Author Topic: annual update fees  (Read 15472 times)

Benno

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annual update fees
« on: November 02, 2013, 01:28:41 AM »
hi HEXCODE team!

Love your product! have had one since the very beginning!

mailed you some years ago to ask about the annual update fees and I recall you saying you might introduce it when you introduce a new product.  Well, this was probably in '08 or '09 when I asked, and now you are close to releasing a new product and was wondering what the state of this was? 

I did search you FAQ's and found this one:
 http://www.hexcode.co.za/products/gs-911/support/faq/what-do-upgrades-cost
where you state that when you will introduce this, the absolute maximum that you would ever exceed would be $49 for the Enthusiasts and $99 for a Pro. Is this still the case?

Personally, I'm not against this, I just thought about it this morning and thought I would ask.  As a matter of fact I don't know how you guys have managed to bring out all those updates without charging us for them, and I for one would not mind a small fee to support your development efforts!

Kudos and greetings
Benno


Haakon

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Re: annual update fees
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2013, 02:19:03 AM »
Just guessing- (I am sure Cobus or Stephan will answer)
We have had free updates for a very long time now :-)
If Hexcode ask for a moderate fee for updates I personally do not mind at all.
Few if any companies give lifetime updates- some do, but the updates slow down and stop :-)
I am happy with my GS911 as it is now and do not need more updates- I think?
(yes, my bike IS old and outdated)
IF there was a way to use the GS911 to flash the EPROM I would hapilly pay a LOT for THAT update :-)
Haakon 
 
2000 F650-GS

bikecrazy5

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Re: annual update fees
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2013, 09:52:28 PM »
agreed gs 911 is a brilliant product and outstanding support

thanx hex team

Eaton

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Re: annual update fees
« Reply #3 on: November 07, 2013, 07:28:23 PM »
+1

I don't mind paying for a good product. HexCode has many updates a year and great support. I'll start paying tomorrow if it keeps the product as great as it is!

What am I willing to pay? There price suggestions seem fair. I have a number of mobile apps in the 20 - 50 buck range but then realized that the HexCode product is a very niche space and I bet they have a fraction of the customers that these mobile apps have!

I say Go on and sign me up!

(I would love flashing my '09 R1200gs also  :P )

TheEaton


StephanT

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Re: annual update fees
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2013, 08:31:09 AM »
sorry guys, been traveling and that got the best of me...

Yes, many people have asked us how we have managed to keep up this level of development and support without any recurring income... The fact is that the BMW motorcycle market is pretty small, and even as our market share grows, so does the support load... and everything else around it...

I think the details around how we would do it are explained well in the example of the post I made right in the beginning of GS-911:
 http://www.hexcode.co.za/products/gs-911/support/faq/what-do-upgrades-cost

However, the cost has not been decided yet... the question is what is fair and good value at the same time?  ...let's make this somewhat of a discussion and get your feedback too!

That said, there is so much more we are in the process of doing, from the new GS-911wifi development (few people know that that's been an active project for since the beginning of 2010), to an online access to your bike's history (keeping log of the fault codes etc.) so you can go back and reference it...

Anyway, those of you who have been long time GS-911 customers, know that we are fair and only strive to better the product and its functionality, as well as our commitment to the product. And thus I would appreciate your feedback!

best
Stephan

Paul90

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Re: annual update fees
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2013, 01:32:17 PM »
This is a difficult one isn't it ?

At the moment the feedback on the GS911 and it's ongoing support is really, really good and IMHO well deserved.
It has to be funded to work, no doubt about that.

However, once you start charging for updates many people (perhaps myself included) may pass on that because we have old(er) bikes and are running them on a budget.  What we have today is "good enough".  Once people start passing on the upgrades little problems will creep in due to OS, driver changes, etc as always happens with older software.  So the (almost 100%) positive feedback may get erroded, just because not everyone is on the latest version.  People with problmes will be berated with "buy the update!" if that doesn't solve their problem, they will feel agreaved.

Of course there is also a cost in collecting the revenue and making the product secure so only those that have paid get the updates, etc.

We have seen Apple make bold moves in this space to ensure people are always running the latest software wherever possible (and perhaps using that to drive subsequent hardware upgrades).

You might want to consider a voluntary donation scheme - easy to admin and zero enforcement costs + lots of willing donations due to the great service.

Perhaps a charge for the "Pro" devices, people making a living from using your work should perhaps give a little back ?

Perhaps a charge for the active support - calls / mails to the helpdesk, etc rather than just use of the software.  I guess the majority of users are "self supporting" with the help of the internet ;-)  Others may just go straight to the heldesk with the most minor of problems and that costs HEXCODE money.

