Software Monetization Featured Article

The Importance of a Monetization Strategy to Protect Embedded Medical Software

February 01, 2017

A large number of medical equipment contain embedded software, which can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to actually protecting and monetizing that software. And medical equipment vendors are only beginning to change the way they conduct business to handle the challenges and opportunities of a software-centric economy.

Coming from a heavily hardware-oriented background, medical equipment vendors have begun to glean value from their offerings by embedding them with intelligent software that enables a number of features and benefits. That software also contains a good chunk of intellectual property, which if not properly protected and monetized can present a massive risk to these companies. By using an embedded software protection and monetization strategy, medical equipment vendors can overcome the business challenges and risks inherent with offering embedded software solutions.

Gemalto (News - Alert), a company specializing in software protection and monetization for a number of vertical markets, including medical equipment manufacturers, has published a free whitepaper outlining four essential components of an embedded device monetization strategy. The company approaches the problem from a business perspective, outlining the challenges faced by many medical equipment manufacturers as they transition from the old way of doing business to the age of software and services.

The first component is controlling the embedded software, since it is so valuable. And that means that vendors need to ensure it can’t be tampered with in a way that will enable users to get free functionality by accessing and changing code. Vendors must also control usage of their products, which can be handled through features-based licensing. This lets vendors reduce the number of hardware SKUs they need to manage as well as reduce costs for tooling, manufacturing and operations.

Another important component for protecting and monetizing embedded software is to optimize packaging and pricing through a scalable process that evaluates and harmonizes pricing metrics across dozens of products. Vendors should also test alternative revenue models like usage-based pricing and revenue sharing agreements with their customers and partners to ensure everyone is gleaning the most value out of the deal.

Management is of course an essential component for monetizing embedded medical software, and systems for pricing, packaging, billing and managing devices should all work together easily. This can be effectively accomplished through centralization, automation and end user enablement, which empowers customers to handle tasks like license compliance reporting, device activation, renewals, upgrades and cancellations.

And finally, an additional and critical component of monetizing embedded software is usage tracking and reporting. This process will ideally be automated to handle tracking of license details, entitlement activations and product usage drilled down to a feature basis. Not only does this help medical equipment vendors to properly monetize their products, but it also offers valuable metrics related to training, billing, sales and marketing and product packaging.

Having an embedded medical device monetization strategy should be an imperative for vendors deriving revenue from embedded software. A proper strategy will protect both vendors and customers, ensuring all parties involved are deriving the most value out of their precious intellectual property, investments and licenses.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi