“Where we differentiate ourselves is our ability to solve other challenges with our platform that others can’t, especially with Connect and IoT,” Webber said. “We have been in a beta stage for the last two years with this. The challenge was identifying use cases, so we partnered with printer companies to integrate with their devices.”

Webber said that SOTI Connect will be particularly valuable to the company’s channel partners.

“It opens the discussion for partners to manage other mobile endpoints,” he said. “Our channel community has been focused on selling hardware. They bundle in as many different solutions as they can. So the ability to manage mobile printers is valuable to them. They sell the hardware but haven’t been able to manage those endpoints and now we have given them the functionality to do that.”

The third new solution is SOTI Identity.

“The need for us to provide identity which streamlines the user experience has become more critical as we evolve and add more solutions to the SOTI ONE Platform,” Webber said. “This was really built out of necessity.” SOTI Identity provides centralized user authentication, and single sign-on and role management across the platform.

Enhancements were also announced to the existing SOTI MobiControl, and to SOTI Assist and SOTI Snap.

SOTI MobiControl has added high-end scalability with XTreme, a new Android Scripting Engine for JavaScript that lets admins script complex management actions that can execute autonomously. Support for bulk device actions, locating groups of devices, and more granular permissions have also been enhanced.

SOTI Assist, their help desk, adds new collaboration and diagnostic capabilities to improve first call resolution. A new annotation feature lets help desk agents and device users collaborate by drawing on top of app screens. Remote sessions can now be recorded with audio, and device logs from mobile devices can be automated to attach to tickets.

The SOTI Snap app developer tool adds support for Blockly visual programming to allow non-technical users to add logic to their apps.

“It lets customers create an application by dragging and dropping widgets onto a blank campus, essentially automating that process that is Snap, and making it possible to create apps much more quickly,” Webber said.

SOTI also announced an expansion of their long-standing relationship with Microsoft with the ability for customers to host SOTI MobiControl and SOTI Assist in Microsoft Azure.

“What’s really exciting about this is that we are providing our customer base with an alternative offering for cloud, to add to our existing support for AWS,” Webber noted. “With retail in particular, there’s a need for options, and providing Azure gives them another choice.”

Looking forward, Webber said that customers are particularly eager for more analytics around SOTI Insight,

“The reality of the EMM space is that it will be completely commoditized in 5-10 years,” Webber noted. “With SOTI Insight, we are literally able to give them the data set to create new revenue streams. This is what gets customers on the edge of their seats – the evolution of business analytics tools.”

All the new SOTI solutions will be available on November 4, 2019.