Today, everyone is familiar with the concept of ‘Software-as-a-Service’ (SaaS), where cloud-based services replace traditional software running on a local computer. A parallel notion, ‘Hardware-as-a-Service’ (HaaS) is coming into common usage, denoting the replacement of local equipment by cloud-based hardware. A simple example of this is the now-common migration of a server from a local machine to a virtual machine managed by a cloud service such as Azure or AWS.
HaaS is gaining traction for many reasons. Hardware is a depreciating asset, whereas a monthly service fee fits more smoothly with many business models. HaaS transforms Capex (Capital Expense) into Opex (Operating Expense). Many companies prefer a pay-as-you-go model, rather than paying up-front. HaaS provides more flexibility to upgrade or downgrade machine size as requirements change over time. Similar to the huge benefit of the SaaS model, with HaaS the technology is always up-to-date. And at a more fundamental level, users pay for output, which can be measured in many different ways, rather than the asset itself.
Eight years ago, InstantCard was a pioneer in implementing a HaaS business model, even if the term didn’t exist then. From the beginning, we felt it was more efficient for our clients to pay for ID cards rather than a printer. We avoid the necessity of purchasing specialized, expensive printers by just providing the end product, a professional photo ID card, as a service. Our clients no longer have to worry about printer obsolescence or hardware refresh – InstantCard handles that for them. They don’t have to worry about troubleshooting or maintenance, and get better security than if they operated a local printer. And they can opt for equipment-dependent add-ons (like a holographic overlay), which would otherwise entail even more expensive hardware, at minimal cost.
While we didn’t invent the term ‘Hardware-as-a-Service’, we’re very pleased to see that the world is recognizing the compelling logic behind our thinking when we founded InstantCard!