Wibu-Systems Blog

Monetizing IoT Devices

Posted by Terry Gaul on Jul 31, 2015 7:59:31 AM

Aside from the widespread attention and hype surrounding the prolific growth expectations of the Internet of WP-integrityprotection-cov_Things (IoT), industry focus has been on potential (IoT) device vulnerabilities and cybersecurity. The recent well publicized cyberattack demonstration on an automobile adds more fuel to the fire. However, industry analyst firm Gartner adds another interesting topic to the IoT discussion. They point out that with software at the core of embedded systems, manufacturers of IoT devices will soon be consumed with understanding the importance of software monetization.

In a recent news release, Laurie Wurster, research director at Gartner, said: "By monetizing the software on their devices, these (IoT) vendors will be able to increase and drive recurring revenue streams, creating billions of dollars of additional value. For example, with an estimated 25-plus billion 'things' in the marketplace, and if manufacturers are able to collect an average of $5 for software from each of these installed units, that translates to additional revenue estimated at $130 billion."

While software monetization strategies were an ongoing focus for successful ISVs of conventional PC applications for the past decade or more, it is a novel concept for this new breed of embedded system manufacturers. But once they have a full understanding of the financial benefits of a solid software monetization strategy, these IoT “software vendors” will be heading down the same path to maximize revenues.

What can IoT device manufacturers learn from the past experiences of ISVs about monetizing their IoT devices? I see three key areas of note:

  1. license lifecycle management
  2. software protection for the ISV and security for the user of the IoT device
  3. security implementation

Let’s take a closer look:

License Lifecycle Management

Device manufacturers will need to learn how embedded software can be leveraged to create product differentiation and provide competitive advantages. An agile licensing schema will facilitate software monetization techniques that will enable them to quickly adjust product functionalities, pricing and compliance needs and enable new business models – such as Pay-Per-Use or Features on Demand - to adapt to the ever changing market requirements. A comprehensive license lifecycle management strategy will not only provide a flexible licensing component, but also help to increase revenue growth through operational and logistical cost reductions and efficiency optimization.

Software Protection and Security

Flexible licensing models paint only half of the license lifecycle management picture. The other half relates to the protection and security of the device and the software itself. Without fool-proof protection, it is all too easy for unscrupulous hackers to attack embedded devices by tampering with unprotected software code, disabling insecure license management systems, or extracting proprietary code to reverse engineer and build counterfeit products. ISVs have learned the hard way how this rampant criminal activity adversely affects bottom line revenues. And, this is just as true for IoT device manufacturers. But it’s not all about ISVs. Users of IoT devices also benefit from these security mechanisms.

Security Implementation

Finally, many ISVs learned over the years that licensing and security are complex and not necessarily a core strength of their developers. Some of those ISVs who struggled to build their own licensing systems often overburdened their development resources and took them away from their strength – developing application code. Other ISVs turned to commercial licensing solutions and security experts, and partnered with them. This is an important lesson for IoT device manufacturers as well. I’ve already seen many solutions where the access to a device or the activation of a feature was protected by a simple password. Once hacked over the Internet these features became available to anyone. Cryptographic methods are only one part of the equation; their implementation is as important as the technology itself. With the growing concerns over connected device vulnerabilities and cyberattacks, security is one area that needs to be considered as early as possible in the device development process together with security professionals.

I hope I have conveyed the importance of license lifecycle management. If you would like to learn more about license lifecycle management, I invite you to review our white paper Integrity Protection for more information.

Topics: License Management, secure licensing, software monetization, embedded security, Internet of Things, cybersecurity

Important Considerations in Choosing a 3rd Party Licensing Platform

Posted by Terry Gaul on Mar 26, 2015 5:42:57 AM

If you have decided to integrate a 3rd party licensing solution for your software application, you’ve made the right choice. By doing so, you’ve freed up your developers to do what they do best — write code; you’ve given your marketing team the ability to deliver the software in a manner that is most desirable for the customers in discrete market segments; and, you’ve protected and monetized your software so that you generate the revenues that you deserve from your development and commercialization efforts.CodeMeter License Central

But now the question is which 3rd party solution should you choose? There are several options out there and each solution offers a different approach to licensing. In making your decision, there are several key factors to consider:

Licensing Flexibility — the licensing platform of choice should enable you to create, deliver, activate, update and manage licenses using the business model that’s optimum for your customers without compromise, whether it is single user licenses, network licenses, feature on-demand licenses, demo/trial licenses, pay-per-use licenses, or whatever license model you dream up. This licensing flexibility gives your marketing team the tools they need to define and deliver the product in the optimal manner for each unique market segment and generate the most revenue.

