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How KENWOOD Viking reduces the cost of radio software for fire departments

KENWOOD Viking's perpetual software licensing program for fire departments significantly shrinks the costs associated with land mobile radio (LMR) ownership

Sponsored by KENWOOD Viking

By Victoria Mack for FireRescue1 BrandFocus

Land mobile radios, or “two-way” radios, ensure that firefighters can communicate on the fireground and stay safe. Unfortunately, the software for public safety-grade radios is expensive.

Perpetual licenses can be transferred from any X, ES or Viking radios to any other Viking radio.
Perpetual licenses can be transferred from any X, ES or Viking radios to any other Viking radio. (image/KENWOOD Viking)

Can anything be done to lower these costs? That’s the question the team at KENWOOD Viking, makers of the award-winning KENWOOD Viking Radios, asked when they developed their perpetual software license program with the Vault – a free cloud-based portal used to manage the licenses. 


The Vault is a cloud-based license purchase, storage and transfer system. The system gives fire departments more control over the expenses associated with radio ownership and software upgrades, said Arindam Roy, KENWOOD Viking’s vice president of product management.

When a customer connects their X, ES or Viking radios to the Vault, the program downloads the license information for the radios into a database and then organizes that data by the radio’s serial numbers. Licenses available for transfer are tagged accordingly.

When a customer retires or disposes of a radio, the radio’s perpetual software licenses are forever maintained in the Vault for future use in a different radio.

With the Vault, customers can easily manage their radio software assets. There are two convenient sort/view options. The fleet view lists all of the radios in a fleet and identifies the licenses assigned to each, whether those licenses are perpetual or not. The Vault view includes only the perpetual licenses that are unassigned and available to transfer to a radio.

Customers can transfer licenses from their existing radios to the Vault and later transfer those licenses to newer radios, eliminating the need to purchase the same software license again. The Vault works with KENWOOD Viking’s Armada fleet management and programming software to execute the transfer of the software licenses.

The Vault has built-in reporting functionality. Users can view license transfer reports, transaction history and purchase reports.

In addition to managing software licenses, users can also create tags for their department and assign those tags to different radios. This will help them filter and manage all of the radios they own by custom groupings.


Perpetual licenses can be transferred from any X, ES or Viking radios to any other Viking radio. The current software options that are part of the perpetual license program include these commonly requested options:

  • P25 Conventional
  • P25 Phase 1 Trunking
  • MDC1200/GE-Star Signaling
  • FireSafe Command
  • FireSafe Responder
  • P25 Data Conventional
  • P25 Data Trunking


Roy said perpetual licensing for radio software significantly reduces cost of radio ownership because software licenses often exceed 70 percent of the cost of a radio. The ability to transfer a license to another radio saves the customer money by not requiring a repurchase of that software feature license for every future radio.

“Purchasing new hardware no longer means purchasing new software,” he said.

Once a software license is purchased, it belongs to the customer forever, regardless of the hardware it’s used on. Buy once, and then use again and again.

“When you buy new hardware – namely, the radio – you don’t have to also buy the software again if you already have the software in the Vault,” Roy said. “The cost savings is significant, up to $1,200 on each future radio.”

As an added bonus, customers who bought these software licenses before the launch of the Vault program are automatically grandfathered in. That’s an immediate financial perk because the monetary value of software already purchased is maintained and transferred into the next hardware purchase.

“The process of storing software licenses in the Vault and then transferring them to new hardware is quick and simple,” Roy said.

This new perpetual software licensing program is a boon for fire departments. It not only enables LMR licenses to be loaded into new radios with fewer steps, but also eliminates the redundant costs of repurchasing licenses. That translates into savings of both time and money.

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