Carl Rodriques, founder and CEO of SOTI

Published: September 26th, 2017

As Carl Rodrigues, the CEO of SOTI Inc., was preparing to kick off the annual SOTI SYNC user conference in Niagara Falls, he saw a news article in the daily paper about BlackBerry looking to acquire his company.

That was news to him. Rodrigues founded SOTI in 1995 after he saw mobile devices on a desktop screen. More than 17,000 customers later, SOTI is firmly entrenched in the Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) space. And, he’s not interested in selling SOTI no matter what the offer is.

Instead, he wants to build the next great Canadian multi-national company. “For Canada, you have to have a vision; a long-term version. We are not a start-up and shut down. Nothing happens with that. And, they usually sell to a foreign entity. We create cool IP and our IP is Canadian. The future is IP and who has it has the power. That’s why it’s important for Canadian companies to have a long-term vision,” Rodrigues said.

At the SYNC 17 event, Rodrigues introduced new IP in SOTI MobiControl for Linux devices. This product comes on the heels of SOTI’s major release of the year SOTI ONE.

In terms of vision, Rodrigues is positioning SOTI with mobility for the enterprise. The company believes mobility is changing the way business is conducted. Mobility is everywhere and in every sector and SOTI with MobiControl will support Linux along with the other major operation systems IoS, Android and Windows.

“We are different because those that focus on managing devices are in the white-collar space. Ours is based on business-critical mobility. Take a courier. The guy is in the field and he has to work to make money. That’s what we look at,” he said.

Rodrigues also pointed out that SOTI customer McDonald’s in the U.K. developed a store of the future where kiosks will be mounted onto tables in the restaurant. Typically, kids go to McDonald’s order a Happy Meal and play in the Play Place. But this new type of mobility device will cater to multiple demographics and have social media. Parents will be able to read the news as their kids play. The more time in the store the more apt a person is to buy.

“This is business critical and not just white collar offices. We play in these sectors such as police, retail transportation and logistics,” he said.

Confounding the mobility evolution is the Internet of Things and SOTI has support for IoT as well. Gartner Group has predicted that by 2020 there will be more than 30 billion devices connected to the Internet.

For SOTI the company is not interested in the consumer portion of IoT. But Rodrigues said sensors will be empowering business to create new retail experience and new manufacturing experiences.

SOTI’s EMM solutions now can manage mixed mobility and IoT deployments. SOTI’s MobiControl, which is scheduled to be released at the end of October, enables remote support of Linux-based devices, machines and intelligent IoT end-points.

SOTI’s platform consists of these core components: MobiControl, SOTI Assist, SOTI Snap, and SOTI Central. SOTI Assist is a help desk solution, while SOTI Snap is an app generator.

“These components are different because they are designed to be mobile first. The help desk solution…well there are lots of help desk tools out there, but ours is for mobile. So, when a ticket is created it can ID the device in MobiControl and pull in all the info saving the person from typing in all that data,” he added.

According to Rodrigues, SOTI has grown 38 per cent through the channel. It has picked up 1,000 new partners in the last year and he expects more will join. SOTI has a partner program called Altitude and recently the company introduced SOTI Central, which works similar to an App Store. In SOTI Central solution providers will find apps, services and hardware that integrate with the SOTI ONE platform.

“A customer who wants to add hardware, we’ll capture that information and email that to a channel partner. But, unlike an App Store we do not take a cut of the margin. And, if they are interested in this tool they will be able to connect to our ecosystem. This tool caters to the partners,” Rodrigues said.

Currently SOTI has 3,000 channel partners globally.