License Security — the licensing platform should provide mechanisms to securely store and deliver licenses, whether it is via a hardware device (Dongle) or PC-bound soft license file. Dongles offer the highest security and portability from PC to PC while soft licenses offer the fastest delivery and activation. Either way, the licensing system should ensure that only authenticated, licensed users can activate and utilize the software.

Easy Integration into Your Business Processes — for ease-of-use and to reduce costs, the licensing solution should integrate seamlessly into your existing ERP, CRM, eCommerce or other business processes using industry standard tools such as SOAP. It should also be capable of accessing your existing databases, such as Oracle, MySQL, and MS-SQL. And, it should have a customer facing portal that can be branded and customized to support your end-users.

License Activation Options — the solution should provide activation options that are best suited for your business model. You should have the flexibility to activate licenses online from within the software application or via an internet web portal; or offline via file transfer from the computer with the software application to another computer with access to the portal.

Hosting Flexibility —the solution should provide you with the option to host your license server on a local web server or host and manage in the cloud of the provider of the licensing system.

Software Monetization — in addition to licensing flexibility, the solution should provide data mining, analytics and reporting capabilities to give you the ability to make sound business decisions and the agility to shift your marketing strategy as market requirements change.

Vendor Reliability — choose a 3rd party licensing partner that you can trust. How long have they been in business? What is their business strategy — are they dedicated to licensing or do they have other interests? Who are their key customers? How good is their support?

At Wibu-Systems, we have focused solely on software protection and secure licensing for more than 25 years and we remain committed to innovation and continuity for the future. Our ongoing mission is to accompany the growth of your business with stability, expertise, and long-term vision. Learn more about CodeMeter License Central, our comprehensive solution that enables you to easily create, manage and distribute your licenses.  I invite you to contact us to discuss your licensing needs, or try our licensing solution with the CodeMeter Evaluation System.

Request a CodeMeter Evaluation System

Topics: License Management, secure licensing, Wibu-Systems news, CodeMeter License Central, software monetization

Addressing Secure, Flexible Software Licensing in a Complex Environment

Posted by Terry Gaul on Feb 17, 2015 11:05:48 AM

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ISVs today must address many questions in your product development and delivery strategies as the software licensing landscape has become increasingly complex. Let’s take a look at some of these questions you face:

  • Should the product be sold as one unit or should several variants be created, each with different features?
  • Is the license perpetual or should it be sold in time-limited subscriptions or usage-based units?
  • Should limited trial licenses be made available?
  • Is the license bound to a specific PC or can it float in my customer’s LAN?
  • Which system platforms should be supported?
  • Is the license safe on virtual machines?
  • What about cloud or mobile apps in the future?

Because of these increasing complexities, many ISVs are turning to 3rd party licensing security experts for help in developing a secure licensing strategy that meets their needs not only for today but also provides the flexibility to enable them to adapt their product to meet new customer requirements as they evolve in the future.

For example, take a look at one of our customers, Faceware Technologies, Inc. Faceware is the pioneer in video-based facial animation. Their hardware and software represent complete solutions for the interactive entertainment, film, video game, television, and commercial markets. Their products were used to deliver exceptional facial recognition in Forbes list of top ten grossing games in 2014.

They turned to our CodeMeter secure licensing and protection platform for several reasons. First, they wanted to protect their revenues by eliminating counterfeit copies from hitting the market and protect their intellectual property from reverse engineering. They knew that CodeMeter protected software had never been compromised in global hacker’s contests.

They also were looking to introduce new business models that would enable trial licensing and pay for time and features. This licensing flexibility enabled them to introduce a “lite” version of their product which allowed them sell their software to independent filmmakers and smaller studios that typically couldn’t afford the high end, fully featured version. And with confidence in security, they were able to launch into new markets, including Russian and China, where they previously had concerns.

One of the key takeaways from their success story is that with a robust, flexible and secure licensing and protection platform like CodeMeter, they could focus on what they do best – create award winning products that could reach more markets.

