The upcoming release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens has got me thinking about the duality of good and evil. As the epic battle between Jedi warriors and the Sith continues to unfold in a galaxy far, far away, there is another battle being waged much closer to home. A battle so epic, it threatens the very way we consume content. Of course, I am talking about the fight against intellectual property (IP) theft; that never-ending game of cat and mouse between content owner and hacker that keeps the entertainment industry up at night. As Gemalto’s VP of Product Development, R&D Software Monetization, I feel compelled to raise my lightsaber in support of all the content creators.
Bill Gates once said that “The way to be successful in the software world is to come up with breakthrough software… New ideas, surprising the marketplace, so good engineering and good business are one in the same”. And who better to advise on such matters than the man behind one of the most pervasive and enduring software empires in the world? But history might not have been so kind to Gates had he overlooked one fundamental business principle: protect your intellectual property. Indeed, without proper IP protection, any one of his competitors could have easily hitched a ride on his coattails and taken his innovations to a very different place.
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.
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.
Venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz recently proclaimed that “Mobile is eating the world” – and it’s not hard to see why. Demand for mobile software is at an all-time high, with Android and iOS completely dominating the mobile OS market. In fact, Android’s sizeable market share accounts for more than 80% of smartphones and 60% of tablets worldwide.
About two weeks ago, I participated in a workshop for “out-of-the-box” thinking. The exercise included painting a beach scene. While I stressed about getting paint on the canvas, everyone around me was expressing their inner Picasso. Following the exercise, I found myself in a discussion as to what I enjoy doing to relax. The answer came quickly. Puzzles! I find 1000-piece jigsaw puzzles relaxing. Why? And more to the point, what does any of this have to do with software monetization?
The IT industry is in the midst of a massive structural shift toward a next-generation compute platform called the 3rd Platform. Interestingly, the rise of the 3rd Platform is happening alongside a customer revolution. Consumer-like expectations for simplicity and transparency are dictating pricing models and terms. Both trends are having ripple effects across the industry. We’re now seeing new business models that align more closely with business outcomes and customer experiences becoming the preferred way of monetizing software.
I recently joined SafeNet to lead the Product Marketing for the Software Monetization business unit. Many years prior to joining the SM unit, at the beginning of my career in hi tech, I worked on a product called the iPhone – yes, the iPhone. It wasn’t the iPhone of today but it was branded the iPhone and it was just as cool as Apple’s iPhone. I guess you can even say it was a pre-cursor to the iPhone of today; the InfoGear iPhone was a regular desktop telephone jazzed up with a touch screen, keyboard and happened to connect to the internet with the touch of a button. Pretty novel in those days.
I recently participated in the Connected Cloud Summit event in Boston that focused on the opportunities and challenges associated with the Internet of Things (IoT). There was much discussion centered on the industry disruption that is happening across diverse markets such as medical devices and healthcare, communications, industrial automation, automotive, security, and more. It was remarkable to see the pace of innovation that is happening across those industries that is being driven the IoT.
The embedded market is currently in a state of change. In the past, embedded system vendors sold systems based on a hardware sales approach with a simple one time sale for the product. IP protection was seldom required as the systems were hard to copy and hack. Today, the various functionalities in embedded systems are more and more realized in software. There are many reasons for this movement toward software driven features which result in reduced time to market, production outsourcing, dealing with the lack of engineering resources, handling connected devices, preparing for the Internet of Things ( IoT) to name just a few.