The Internet of Things and the Future of Software Licensing
By now, you’ve read extensively on the growing importance of the Internet of Things. A network of Internet-capable devices, like televisions, thermostats or even heart monitors, the Internet of Things is growing exponentially — more than 26 billion units are expected to join up before 2020. The Internet of Things is drastically changing the way inventors work with hardware and software; device manufacturers have to worry not only about the mechanical functionality of their product but also with that product’s software capabilities. On top of this, software developers must rethink the way they structure their licenses.
If you are a software developer, be wary of recycling your old software licenses as you develop software for appliances for the Internet of Things. Here are some fast and easy tips to see you in control of your software into the future of software licensing.
It seems that the days of one-and-done software sales are waning fast. No longer do consumers buy a piece of technology — anything from a refrigerator to a video game — and feel satisfied in their single and only purchase. Instead, the Internet of Things is encouraging consumers to constantly update and upgrade their belongings, making them faster, clearer, stronger, or what have you. This means the companies selling products have the ability to prolong and increase their income with subscription services or additional applications.
For the software engineer, this means that the software they develop must be able to incorporate and adapt to changes such as improvements and add-ons. However, as the software changes, so must the license; if your company sells or approves modifications such as these to its Internet of Things products, you must be sure to allow them in the license agreed to by the customer.
Think Short- and Long-Term
As the Internet of Things encourages adaptive technologies — those that require services, subscriptions, applications, and more from the end consumer — the lifetime use of those technologies change, at least as companies see it. Though the tech may be a home or personal item that will be in the initial buyer’s possession for some time, the idea that the purchaser should have unlimited use of the tech without further changes or investments is beginning to wane.
In the past, most software licenses used longstanding perpetual models, meaning the customer signed the license once and gained a lifetime’s worth of use. Because so many adaptations are required of items in the Internet of Things, developers are turning instead to licenses that require subscription fees or renewed acceptance to keep the consumer coming back for updates and add-ons whenever the license runs out. If you need any help with licensing, SafeNet embedded software monetization is an excellent choice to help you get all the features you need for your license.
As more and more products require software licenses, more and more license agreements will be broken by unaware or uncaring customers. Sometimes the terms and conditions look too long and confusing or the purchaser doesn’t consider them important enough to read; in the end, the technology’s user proceeds to use the software anyway, and oftentimes they use it improperly — not to mention illegally. No matter how the license is broken, the company hurts.
Though this isn’t necessarily a new problem with software and licensing, but it is one that promises to grow alongside the Internet of Things. As more and more everyday items require software, more and more individuals will, through negligence or malevolence, defy the terms of their licenses. You must make sure that your licenses continue to be stringent in regards to operating the software in accordance with the rules of the license, and punishments must be harsh on those who refuse to comply.
The Internet of Things is definitely an important development in the world of software engineering. It presents new challenges both in the creation of important software that will shape our world, and it creates new opportunities to expand and sharpen the language of software licenses. You can cash in on the Internet of Things like countless other companies, but you must be smart about your licenses if you really want to make it big.
The following article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.