If you would like to read the details about how CodeMeter helped Faceware to achieve their security and licensing goals, please download the case study. And, if you would like to try CodeMeter, just request a fully functional evaluation system.

Success-story-CTA

Topics: License Management, CodeMeter, software copy protection, secure licensing, software licensing, Copy Protection, software monetization

Maximizing revenues: What is software monetization without security?

Posted by Terry Gaul on Dec 3, 2012 3:15:00 PM

Maximizing software revenues requires secure software licensing

In my most recent article, "Maximum Revenues with Software Monetization," I talked about maximizing your revenues through Software Monetization. As a quick reminder software monetization means the ability to sell your software as the market demands with a variety of license models. These models can include single user, network user, and/or timed user along with more granular levels such as selling individual modules, features, and even functions. It's all about delivering your software the way your customers and prospects want to buy it.

As an ISV you want this flexibility to deliver your software to market and this requires a flexible license management solution. But an integral part of this equation is protecting your intellectual property and securing your licenses in order to combat the constant onslaught of the hacker community. So it’s great to be able to offer license flexibility but only if you can protect your revenue stream. What's the point of all this flexibility if a hacker can easily spoof your licenses by simply replacing a file? Or even worse if the hacker can access your .Exe and steal your code.

The CodeMeter License Platform puts you on the path to maximizing your software revenues with the concept of Secure Software Licensing. We not only provide all the license models you need for maximized software monetization, but also:

  • Protect your intellectual property with strong 128 Bit AES encryption.
  • Secure your licenses with encryption utilizing 224 Bit ECC (Elliptical Curve Cryptography.
  • Give you the option for public / private key exchange using 2048 bit RSA.
  • Utilize a smart card chip for our full line-up of CmDongles

No security offering is full-proof but we at Wibu-Systems are confident we offer the most secure software licensing solution on the market today. We are the only software security vendor to have held multiple Hackers’ Contests with generous cash rewards (including contests held in the USSR and most recently China) and to date no one has won any of these events.

The consulting firm Frost & Sullivan has recently released a White Paper entitled Maximizing your profits with Software Monetization. The conclusions reached in this document are that for today’s Independent Software Vendors and Embedded Manufacturers to maximize profits they need to have a license management solution that is:

  • Seamless: from development to order management
  • Scalable: flexibility to address needs into the future
  • Secure: protecting your Intellectual Property and licenses 

To learn more about software monetization and secure software licensing download Maximizing your profits with Software Monetization -- the Frost & Sullivan white paper.

FREE White Paper HERE

Topics: CodeMeter, software licensing, software monetization, Frost & Sullivan

Maximum revenues with software monetization

Posted by Terry Gaul on Nov 13, 2012 4:55:00 AM

Growing revenues through effective software monetizationLately, we’ve been hearing the term “software monetization” bandied about. What does it mean?

We define software monetization as the capability to effectively maximize your software revenue by meeting marketing demands. No doubt you’re thinking, “Great, but what does that mean for me?”

In a manner of speaking it is giving the people what they want. In today’s difficult economy the license models of yesteryear no longer work.

End-users no longer want to be roped into buying a big application with a perpetual license and big price tag that gets delivered in a Big Box that contains a CD.  In today's environment customers want to buy what they want, when they want it.  How you package your software for revenue generation will determine how you compete in the 21st century.

Software consumers demand instant gratification with their buying experience and expect some of the following things:

  • Applications delivered electronically
  • "Try before they buy"
  • The ability to buy a particular bundle, suite or set of features
  • The ability to add features on-demand
  • License features for only as long as needed via subscription or rental methods
  • Sharing features or functions over a network with floating licenses
  • Moving licenses from office to office or factory to factory

The most successful ISVs in today’s marketplace are working to provide this flexibility in order to meet these market demands. While this is a complex issue to resolve, the key is to make the whole process seem easy to the end-user.

The end-user wants the experience to be simple and intuitive - from placing the order to installing, implementing, and utilizing - it needs to be smooth and painless.  In order to meet these goals you need to have the right license management solution in place.  We think CodeMeter is the right solution as it gives you the flexibility to deliver your software in a way that will maximize revenues and fulfill your software monetization strategy.

You spend a lot of time and money to develop your applications --now maximize profits from your sales model by meeting your customers’ needs.

Topics: CodeMeter, CodeMeter License Central, software monetization