I recently joined SafeNet to lead the Product Marketing for the Software Monetization business unit. Many years prior to joining the SM unit, at the beginning of my career in hi tech, I worked on a product called the iPhone – yes, the iPhone. It wasn’t the iPhone of today but it was branded the iPhone and it was just as cool as Apple’s iPhone. I guess you can even say it was a pre-cursor to the iPhone of today; the InfoGear iPhone was a regular desktop telephone jazzed up with a touch screen, keyboard and happened to connect to the internet with the touch of a button. Pretty novel in those days.
Recently, while at Licensing Live 2014, listening to a speaker give a talk about the Internet of Things and how devices talk to software and software talks to hardware, it suddenly dawned on me that “my iPhone” was a device with embedded software and was connected – so, by today’s definitions, I was in the IoT market. We certainly didn’t think of it in those exact terms nearly 20 years ago.
If I break it down to compare to today’s IoT market – InfoGear was really just a software developer. Of course we had a hardware development team but to produce the phone we partnered up with a phone manufacturer. Even then, we still couldn’t go-to-market on our own with our rather intelligent device. So we teamed up with an ISP to host the server needed to run the iPhone creating our very own eco-system.
When talking about IoT today, there is plenty of talk about eco-systems, the connected world and a sharing economy. Essentially enabling, anyone – hardware manufacturer, software developer, systems integrator, to be a player in the IoT market. What we must remember though, is that despite all the changes and all the new forms of communication, the basics are still the same. At the end of the day, we still need to protect our IP as we did close to 20 years ago and we still want to monetize our software making licensing an essential element no matter what kind of player you are.