Blog Entry

Feb 28
2013 

How to Protect and Flexibly Control Your Embedded Software

In the last 10 years we have witnessed a shift from hardware-driven (60-70%) sales cycle where software was provided for free, to manufacturers seeking to leverage the software assets embedded within their devices in various ways, including monetization as well as using software to protect and control the feature set delivered to their customers.

Beyond the challenges of establishing value and pricing schemes, manufacturers are now realizing that licensing software is somewhat different than solely selling hardware. In contrast to visible hardware stock, software-based licenses and entitlements are now becoming of the utmost importance requiring constant tracking and management. In order to truly monetize embedded software, separately from pure hardware, a robust mechanism needs to be put into place where features/options can be turned on or off in addition to allowing or denying access to the software on a per-user basis.

Vendors transitioning to embedded solutions are now facing the problem of deliberate or unintentional use of their software, reverse engineering attempts and mechanisms in order to protect their valuable intellectual property. To monetize IP, either by increasing revenue or reducing costs, manufacturers need to leverage the four aspects of a successful software monetization strategy: access and usage control, flexible packaging, process management, and product usage tracking.

By adopting the right monetization strategy models, software and intelligent equipment manufacturers can:

  • Differentiate capabilities and manage capacity on a wide range of devices, including small footprint and limited system resources.
  • Reach new markets by easily creating new product configurations.
  • Prevent unauthorized use without impacting usability/flexibility.

Differentiating Products

As previously discussed, software vendors are constantly seeking new ways to leverage and monetize their increasing software development. By closely tracking and monitoring license terms, software vendors can ensure that licensed devices are used according to their predefined terms and conditions. Being able to differentiate various devices, an inherent feature of a software-based systems, is a prime example of how software vendors and device manufacturers can combat fierce competition and device commoditization gradually eating up their profit margins.

This differentiation is a direct result of implementing a mechanism that allows vendors to enable or disable specific features based on the users who are entitled to them. Multiple configurations allow vendors to set themselves apart from their competitors and provide better differentiation within their own product lines.

Device manufacturers are continuously pursuing ways of unifying their production lines by attempting to manufacture a single device to be used across multiple product models and platforms. The idea behind this concept is clear; on the one hand reducing overhead and stock, while on the other introduce specific configurations to better differentiate both the hardware device and its dedicated software.

Why Sentinel Embedded?

SafeNet offers Sentinel Software Monetization Solutions tailored specifically to protect and manage software embedded within any piece of hardware – from networking appliances and medical devices to mobile handsets and industrial automation equipment. These offerings provide device and equipment manufacturers with all the tools they need to effectively protect their products from tampering and reverse engineering while also opening up an entirely new world of packaging and opportunities to maximize profitability.

Sentinel Embedded Software Monetization Solutions feature:

  • Award-winning license enforcement and IP protection technology for ensuring device and brand integrity, mitigating reverse engineering, and safeguarding revenue.
  • The industry’s widest variety of flexible licensing models and enforcement mechanisms for enabling device and equipment manufacturers to meet the packaging demands of every customer every time.
  • A reduced footprint paired with efficient use of memory allowing our solutions to conform to the strictest of embedded environment constraints without compromising device performance.
  • Out-of-the-box support for a broad variety of platforms and operating systems and a design that supports quick and easy custom porting.
  • Integration with the company’s web-based entitlement management solution, Sentinel EMS, enabling software publishers to centralize and automate product activation, usage tracking, and ongoing end-user entitlement management.