Categories: Automation

FLECS – Germany – Automation

Transforming Digital Security: The Future of Industrial App Licensing and Protection

“Make or Buy” is a question that decision-makers in all industries face daily. This applies equally to software protection and licensing as well as the implementation of an app store or marketplace. With the combination of the marketplace technology from FLECS and the CodeMeter software protection and licensing system from Wibu-Systems, the decision for “Buy” becomes even easier than before.

The Challenge

The integration of software protection and licensing, such as CodeMeter technology, into one’s own application can be carried out simply and effectively with APIs and tools. For software developers, this is a routine task. Launching one’s own app store or marketplace for one’s own and third-party applications is also quick and easy to implement with the help of ready-made solutions like the FLECS Marketplace.

When considering the combination of both solutions, questions arise about workflows for different user groups, security requirements, licensing models, and integration interfaces. How is the protection of one’s own application ensured? But most importantly, how does one enable third-party providers to easily integrate licensing? How is the software distributed to the user? How is the license activated for the end device? How is a secure binding to the device ensured?

The Solution

By combining the CodeMeter technology from Wibu-Systems with the marketplace technology from FLECS, all these questions are answered with standard procedures. With Wibu-Systems’ patented CodeMeter SmartBind technology, the license is securely bound to the target device. The necessary background service, CodeMeter, is available as a free app in the FLECS Marketplace.

For the integration of CodeMeter, CodeMeter Protection Suite provides a simple tool that encrypts both one’s own and third-party applications. Through an interface from the store, a license for the software purchased by the user is automatically generated in CodeMeter License Central. Via Software Activation Wizard, also available as a free app in the marketplace, the user can easily transfer the license to the desired target device.

The Result

Through the successful integration of CodeMeter into the FLECS Marketplace as part of an Open Industry 4.0 Alliance project, a comprehensive protection and licensing solution is available as a standard in a marketplace. Software manufacturers and publishers can easily bring their applications to the marketplace without having to worry about software protection, licensing, and the associated processes. Users can deploy and manage licenses from different manufacturers through the same standard application, using a process they are already familiar with.

Samuel Greising, Managing Director & COO, FLECS Technologies
“For FLECS, Wibu-Systems is an ideal partner when it comes to software licensing and protection, as many industrial companies already rely on products around CodeMeter today. The combination of both platforms offers outstanding benefits for app providers, but also very high convenience for our common users.”

The Company

FLECS is revolutionizing industrial automation with the most open and dynamic marketplace that gives software and hardware vendors seamless access to online e-commerce sales channels. With just one click, FLECS connects suppliers and users by bringing automation apps directly to industrial controllers.

Standard processes simplify integration and remove barriers to launching an app store

Implementing Protection and Licensing

For app developers, CodeMeter Protection Suite provides various tools that can retroactively license a finished application and protect it against tampering and piracy. The app is broken down into individual parts, and the use of these parts is inseparably linked to the presence of a license through encryption. This technology is available for apps developed in various programming languages and frameworks, such as .NET, nodeJS, and Python, as well as for all programming languages that generate machine code, such as C, C++, or Go. Typically, this protection step is integrated into continuous integration systems and parameterized by a protection manifest.

App developers who already use their own CodeMeter infrastructure can specify this in the protection manifest. App developers who do not have their own CodeMeter infrastructure or who want to separate their own infrastructure from the marketplace can use an infrastructure provided specifically for the FLECS Marketplace by Wibu-Systems.

App Provisioning

The protected app and the protection manifest are published in the FLECS Marketplace by the app provider. Prices, app descriptions, as well as helpful graphics and screenshots are provided.

When using the CodeMeter infrastructure integrated into the Marketplace, an item is automatically created in the CodeMeter License Central connected to the Marketplace.

App Purchase

A customer (end user) purchases an app in the marketplace. The entire purchasing process is fully automated, and at the end, the user receives an order confirmation as well as an invoice. If the chosen payment platform allows, the payment is also carried out automatically.

Depending on the protection manifest, the FLECS Marketplace communicates with the integrated CodeMeter License Central or with a CodeMeter License Central at the app developer’s location. A license in the form of an activation code is generated for the app. This is delivered to the user along with the app.

License Activation

The user installs the app on their device. In addition to the protected app, they install the CodeMeter app and the Software Activation Wizard app.

With the Software Activation Wizard app and the activation code, the user can transfer the license to their device. Depending on the configuration of the license, this tool also allows the license to be removed from this device and installed on another device. Even in the case of a loss of the license or a device, the Software Activation Wizard app can help activate a new license for a replacement device and put the old device on a blacklist. The Software Activation Wizard app can be used transparently in the background to automatically activate licenses or extend subscriptions.

The CodeMeter app ensures the secure storage of the license on the device and binds it to the device’s characteristics. It prevents license misuse by cloning the entire device.

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