Metrohm – Switzerland – Chemical Analytics
CodeMeter – Protection and Licensing in Chemical Analytics
Intelligent Business Models for Software and Embedded Devices
For the launch of its new OMNIS product line, a titration platform for chemical laboratories, Swiss Metrohm AG required a protection system to safeguard the know-how invested in its software and a flexible licensing system that would allow for the creation of customized software licensing models for its laboratory instruments. One specific requirement posed by the company was the necessity to integrate the licensing and entitlement solution seamlessly with the company’s existing back office systems.
CodeMeter, the flagship technology from Wibu-Systems, allows Metrohm to protect its software application both on PCs and the embedded operating systems running in its analytical devices and to equip them with the same licensing technology. CodeMeter License Central Internet Edition, Wibu-Systems’ server solution for generating and delivering licenses, helps create, manage, and track license activations on both types of systems.
By opting to integrate CodeMeter into its OMNIS platform, not only has Metrohm introduced strong protections for its know-how against counterfeiting and reverse engineering, but they can also use the versatile interfaces of CodeMeter License Central to set up a comprehensive portal, activate and track licenses, and monitor license use and activation in the field.
Metrohm AG is one of the world’s leading makers of high-precision chemical analysis instruments. With subsidiaries and sales partners in more than 120 countries worldwide, Metrohm develops solutions for the ion analysis field and has established itself as the global market leader for titration analyzers. In addition to its original operations in Herisau, Switzerland, the Metrohm group also includes Metrohm Applikon and Metrohm Autolab, makers of online analytical devices and instruments for electrochemical research. Instruments for NIR and handheld Raman spectroscopy have completed the Metrohm portfolio since 2013 and 2016, respectively.
Head Product Group Software/Workflow/Platforms Chief Systemowner OMNIS, Metrohm AG
“Every Metrohm product comes invested with three quarters of a century of research and innovation. The expertise going into such groundbreaking products like OMNIS is our greatest asset – which we are protecting with the exceptional licensing capabilities of Wibu-Systems.”
Chemicals and IT – Two Worlds coming together through CodeMeter
The picture-perfect alpine town of Herisau in the Swiss Canton of Appenzell is home to Metrohm AG, a fascinating success story that has evolved from a small start-up to a global player since its foundation in 1943. As one of the world’s leading makers of high-precision instruments, Metrohm is known and respected as a champion innovator in the chemical industry. The company has a track record of launching innovative product lines, with the software running on the analytical devices and the separate controller software running on regular PCs increasingly combined. The advantage of this software unification is realized with the launch of OMNIS: The user can buy a set of analytical devices that address his applications and use the OMNIS software to link them up in a modular, customized, and fully automated process chain.
The controllers and monitoring devices are managed by the software running on an embedded operating system. OMNIS oversees these operations from a dedicated PC application. With Wibu-Systems’ CodeMeter, both of these software components are now protected by a single technology, greatly easing the development process on the part of Metrohm. But Metrohm also takes this further and uses the new synergies for new business models:
Both the software on the PC and the software on the embedded devices are licensed flexibly to match the user’s specific needs. The software always comes with all functions on board, but the licenses determine the actual feature set available to the user. This again offers real commercial benefits for Metrohm, as only one version – the complete package – of the software needs to be certified for use.
Another major requirement of Metrohm was solved by CodeMeter License Central: The server for creating, managing, and allocating licenses is integrated flexibly with the existing back office systems of Metrohm. The company introduced a versatile internal portal as part of its migration to OMNIS, which connects perfectly with the web interfaces of CodeMeter License Central and empowers Metrohm to use all of the licensing data in the system effectively: a true business intelligent system.
Service, training, and sales also figured prominently in the design of the portal. Metrohm relies on CodeMeter’s ability to operate both hardware (CmDongle) and software (CmActLicense) licensing systems without requiring separate implementations. For basic systems that use only software activated licenses, the global service team of Metrohm is equipped with CmDongles that they can use to activate features in the field. Demo and emergency licenses are also handled flexibly by the portal, which even accommodates temporary licenses for training purposes. Metrohm’s global distributors can use the portal to access the licenses they need for their clients. Comprehensive monitoring functions allow their activation to be tracked down to the level of single devices, making life far easier for service and support.
Metrohm and its products offer impressive proof of how Wibu-Systems’ CodeMeter can be a simple and unified way to combine protection and licensing with a single technical solution for PCs and devices in the field alike. Adaptable interfaces allow custom integration with proprietary systems and safeguard Metrohm’s investment into the solutions of the future.