Much has been written extolling the virtues of the Internet of Things (IoT), which is perhaps the most hyped connected environment since the Internet itself. We are already aware that the software embedded in intelligent devices, as well as the data shared between those devices, is becoming an increasingly valuable commodity. While technologists across the board are seeing the inherent benefits in developing innovative new products and services for the IoT, relatively little is known about the actual money-making aspect. Along with the need to protect intellectual property (IP) against hackers – a particular concern in cloud-connected environments – software monetization is the biggest challenge facing players in the IoT.
ISVs have long relied on product keys (otherwise known as software license keys) to ensure that their software is only being used by those entitled to do so. Oftentimes, these product keys are also used to control use of specific features, based on the agreement the end user has with the ISV. Despite the value these product keys hold, they pose a number of challenges for both ISVs and end users.