Flexible Licensing for Complex, Heterogeneous Industrial Environments
16/01/2020 Rüdiger Kügler
For some ISVs, software licensing can be straightforward and uncomplicated. Their software is designed to only be implemented on a specific operating system and deployed over a particular type of network. The application may be so specific that the license can only be activated with a dongle, or bound to the digital fingerprint of a machine, or maybe stored in the cloud. In these (rare) situations, the creation, delivery, and management of licensing is clear-cut, with few roadblocks, if any.
For other ISVs, however, the licensing story can be quite different, particularly in heterogeneous industrial environments, where software can be run in situations where there are multiple types of operating systems, deployment platforms, and network architectures in play. And to further complicate matters, the license containers can be either hardware, software, or cloud-based, or a combination of all three, as desired by the end user. In this scenario, the ISV needs a flexible, yet powerful license management system that can support all of the potential variables that may exist to satisfy their customers’ specific market requirements, stay competitive within their market, and fully monetize their software.
Take the case of MVTec, a leading global manufacturer of sophisticated software for machine vision applications. Industrial image processing and machine vision technologies are advancing rapidly in the modern industrial world. As such, the applications for MVTec’s software are growing more diverse by the day. Their software is being used for developing machine vision applications across all types of industries: PCB, semiconductor, or processor testing, robot positioning and alignment, surface monitoring, quality assurance, print quality checks, and ID screening, to name just a few. And the applications themselves are just as varied as the industrial environments in which they operate.
In searching for a provider that could equip their product portfolio with equally sophisticated licensing and protection capabilities, MVTec knew they needed a technology that was as versatile as the users and applications of their own technology. They found that solution in Wibu-Systems’ CodeMeter licensing and protection platform, which supports a comprehensive range of platforms, license containers, device types, and back office systems.
MVTec first integrated CodeMeter into MERLIC, its all-in-one software product that enables users to quickly build machine vision applications without manual programming. They employed customized and branded CodeMeter dongles and software license containers to protect the considerable intellectual assets invested into MVTec’s technology. The end users receive their licenses for MERLIC via CodeMeter License Central and WebDepot.
Next, MVTec integrated CodeMeter into their standard HALCON software, which requires support for a vast range of image acquisition hardware, operating systems, and programming languages. With CodeMeter integrated, MVTec now has a uniform protection and licensing system in place that supports the many possible applications and use cases of its machine vision software. The company and its users benefit from the ease of having all of its licensing and monetization operations in one central, cloud-facilitated, and easily managed place.
You can read all the details about MVTec and their successful adoption of CodeMeter in this case study. A key takeaway from this story: as software licensing inevitably becomes more complicated in the future as new technologies, product innovations, and applications emerge and customer requirements and expectations change accordingly, a flexible licensing and protection platform will be a necessity.
VP Sales | Security Expert
After completing his physics degree course in 1995, he was head of project management for software protection, software distribution, internet banking, and multimedia projects. In 2003, he joined Wibu-Systems and, as part of his role, contributed substantially to the development of Blurry Box® technology.