Featured Article from Software Licensing

IoT Vendors Can Also Benefit from Software Licensing

June 17, 2016




The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing organically as more and more devices become connected and capable of sharing valuable information. How to monetize the massive market potential of the IoT is a serious and complicated question, and software licensing is an important part of the answer.

A recent blog post from Flexera Software discusses the complexities associated with licensing the many components that make up the IoT. The first, and perhaps most important question when it comes to licensing is what exactly should be licensed, and where? IoT vendors are currently debating this topic and whether or not licensing functionality should reside at the endpoint of a solution.

According to Flexera, it’s important to make a distinction between intelligent devices and sensors when it comes to the IoT. Sensors have more constraints simply because of the limitations of size, cost, power and speed, making subscription licensing a challenge. Intelligent devices, on the other hand, typically have a mature operating system and more storage, which means they are easier to license.

Flexera believes licensing in the IoT space should be done at the gateway level instead of on individual sensors. A gateway device typically includes some type of control software that receives data from sensors and other intelligent devices. Whether it’s called a gateway, management console or edge device, this unit is responsible for exchanging information with other, bigger systems.

In this type of scenario, the gateway device includes a software licensing component that governs other devices like sensors and ensures they are authorized to be used in conjunction with the device, based on the licensing agreement. This type of setup ensures the sensors constraints and software do not interfere with the licensing, while the sensors themselves may be tracked for licensing. Other advantages include alleviating the need to obtain certifications for sensors while being able to centrally manage large numbers of sensors.

One of the downsides to this approach is that it requires an IoT gateway, which isn’t always available in the complex and vast world of IoT. Alternately, software licensing may be deployed directly on individual sensors, provided they have enough space to accommodate the software. This approach can be costly and complex, but it offers a licensing alternative if a gateway is not available.

IoT vendors need not lose out when it comes to monetizing on their vast networks of devices. By working with the tools they have, as efficiently as possible, they can ensure they are gleaning the most value out of licensing agreements with their customers.



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