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LabVIEW subscription model for 2022

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Hi Eric,

 

Thanks for the quick response.  Here is a link to a thread from last year where I had asked the same question:

 

https://forums.ni.com/t5/LabWindows-CVI/Is-LabWindows-2020-the-final-version-that-NI-will-release/m-...

 

I had gotten some replies suggesting that this would likely be the final version, but hadn't gotten any official or definitive answer.  I really hope this won't be the last version, but I know all signs point to this being the final version 😞

 

Thanks,

 

alex

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Message 801 of 848
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Hi

Reintroducing perpetual LabVIEW licensing with a silent question, 'what is it worth to you' is really interesting. Like a turkish bazaar or the chinese pearl markets.

= =

So what is LabVIEW worth in the future. NI Connect 2024 gave some hints.

- Lots of 'we support you' testimonials from large partners/users/customers. Meaning NI must continue selling LabVIEW. That is nice.

- A free Student version similar to the Community version. Fresh blood is needed.

- A demonstration of AI based automatic coding based on a PDF requirements document. No programmer needed could be the message, which is nice when there are so few. New job title 'Verification Engineer'.

- A VI analyzer tool that will make a document about what an unknown VI seems to be doing. Apparently a relevant problem. Of course there has been different coding practices over the 30 years of LabVIEW use. Whether this tool can handle complex VI's will be interesting.

- The new ( insert your own count ) version of diff-and-merge SCC tool. The never ending story. Interesting that it is mentioned in prime time. Must be a sore point.

- And tools like InstrumentStudio that promise no programming needed to export to LabVIEW and TestStand.

- There were more topics related to use of AI, but nothing encapsulated in VI's. NI never got on that train. 3'rd party solutions exist.

= =

NI gave up on Control and Simulation last year and left all to MATLAB. NI got a headstart with MATRIXx but never really found a way to make it a hit. Probably required too much support. NI has a history of making a pilot for a specific application field. If insufficient interest they quickly pull out. Over 100 such pilot toolkits has been introduced and silently killed. The Applications Engineers of that time probably got exhausted trying to keep up with the pace.

So now NI is left with drivers for the hardware, which of course is super important.

And the system management concept SystemLink for large installations.

And LabVIEW itself. Ok, the oldtimer suites Vision Development and Sound and Vibration are also still with us.

Oh, forgot TestStand.

= =

Looking at above's listing I get the feeling that LabVIEW is in maintenance mode. It is no longer in 'conquer the world' mode. The wildness is gone. It just sits it out until retirement.

To be fair, it is difficult to point to areas where LabVIEW is bad, once you have learned it. Which takes a long time. One annoying point is system thinking. How do I make LabVIEW settings and features the same to a group. I know, use cloning, but it is not really the solution. It is not proper.

= =

I have the perpetual licenses I need ( including the three year subscription extension ). Which will serve me until I need to use some new unsupported hardware.

If I should start a project for which I lack licenses I would subscribe as needed. The US army way. Buy what is needed for a project. When done then forget it. The European way is building competence centers. I don't know the Chinese way if any.

If I should buy into a perpetual license now it should benefit me for years. LabVIEW and SSP was good value for 25 years.

= =

I guess a heavy permanent license discount is needed to just awake a little greedy 'Good offer, I want it' interest from a prospective buyer of such a license.

The Times They Are a-Changin. Still.

Regards

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@Hooovahh wrote:

@rolfk wrote:

 

To be fair, the stock price didn't do a lot of positive things because of the introduction of subscriptions. It actually steadily declined from the beginning of 2022 until July of that year when apparently first closed door discussions about Emerson's interest in NI happened. Talk about insider knowledge. 

No you are right. I remember watching the stock price go up and up when decisions were being made and maybe I was looking for data points to support my argument.  Looking at the price history it isn't as clear cut as my message sounded.  Still even if the price didn't climb because of subscriptions, it still made NI look valuable to Emerson, thereby having them agree to potentially an inflated price.


I'm not sure how much NI looked attractive to Emerson because of LabVIEW. My feeling is that they didn't care a lot about LabVIEW at all and the subscription played no role at all for them. Emerson management had decided that they wanted to change course from their traditional business and go into more future proof technology. They had just divested themselves of a major stake in a waste water processing operation that had put some 8 billion of cash in their hands. And cash is in terms of shareholder value one of the worst things you can have at hand as a company. But Emerson management is very much shareholder value minded.