Perhaps only supporting some of the new, more advanced features on the newer (WiFi ?) hardware to encourage people to upgrade.  You need to produce in volume to keep costs down and upgrades would help in a limited market, you can't support the old hardware / software forever with an indentical feature set.  Perhaps bug fixes and "maintenance" only for old hardware rather than new features.

Perhaps a charge to add newer BWM models ?  I gues that's where most of the development cost is.

No easy answers but you have a great customer following and support.  In a limited market, maintaining that support is ultimately the key to success.
I guess you've stuck with the "free upgrades" model for so long becasue it has worked so well in terms of customer feedback / satisfaction.  If it's not broken, then plug in the GS911 to make sure ;-)

Best of luck for the future whichever way you decide to go.

Paul

sbrntnghm

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Re: annual update fees
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2013, 01:51:03 PM »
The GS-911 is a great product and needs to be supported to keep it moving forward and I would not be opposed to such a fee if reasonable. The update fees could possibly to done by offering it in two ways; one would be an annual fee for those who want to have the most recent update and this would give them all done in a year and s second fee for those who want to purchase an update only once a year or as they feel they need to. The annual fee would be higher than the one time fee. This approach might appeal to owners with older bikes that don't always need some of the updates to the GS-911.
Oldrider51

Vaderbloke

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Re: annual update fees
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2013, 03:43:59 PM »
I would not be opposed to paying update fees for new features/bikes. I can see some negatives, however, if someone owning an older bike on a limited budget was forced to pay fees just to keep the original functionality. This may cause some valuable feedback and even sales to be missed.

Just my 2c,

Dave.
Dave
Current:
2015 K1600GT
2012 S1000RR
Previously:
2012 K1600GTL
2009 K1300S
2004 K1200GT

StephanT

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Re: annual update fees
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2013, 06:25:13 PM »
I see there is a lot of confusion... so let me explain some more..

from the time we set out to produce GS-911, we envisaged that this would not stop or limit original functionality... As is already the case, the release versions do not expire... which means if you have a specific Release version with it's functionality, it will not be lost or expire or stop working...

The update will be in the form of an update window of 365 days. Thus when a user purchases an update, the date is noted to his interface and for the next 365 days the user can download all the updates, including both Beta versions and Release versions, as and when they are released... Once out of that window the user cannot download any updates... naturally any release version that the user has downloaded during his update window, are retained...

The user is also under no obligation to purchase or renew the update window.. If and when the user does decides to purchase an update (the update window of 365 days), the new purchase date is noted on the interface and for the next 365 days, the user can access the latest Release version and any other versions that are released within that 365 day period.

hope this explains it a little better... and makes it clear that no functionality will be lost...

best
Stephan





fahrer

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Re: annual update fees
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2013, 07:34:47 PM »
I have GS-911 since the spring of 2008 when I bought it directly from Hexcode. I have updated it (almost) regularly, and I will probably continue to do so even if it means paying a certain amount of money. I use it mostly on my bikes - R1200R and Dakar, before that R1200RT and F800S, and occassionally on my friends' bikes. I like to change my bikes(toys) every now and then, so when pro version was introduced, I upgraded my device, as it was not too expensive to upgrade. As I have no commercial use for my GS-911, I would probably be a bit dissapointed to pay more then the enthusiast user. Maybe the same amount can be charged for both versions, as I am sure, many of "pro" versions are not really used in workshops, and for those that are, well, good for them. I am more interested in the completely new GS-911 because in a year or two there will be some liquid cooled boxers on the used bike market, and then I might consider buying a newer bike for which I will need a new tool.  Maybe, if I will have no need for additional functions, I might choose not to update for a year or two, until I get the new(er) bike/you provide the new GS-911. Whatever you decide I will remain a very satisfied customer.


Best,

Boris

jeffkyle

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Re: annual update fees
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2013, 10:13:28 PM »
This is a very good product. .. and to date has had very good support.   I have actually never used my gs911 for anything other than reset the service reminder. .  I carry it more as an insurance. ..  not sure I would have bought if I thought there was an annual maintenance fee.  However when I need it I would hope it is up todate and has the functionality I need.  So I might be one of those that would freeze it until I needed it.  I understand there are costs associated with development and maintenance. ..and I assumed all that was built into the original pricing. ..   I would be willing to make a donation for future development...   I just think if there is an annual fee fewer people would be willing to purchase...




Sent from my SCH-I535 using Tapatalk


StephanT

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Re: annual update fees
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2013, 12:01:01 AM »
It seems Benno's choice of subject wording might be throwing everyone off a bit...  ???

