Software Monetization Featured Article

What is Embedded Licensing?

August 19, 2016

Today’s embedded appliances are rapidly shifting to architectures that combine standardized hardware with sophisticated software. And this sophisticated software is not immune to the challenges faced by software-only manufacturers. The intellectual property of the software embedded within standardized hardware is just as vulnerable to counterfeiting, piracy, and device tampering. And as this software can contribute to the company’s revenue stream, it is important that intelligent hardware manufacturers understand the software requires a new product pricing, packaging, and management strategy then typically applied to a traditional hardware business.

The software that runs the embedded system is often one of the most valuable aspects of the embedded system. This is transforming hardware vendors into software vendors, and protecting the software that runs embedded systems is becoming more and more critical.

Embedded licensing is software licensing and entitlement management that protects the software that runs embedded systems. If embedded licensing is not in place, stolen code can end up in the hands of competitors and be used for “knock-off” versions of a similar product. Better to protect the software and license it appropriately.

Usage enforcement, copy protection and theft prevention can guard against these threats, but they are only the first step toward unlocking the potential value of source code. Ultimately, monetization of embedded software and intellectual property is the goal.

To effectively monetize embedded software, companies must leverage the four aspects of a successful software monetization strategy: access and usage control, flexible packaging, process management, and product usage tracking.

A comprehensive embedded software monetization strategy will provide protection from IP theft, tampering, and reverse-engineering; prevention of unauthorized product use and distribution; and enablement of feature-level device packaging and control.

With embedded licensing, device manufacturers can simultaneously offer a better customer experience and a more profitable solution. An effective embedded software monetization strategy will allow for increased revenue, preserve product and brand integrity, protect intellectual property, reduce operational costs, and enhance the customer experience.

One of the leaders in embedded licensing and entitlement solutions is SafeNet (News - Alert). Its Sentinel Fit Embedded solution is a low-footprint, highly portable version of SafeNet’s industry-proven enterprise software licensing toolkit, Sentinel RMS. It is designed specifically for the memory-constrained environments typically faced by embedded developers, and it allows device and equipment manufacturers to protect, price, package, track and manage the software powering their embedded devices according to market needs.

Edited by Peter Bernstein