Twenty years ago, the idea of intelligent machines that could communicate with one another wirelessly might’ve seemed like something out of a dystopian sci-fi novel. I suppose all disruptive technologies do before their time. But there’s nothing far-fetched about the Internet of Things (IoT) and its web of interconnected, software-driven devices. Chances are it’s already a part of your everyday life.

If you want to see the IoT in action, look no further than the nearest smartphone or tablet. These intelligent devices are packed full of tiny sensors that gather data on their internal and external state, informing of certain features and functionality. For instance, one sensor might let you monitor the health of your battery in real time while another adjusts your screen’s brightness to the amount of ambient light. This level of self-awareness in a device not only enhances the user experience, it also provides valuable usage insight for the ISV or device manufacturer wanting to hone their offering.

Embedded technology is already finding its way into other verticals – most notably, wearables, biotech and healthcare, autonomous vehicles, and the connected home. As the IoT grows increasingly connected, the need to protect your software and manage its usage throughout the product lifecycle becomes ever more critical. The question of how to monetize the IoT can be answered in two words: software monetization.

Shake Your Moneymaker

The importance of software monetization to your overall business strategy cannot be overstated. It is, quite simply, the difference between seeing your software-based revenue shoot up and seeing it flatline. Having invested so much in the development phase, the last thing you want is to let a revenue opportunity pass you by because you weren’t paying attention to market demands. By allowing customers control over how they consume a product or service, you are opening up more doors to revenue. Software licensing gives you the flexibility to offer your software in a variety of flavors to suit every customer use case.

For example, if a hospital is unable to afford the $3 million price tag of a state-of-the-art 3 Tesla MRI machine, they might choose to lease it on a pay-per-use basis. This is a win-win for all concerned, as the manufacturer is guaranteed a recurring cash flow that allows them to budget better, and the customer is happy that they’re getting the best value for money. It’s also worth noting that because the machine’s features are differentiated on the software side, the manufacturer can cut down on inventory and the associated costs.

Safeguard Your IP

Software monetization is about more than just maximizing your revenue; it also protects your most valuable asset from IP theft – a threat that costs U.S. businesses hundreds of billions of dollars a year. Using advanced encryption and obfuscation techniques, software monetization tools fortify your code, keeping hackers and freeloaders at bay. This ensures that your IP and trade secrets do not fall into the wrong hands and you get to maintain your competitive advantage. As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure.

Streamline Your Back Office

If you’re looking to become a successful player in the IoT (and let’s face it – who isn’t these days?), a good place to start is the back office.

Automating your license delivery and enforcement methods makes the process a whole lot easier, so it’s worth taking the time to get it right. That also applies to entitlement management, which can be seamlessly integrated with third-party systems, creating a handshake with your existing CRM and ERP.

There are numerous benefits to a fully automated back office. Being able to manage multiple disparate licenses on a single, unified platform ranks high on that list. Remote management lets you enable certain hardware features and generic software upgrades in the field, ensuring that only paying customers are enjoying the upgraded features and no one is getting a free lunch. Predictive maintenance makes it easy to keep an eye on the health of your device and know the optimal time to carry out maintenance. Whether that involves replacing a worn-out filter or bulb, or something more complex, anticipating technical issues before they arise can save you time and money, and actually extend the life of your equipment. If you’re looking for a surefire way to cut down on support calls, a self-service web portal allows customers to purchase or renew subscriptions, without the need for human intervention.

For all these reasons, it’s worth integrating an entitlement management system with your back office, as this will set the stage for a positive licensing experience.

Gemalto, the market leader in digital security companies, is committed to making the IoT a safer, more efficient, more lucrative place. It offers a complete range of software monetization solutions to suit every hardware vendor; from chips to boards to software-based solutions that support specialized platforms.