 

They had set their eyes on Test & Measurement for their new direction but not the Test & Measurement market you and me have in mind when hearing that word. DAQ boards and data acquisition software are just peanuts in respect to the plans Emerson had. This is the traditional T&M market that NI had decided to leave behind around 2013 when they had been told by some consulting firm that their traditional market had reached the possible limit since NI at that time controlled large parts of that market and every percent of extra sales meant to have to fight very hard with some competitor for it. When you have 50% or more of a certain market segment in hand it gets hard to grow further unless that market itself is still heavily growing. T&M as done by NI until then was however not a very hard growing market anymore. NI had kind of reached what they could possibly do without going for a complete monopoly.

So they decided to go into vertical markets. Don't just produce the DAQ boards to let others build all kinds of test systems but instead build the test systems in high volume markets themselves, such as semiconductor testing and the newly upcoming technology for EV and "sustainable" energy production systems. These markets have a much higher sales volume than what you can ever make with simple DAQ boards and software, even if you sell those items for NI prices. And this is what Emerson was after, not the NI DAQ boards and NI LabVIEW. Eventually they realized that they had to mention LabVIEW too in their communication about why NI was an interesting take over target but I'm pretty sure that that was not of any real concern to them.

 

NI stock price was in view of the potential that these new vertical markets could offer, potentially quite undervalued and therefore an attractive target for someone like Emerson who just had 8 billion of cash they badly needed to invest somewhere.

Rolf Kalbermatter
My Blog
Message 803 of 848
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Hi Ahmed, 

Thank you for your request for feedback. I greatly appreciate this.

My feedback perspective is as a retired engineer with a massive private lab, who previously used LabVIEW for new-product verification and characterization in the Analog Semiconductor industry at companies like Marvell, Micrel, etc., and who previously used LabVIEW for new-product testing and development in the manufacturing robotics industry at Applied Materials. In those industry careers, I developed massive LabVIEW test systems encompassing thousands of VIs -some with cyclomatic complexity levels up to 2600.

My feedback is a mix of good, bad and practical suggestions. Here is my feedback:

  1. Prices are 4x higher than what customers are comfortable with. This is driving migration to alternatives, such as Python.
  2. Some customers don't like subscription licenses because...
    1. Security concerns may require separation from internet access and such internet access is likely necessary for license verification.
    2. If LabVIEW is discontinued, then the customers would be unable to continue running, maintaining or developing mission-critical software.
    3. Perpetual licenses allow flexibility to let licenses lapse when financially necessary, such as during an economic downturn (or during retirement, in my case).
  3. Some large-project customers are unhappy with NI's past failure to innovate a solution to a particular problem in response to prior feedback. The problem is a tendency for the LabVIEW programming environment to insert progressively longer delays in response to block diagram edits, as projects grow in complexity towards completion. These delays after editing clicks aren't individually long -they are only a couple of seconds. But when doing a lot of LabVIEW coding very fast under tough deadlines, they can reduce coding productivity by around 50% and break meeting the project deadline. A solution to this problem would be greatly appreciated.
  4. The LabVIEW NXG project failed on the market because of failure to retain the experientially refined core programming language and development environment. The project objective was to migrate LabVIEW to a modern codebase. But the project got lost in the weeds along the way and changed the visual programming language in a way that rendered prior LabVIEW code incompatible. And, the project replaced a multi-window development environment appropriate for visual block-diagram coding with a sub-paneled/tiled environment appropriate for text coding. The changes were comparable to developing a C++ NXG that replaces the keywords with Swahili and syntax with Lisp, for aesthetics.
  5. LabVIEW continues to hold a niche despite the pricing, licensing and development mistakes, because...
    1. Concurrent, multi-threaded or multi-core code is much easier to write and implement. This makes LabVIEW uniquely well suited for controlling complex test or robotics hardware where many operations are happening at the same time.
    2. Proficiency is easier to acquire and maintain. This makes LabVIEW better suited for scenarios where there is not enough coding work to support full-time programmers on an ongoing basis. This facilitates supporting projects on a part-time or intermittent basis.
    3. Existing code is quicker and easier to understand, debug and reuse. In contrast, text code is frequently rewritten from scratch because the time and cost overhead of understanding and reusing legacy code is too high.
    4. Code complexity can be pushed to a much higher level before becoming humanly incomprehensible or unmaintainable, facilitating successful completion projects that would be practically impossible with a text programming language.
    5. User interfaces are easier to build and maintain.
    6. Run-time code execution speed can be competitive with C++, with careful coding.
  6. Despite the advantages of LabVIEW, usage in large, complex projects often does not yield the potential of LabVIEW because of lack of an appropriate, established test development framework. With LabVIEW, what one gets is a computer language and development environment. Beyond that, about a year of in-house development work is required to code a complete test system. And, by that time corporate management is frustrated and not listening, even if the result is eventually even wildly successful. So, in practice, what one sees in industry is a lot of abandoned code or projects. After retirement, I started work on an appropriate test framework but I've been delayed and detoured by other matters.
  7. Presently, application of LabVIEW is mostly limited to PC Computerized control in the test and measurement, and industrial machine spaces. My opinion is that LabVIEW should be pushed in a direction of also being a general programming language further applicable to the systems and embedded programming spaces. Essentially, LabVIEW should also be pushed in a general programming direction that makes it an optimal solution anywhere one needs to create custom instrumentation or appliances. For example, I would like to be able to use LabVIEW in BSD for a custom firewall router. I suspect there are technical ways to do this. Such technical means likely involve shifting underlying code to reliance on open-source resources. This might broaden the market for LabVIEW sufficiently to support profitability with competitive pricing.
  8. If LabVIEW market share erodes below profitability, then I recommend converting it to an open-source project. That would allow continuation of LabVIEW for supporting sales of NI/Emerson hardware.
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@rolfk wrote:

NI stock price was in view of the potential that these new vertical markets could offer, potentially quite undervalued and therefore an attractive target for someone like Emerson who just had 8 billion of cash they badly needed to invest somewhere.


Also, the main reason that the NI stock price was in fact quite undervalued was that NI management was extremely tight lipped about their actual move into vertical markets. And this was most likely mainly because they were very much afraid to anger their traditional Alliance Member partners, as they were in fact directly moving into their territory with this. 

Rolf Kalbermatter
My Blog
Message 805 of 848
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Hi Eric,

 

(Reposting as a direct reply as you may have missed it when I posted previously as another message on this thread)

 

Thanks for the quick response.  Here is a link to a thread from last year where I had asked the same question:

 

https://forums.ni.com/t5/LabWindows-CVI/Is-LabWindows-2020-the-final-version-that-NI-will-release/m-...

 

I had gotten some replies suggesting that this would likely be the final version, but hadn't gotten any official or definitive answer.  I really hope this won't be the last version, but I know all signs point to this being the final version 😞

 

 

Thanks,

 

alex

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@EricR  ha escrito:

Danny,

 

I'm specifically looking at this as one of the options.  I've reviewed what Microsoft and some other large software vendors are doing.  NI has never had different pricing depending on the "size" of the company we are working with but I do like the idea.  I would be interested in your thoughts about this topic if you are willing to share.  

 

 

eric.reffett@ni.com

 


That would be would be incredible if true, but knowing how things go these days, I expect it won't happen. I don't have that much fate.

 

Tiered pricing and getting back different schemes for schools would be amazing. Mostly because tiers are really useful for small companies and departments that need to budget each year or splice something for a project even when they belong to a bigger company, which is very common. I know many people that are in that situation.

 

Which is my case, as I work in a global company, but our department is pretty small. For us, recurring pricing basically made no sense as we used LabVIEW strictly for internal projects, tools, and test software. I still remember when I showed management the new pricing scheme and they basically laughed and rejected approval for new licenses.

 

There's also the fact, that there's no regional pricing. Which made all the new costs for us, way harder to swallow than someone in the US for example.

 

Since then I've had to make anything newer in other languages. We still have the older applications running and I still make changes with older permanent licenses, but as far as new projects go, we haven't really used LabVIEW that much.

 

I imagine if you made applications that supported your production line or maybe you were a software house, a recurring pricing might have made some sense, but even then, it was too high, like seriously high.

 

With the pricing that high, I literally saw the decline of adoption in schools. It's such a stark difference between what my colleagues at the time knew when they graduated, vs the new interns and graduates coming out of school. I no longer see LabVIEW knowledge which used to be a thing in our engineering school.

 

And it all sucks, because had tiered pricing actually been a thing in the past, with special schemes or something friendlier to educational settings, I imagine LabVIEW would've continued being relevant.

 

Tiers would really be amazing if the pricing was just right, but, I honestly expect nothing.

 

 

 

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This is great feedback, a lot to uncover internally and hopefully will get back to you. Thank you so much for sharing!

One comment I'd like to make is, discontinuing LabVIEW is not an option. It's our flagship. It's not going to happen. 

Ahmed Eisawy | Director of Test Software Commercialization | +1 (503) 453-9178 | ni.com
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"Discontinuing" and "can no longer afford" are pretty much the same thing if you can no longer afford it.

Bill
CLD
(Mid-Level minion.)
My support system ensures that I don't look totally incompetent.
Proud to say that I've progressed beyond knowing just enough to be dangerous. I now know enough to know that I have no clue about anything at all.
Humble author of the CLAD Nugget.
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Was thinking similarly, discontinuing may not be up to them. 

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