If you read the example, in the FAQ:
 http://www.hexcode.co.za/products/gs-911/support/faq/what-do-upgrades-cost

It is not a fee you HAVE TO pay annually...  if there is a release version, and you like the functionality it has and you are out of your 1 year updates window, THEN you can pay the update fee, for which you will get that update that you wanted PLUS ANY updates released within 365 days from your purchase date...

thus... you have an older model, and the new update has nothing you fancy... the why pay for it...  well, you shouldn't...

make sense?

best
Stephan

StephanT

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Re: annual update fees
« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2013, 01:43:28 AM »
I appreciate all the feedback, and I'm happy that this is being discussed, as this makes people sit down and think about what they are getting, and grants me the opportunity to show what we have achieved, vs what we have charged for it..

I have heard a couple of things, and am summarising between what I see on this web forum as well as our email forum.

  • Some folks are suggesting that the initial cost should have included all the research and development cost
  • Some folks are suggesting that we should raise the initial sales price slightly in order to cover more of the Research and development costs
  • Some folks are happy to pay a fair update fee, if the updates are of useful to them or their bike model, or in other words they don't want to be charged for functionality they don't or won't use
  • Michel (on the email forum) compared GS-911 to the Bavarian Technic diagnostic tool for his BMW car, for which he is not paying an update fee
  • in and earlier post someone compared GS-911 to VCDS (VAG-COM) for VW, Audi, Seat & Skoda vehicles, for which they are also not paying a fee for updates

Let me respond to these...
  • the initial price is always a best guestimate as one does not know what the volume of sales will be... as it were, we are happy with the sales volumes and believe we have a marginally higher market penetration than the equivalent aftermarket vehicle diagnostic manufacturers.
  • At it's inception, GS-911 was called "An Emergency Diagnostic Tool for BMW Motorcycles, which is what it was envisioned to be, a scan tool that would effectively read and clear fault codes, to which we would add the viewing of live (real-time) engine data as this could also be useful in an Emergency Diagnosis situation... - Since then (and with many-many R&D hours subsequently) it has become a fully fledged diagnostic tool with upteen times its initial functionality
  • As for raising the initial price and comparing it head-on to other diagnostic tools such as Bavarian Technic (for BMW cars & Mini) and VCDS (VAG-COM) for VW, Audi, Seat & Skoda (and some others like Porsche, Bentley etc...) - I don't think people have looked at the data and thus don't see the full picture in terms of the scale of economics...
  • the update fee structure as described in the FAQ, states that you only pay the fee IF you want the update, and then as a bonus you will get any updates for the following 365 days... Thus in no way will you be charged or have to pay if you don't want an update!

 
So, I did a quick search and got the numbers for BMW Motorrad, vs BMW cars, vs VW group  and I've summarised them in a table below...
(now make sure you sit down before studying this table...)

ManufacturerBMW MotorradBMW+MiniVW+Audi+Seat+Skoda
2012 vehicle sales (annual report)106,3581,841,6117,305,000
Volume factor11769
ToolGS-911bluBavarian Technic EnthusiastVCDS (VAG-COM)
Tool price$349$287349
VIN limit103unlimited
BluetoothYESNoNo
Mobile versionYESNoNo
* Cost multiplier  -  $4,969$23,970
** Difference amortised as
annual update fee at $49***
  -  101 years489 years

NOTES:
* Assuming we have the same market penetration, then this is what we would need to sell each GS-911 for, in order to make the same sales turnover as the comparative tool
** Assuming we keep the current sales price and make up the difference to sales turnover (to the comparative tool), at an annual fee of $49, then this is the amount of years of updates it would take to reach the same sales turnover
*** $49 is used as an example only, as it shows the "best case scenario" for amount of years (i.e. with a smaller fee the years would simply increase)

I hope this creates some perspective  ;)

best
Stephan

Haakon

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Re: annual update fees
« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2013, 06:25:30 AM »
Please forgive me, I am "laughing" now- or half crying?  :-)
I guess most of the GS911 owners who have posted comments on this is like me?
I want the latest sofware- for the GS911 AND all other apps I have.
Do I need the latest beta software? Not at all :-)))
Will I pay for it? YES!
-------------
Owners of "new" bikes need the updates.
(I may too, if I ever want a new bike)
With a "new" bike in the garage I would want all the new features you develop.

My suggestion: (much like what you told already) free updates, "beta" and final for a few years after the purchase.
Then a fee (yearly or not) for new updates after that.
I think the bottom line (for me) is:
The GS911 features save me so much time and money that a update fee is well worth it.
IF you have a "new" bike, needing more visits to a BMW workshop than my old bike:
One visit to a BMW workshop usually cost more than the GS911  :-((
Haakon 
 


 

2000 F650-GS

Paul90

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Re: annual update fees
« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2013, 08:12:27 PM »
Don't forget Stephan - apples and bananas.

With my VCDS I can code up all the control units.
So I can fit options not fitted at the factory (Bluetooth handsfree, SatNav, cruise control, etc, etc) and code them up to work as if they were factory fitted.

Now if you make the GS-911 do that we don't have to go and pay a dealer just because we want to fit a later LED tail light, etc.

Paul