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Hob to Showcase HTML5 Clients

RSA talk with Siegfried Plommer, VP International Sales for HOB GmbH

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. Please tell us, what is HOB all about and what do you do?

Siegfried Plommer: HOB is all about secure business connectivity. We strive to provide our customers with software solutions that enable simple and secure remote access to centrally stored company data. The focus of our products lies on a maximum level of security for your data. Another goal of HOB is to develop solutions that don't require installation or administration rights on the client side. With HOB products employees can access corporate data from anywhere, at anytime and from almost any device.

Regarding myself, I have been with HOB since 2011, and am the VP of International Sales. I am responsible for representing HOB internationally. Therefore, I regularly attend tradeshows all around the world, present our newest software solutions as well as talk to partners and potential customers.

What are you launching at RSA?

Plommer: At RSA, we are showcasing the latest innovations and features of our most popular software solutions. Also, we will be talking about our first HTML5 clients, which will be a huge leap forward in the field of remote access solutions. With an HTML5 client, users will be able to access corporate resources using their web browser only. Java Plugins may become obsolete for basic access scenarios. Many of our Java based solutions offer advanced features though, which will not work in a pure HTML5 environment, due to missing HTML5 functionality. For companies and users this means that basic connections to a remote server will become even easier and more comfortable than it already is.

The biggest challenge in winning over new clients is to prove that our solutions are superior to the ones from our competitors. We still consider ourselves a hidden champion, although large customers like Citi, Barclays, Deutsche Bank and many more global corporations are already working with us! Juniper is our OEM partner for one of our client products, and in 2013 we entered into a Technology Alliance Partnership with F5. Fighting against the marketing machinery of those global companies can be tough, but we are winning over customers by forming strong personal relationships and consulting them individually to find a solution that suits them best.

Who is your target audience and how do you intend to reach them?

Plommer: Our target audiences are businesses of any size that are looking for a way to provide secure remote access to centrally stored company data. Since all of our products are software-based solutions, they can be implemented within any existing IT infrastructure. Due to our flexible licensing models, we can make sure that small companies are also able to afford our software.

In order to reach potential customers, we use a mix of different communication channels. On the one hand, we are using traditional channels such as print advertisements and trade shows. On the other hand, we embrace marketing possibilities of the internet and social media. With our inbound marketing approach, we reach people who are actually searching for a solution to one of their IT problems. To help people find the right solution for them, we offer several free e-books and whitepapers. Moreover, we are regularly blogging and engaging with potential customers on Twitter and Facebook.

I'd be curious to hear any general thoughts you have on market trends...

Plommer: In general, the awareness and demand for security solutions has been increasing during the last couple of months - probably because of the NSA affair. At HOB, we believe that this trend is going to continue. In a survey that we conducted at the end of last year, we were able to see that CIOs and CTOs in the USA are expecting their IT budgets to increase significantly and that they are planning to invest into remote access solutions.

Another more specific market trend is the increasing demand for secure mobility solutions. Employees are increasingly requesting to work from home or while on the go. Moreover, the consumerization of IT makes people want to use their own personal devices for working remotely - also known as BYOD. At HOB, we already have solutions that help businesses to fulfill the wishes of their employees and increase their productivity at the same time.

Who are your competitors?

Plommer: Our biggest competitors are the big players of the IT security industry such as Cisco and Citrix. But we are also aware of the fact that there are a lot of start-ups entering the security market. Regardless of the size of the company, we keep a close eye on our competitors and try to develop unique features that differentiate us from the competition.

How do you differentiate from your competitors?

Plommer: We focus on secure remote access solutions that seamlessly blend into existing IT infrastructures. Delivering software-only means, that we are less "intrusive" which definitely helps to protect existing investments. We provide our clients with excellent service. The longevity of the customer relationships we've forged over the years (in some cases over 20 years!) is a testament to our ability to provide a good combination of innovative products and excellent customer care.

What business or technology could yours disrupt?

Plommer: Having been in this industry a long time, since 1964, we are not looking to disrupt a business or technology. Instead, we are constantly working to keep our competitive advantages, knowing full well that there is a lot of competition, including start ups that are looking to disrupt our business. We are confident that our experience in the IT industry and hiring new academic talent will help us preserve our competitive advantage in the future.

Who founded the company, when? What can you tell me about the story of the company's founding?

Plommer: HOB Electronic GmbH & Co. KG was founded in 1964, as an electronics enterprise, by Horst Brandst├Ątter. The name HOB is an acronym formed from his name.

In 1981, HOB began developing software and terminals for IBM mainframe computers. Ever since we have been constantly improving our solutions and enhancing our product portfolio.

What is your distribution model? Where to buy your product?

Plommer: We are mainly distributing our products via our distributor and partner network. As a customer, you can purchase our products from several System Integrators/computer retailers all around the world. We also have branches and distribution partners in the United States, Mexico and Malta.

What's next on your product roadmap?

Plommer: We are continuously updating and improving our existing product portfolio. A next big step will be the development of HTML5 clients. As I mentioned before, HTML5 clients will allow users to connect to corporate resources by using only their web browser. Java Plugins, which are currently being used in our solutions, will become more obsolete. For companies and users this means that connecting to a remote server will become even easier and more comfortable than it already is.

Other information if applicable:

Plommer: We would be happy to welcome anyone who is interested in our products or the IT Security industry at our booth at the RSA: #3231 (North Hall). If you are not able to visit RSA, you can visit us on www.hobsoft.com or email ys at [email protected].

Partnerships, collaborations or affiliations:

Plommer: We are currently working in a Technology Alliance Partnership with F5 and with Juniper as our OEM customer.

Federal or state grants, contracts or awards received:

Plommer: HOB has received several awards over the last few years. In 2013 we were Gold recipient of the Golden Bridge awards in the categories "Access Innovation", "Remote Access Solution Innovation" and "VPN/IPSec/SSL Innovations". We also received the Hot Companies and Best Products Gold Award in the category "Cloud Security" and the Info Security Global Excellence Gold Award for "Access" in 2013.

HOB, Inc. is a fully owned subsidiary of HOB GmbH & Co. KG. It was founded in New Jersey in April 2000 and is currently headquartered in Hawthorne, NY. HOB GmbH & Co. KG is a German medium-sized company, developing innovative and multiply rewarded software solutions that are marketed worldwide. The core competencies of the successful company HOB, founded in 1964, comprise server-based computing, secure remote access, VoIP and virtualization. HOB products are deployed in small, mid-sized and large enterprises. Further, some HOB products are certified according to Common Criteria. HOB remote access solutions received the quality mark from TeleTrust "IT Security Made in Germany."

More Stories By Xenia von Wedel

Xenia von Wedel, Tech blogger and VP of Socialradius/San Francisco-San Jose. She mainly writes about B2B solutions, social media and open source software. SocialRadius is a full-service social media marketing agency, serving clients in a variety of industries worldwide. The agency is focused on thought leadership content creation and syndication, social media outreach and strategy.