My product is a virtual machine (VM) for embedded systems (think Arduino or mbed) and
the respective compiler suite. It enables a faster development cycle, simplifies
remote management and adds support for scripting.
The potential customers are companies in IoT, smart metering, transportation, robotics
and industrial automation. These form a quite diverse set, but nonetheless share common
pain points: long development cycles, products are hard to maintain, even harder to debug
in the field, and their firmware rarely is updated.
The VM, I plan to distribute as an open source library with a dual license, GPL v3 and
commercial. The latter allows customers to integrate the VM in their products without
having to release their source code.
The compiler, on the other hand is closed source, and has an evaluation period after
which a user license is required. Since the compiler is required to use the VM, I am
assuming that customers who see value in using the VM, will buy compiler licenses even
if they are also opening their source code
I know that:
- I am trying to sell to technically minded customers
- Part of the product is open source
As for 1), I suspect it will be hard but this is the area I work in, and that gives me confidence about the value the product is bringing.
And for 2), I am using open source as a way to distribute and market the product. For the potential customers I am considering, the alternative is to do in-person demos and sales. Which is not feasible for me (too expensive, too risky).
That being said, I would like to have your comments on the idea.