By Anusha Ashwin
How good does it feel, when you know that you can control your employees’ apps and data usage on the company provided latest smartphone, from probably wherever you are? Feels Good Right! Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) software does that job for you. Providing a smartphone to a young field engineer might be inevitable, but you can sure lockdown the device to curb extra usage of data.
Bengaluru-headquartered 42Gears is at the forefront in offering varied EMM solutions and services.
Onkar Singh, Founder and CEO of 42Gears, while working at Symbol Technologies unearthed everything under EMM solutions. At Symbol, while working on enterprise mobile technologies, he discovered that there were gaps in the solutions available in the market. It hit him hard that he had an idea on hand and he could venture on his own to found a company that addresses those gaps. And in 2009, bootstrapped, 42Gears was launched. Singh roped in Prakash Gupta, the current CTO of 42Gears, to lay the technology foundation of the company.
What’s with the name — 42Gears?
Onkar Singh has the answer to it. “I wanted to come up with a name that everyone would recall. It is good to see people being curious about it. Like Gears in real world (in machines), our products enable mobility in business processes. 42 is a number I liked. Together they make a short curious name. I did explore the option of using ‘soft ‘or ‘info’ in the company name but that would have been clichéd.”
42Gears in top gear
From 2009, the journey for 42Gears has been on top speed. Starting in Bengaluru, the company now has offices in Fremont, US and Manchester, UK. In its eighth year now, 42Gears has 7000+ clients and has reached 106 countries with its products. A differentiating brand and product development strategy is helping Singh and his team gain the adequate momentum.
With the primary objective to improve productivity of enterprise workforce and to reduce device maintenance costs, 42Gears offers a wide range of Enterprise Mobility Management products, that support all major operating systems like iOS, Android, Windows and Linux. The company’s EMM Suite is used by businesses for managing their mobility deployments including Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) and Corporate Owned Single Use (COSU). 42Gears works on smartphones, tablets, printers, rugged devices, laptops, wearables and desktops.
“Wherever mobile devices are used for business purpose, our products are needed. We can partner with any industry, to help them in their mobility journey. Having said that, from our experience mobility adoption is increasing in verticals like retail, field services, education, construction, logistics and transportation, hospitality, financial services, healthcare and digital media marketing. We have customers of all types (large, SMB and startups) in all of these verticals,” indicates Singh.
Restricting cellular data usage and lockdown of devices: a must in today’s world
So, how does 42Gears help its clients? Mobile devices are general-purpose devices with loads of features and power-packed processing and computing capabilities. Most of the times organizations do not need that many in-built features and capabilities. They would want these devices to be used for a dedicated purpose with specific apps and features. Too many features are certainly a distraction for the users. Devices can be misused or can become unusable due to inadvertent changes in the settings. Give your employee or user a smartphone or a tablet-enabled with internet access and you will see drastic decrease in worker productivity and gigantic increase in mobile data costs. Misuse will most certainly affect the business application at some time. Steps in here is 42Gears’ solution.
“Our products provide easy ways to configure mobile devices into dedicated purpose devices ensuring access only to approved apps and functionality,” affirms Singh.
Much recently, 42Gears was in news for achieving a breakthrough in restricting cellular data consumption. Commenting about this, Singh says, “Data is premium for businesses. If not managed properly the bills can run out of control. Limiting the data usage on iPhones and iPads, in particular, has been a long-standing pain point for companies. The cost of exceeding data plans and the lack of visibility into managed iOS devices’ cellular usage has made it challenging to maintain company cellular data control policies. 42Gears has taken a big step in the management of iOS devices with the introduction of cellular data restrict functionality, offered through Telecom Management Policy of SureMDM. This has been well received by the market.”
The cellular data restrict functionality offered by SureMDM allows companies to set-up a strict limit for monthly data usage. Once this limit is reached, network connectivity on the device is automatically turned-off. This proves to be a useful feature for companies that usually purchase the business data plan in bulk for their mobile workforce.
“The need for lockdown of mobile devices was the primary thought for starting up 42Gears. Companies use general-purpose devices for business as manufacturing dedicated purpose devices is expensive and unviable for most businesses. The vision was to enable organizations, adopt off the shelf-mobile devices for business use by using our solutions to alleviate concerns of security and manageability,” Singh said throwing more clarity on 42Gears’ products.
Adept IoT device management
“IoT is not new for us. We have been managing connected mobile devices, printers, wearables, rugged devices and laptops. We are one of the few EMM vendors to support Android Wearables through our platforms. We have integrated with Raspberry pi. We are moving towards offering Unified Endpoint Management through our platform. We will continue to expand our platform to manage more connected devices,” expresses Singh.
Bag full of Awards & Accolades
42Gears is quite an interesting startup. The company has proved its worth by winning NASSCOM Emerge 50 India; InTech 50; Jio Economic Start-up Award 2015; Asia Red Herring 100 Finalist; Samsung Gold Partner for Enterprise Alliance Program; IE 20 India Emerging; Deloitte Technology Fast50 2016; CIO Advisory Top 25 Enterprise Mobility Technology Companies 2017; and with a mention by Gartner in Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Mobility Management Suites 2017.
With a growth rate well above the industry growth rate, 42Gears has been profitable since inception. Singh says the company’s headcount has been doubled in the past year. “We have just a little over 100 employees in our India, US and UK offices. As our customer base grows, we’ll be expanding our team to accommodate our growing business. We have recently set-up a sales office in Manchester, UK,” admits Singh.
Technology changes rapidly. Singh obviously is on top of upgradations for 42Gears’ products and services. Last year, he upgraded their EMM platform for scalability. With this 42Gears is now able to manage a deployment of 4,00,000 devices with the new architecture. The company is also strengthening its platform for Unified Endpoint Management with IoT in view, also working on providing analytics for the device data collected, enabling clients to make data-driven decision making.
42Gears being self-sufficient financially will remain bootstrapped for now, and has no plans to onboard external investors at the moment. But the tech team at 42Gears is going to busy in the coming years, as they will concentrate on new product development, especially for the wearables.
Singh, at the moment, has not lined up any M&As. “But we are open to acquiring companies that add to our capabilities and business. India is a key market for us. Our business has grown fastest in this geography. We have added many valuable customers. We now have a team operating out of Mumbai. We will continue to focus and expand our coverage. We are also expanding to global markets. We want to ensure our presence in multiple locations for seamless support to our customers. Our new office in the UK is a step in that direction. We want to offer our customers a platform that can secure, monitor and manage all end points,” ambitiously concludes Singh.