From Phones to Drones…and Beyond. Managing Different Types of Machines with SOTI MobiControl and Linux


At the turn of the century, SOTI MobiControl (and its predecessor, SOTI Pocket Controller) provided Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) for the mobile devices of the day: BlackBerrys, Windows PDAs and Palm Pilots.

Today, as part of the SOTI ONE Platform, SOTI MobiControl secures and manages smartphones, tablets, rugged devices, Internet of Things (IoT) endpoints and even technology like Google Glass in field services, healthcare and retail. With the advent of SOTI Aerospace, SOTI MobiControl will soon be managing and monitoring drone technology. 

What’s next on the horizon for SOTI MobiControl? At a very high level, if a device has a rich operating system (OS), it can be managed by SOTI MobiControl. And there’s no OS that’s found in more disparate devices than Linux. 


Linux is Everywhere  

Linux’s versatility is a result of its open source nature. In fact, 80% of IoT devices run on Linux. It’s free and anyone can modify Linux’s code to suit their needs.  

Comparatively speaking, only a fraction of computers use Linux when compared to other operating systems, such as AndroidApple and Windows. But Linux can be found in a slew of devices including: 

  • In-flight entertainment systems 
  • RFID readers 
  • Forklift computer panels 
  • Smart thermostats 
  • Gas station control panels 
  • Vehicle information and entertainment systems 

Linux can also be found on Mars, as the Ingenuity helicopter drone uses the Linux OS. 

Even the drones of SOTI Aerospace, once they’re sky-bound, will be running a Robot Operating System (ROS) with Linux Ubuntu as its underlying system. 

Speaking of which, enterprise drone technology is one of the fastest growing markets today. In 2020, 5 million drones were shipped for commercial or industrial applications. By 2030, that number will nearly double to 9.6 million enterprise drones 

What’s Next? 

Continuing to talk about SOTI MobiControl and Linux, normally a Linux device sits inside the four walls with no Internet access. When the SOTI MobiControl Linux device agent is installed, it creates an outbound connection and provides an additional level of remote device management and makes it feel like the user is right at the device. 

This is critical because in many instances, Linux devices are in hard-to-reach areas, such as warehouse drones high in the air or temperature sensors affixed to a ceiling. Without the agent, a physical USB connection is required to access or even upgrade the Linux-powered device. 

With SOTI MobiControl, potentially anything running Linux (or flavors of Linux such as Red Hat or Ubuntu) can potentially be managed if the device manufacturer provides access. In theory: 

  • A Linux-powered vehicle information system can be managed to only display maps and other business-critical information such as delivery or pick-up instructions. 
  • Robots with cameras mounted on them can be monitored and managed to perform repetitive tasks or jobs which are too dangerous for humans to perform. Should an issue occur, SOTI MobiControl could diagnose, troubleshoot and resolve it remotely. 
  • Automatic forklift trucks can provide self-delivery from one area to another within a warehouse, or onto the back of a waiting transport truck or delivery van. And in fact, touch panel computers on forklifts are already being managed with SOTI MobiControl for data collection and logistics applications and security purposes. 
  • Car manufacturers are using a variation of Linux called Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) for things like in-car information and entertainment systems. Eventually, Linux can be used to power self-driving/autonomous vehicles to enhance vehicle performance and driver safety. 
  • Smart boards or interactive whiteboards are found in over 250,000 classrooms around the world and many of them are powered by Linux. With SOTI MobiControl providing EMM, teachers are able to engage and students are able to learn in ways never before possible.  

There’s really no limit to what Linux can power and, by extension, there’s really no limit to what devices SOTI MobiControl can manage.  


Why Use SOTI MobiControl for Linux Management? 

All the examples of Linux-powered devices listed in this blog have the same common requirements: 

  • Monitoring: Data from must be collected for real-time visibility into the performance and status of Linux deployments. 
  • Support: Remotely viewing and controlling Linux devices when issues occur reduces downtime. 
  • Automation: Performing routine device maintenance on a regular schedule keeps Linux devices healthy. 
  • Security: Locking down devices protects data, enhances security and maintains regulatory compliance. 
  • Deployment: Whether it’s an RFID reader, laptop, printer or something else, enrolling Linux devices must be quick and seamless. 

This is what SOTI MobiControl does: it secures, manages and lowers the total cost of ownership (TCO) for the Linux devices of today and strives to do the same for the Linux devices of tomorrow…and beyond. 

Want to Learn More? 

If you have Linux – or are planning to deploy Linux – in your organization, you need to manage those devices. The smart option to do that is with SOTI MobiControl. 

For more information: 

You can also try SOTI MobiControl free for 30 days and see just how effective and easy it can be to manage your fleet of Linux-powered devices.