The Cesium Business Model
Given Cesium’s commitment to open source software, I am often asked about our business model. How do we support our team by giving away our visualization core, CesiumJS, as free open source software and by contributing our time and expertise to creating open standards?
We believe we are in the early days of realizing the value of 3D geolocation data from today’s abundance of sensors. As such we need a business model that promotes openness and interoperability so our community can collaborate and innovate to advance the industries we serve. We are building a business for the long game.
Like other modern successful open source software companies, Cesium uses a business model that combines a healthy balance of open source and commercial software in a single platform. Our optional commercial software, Cesium ion, extends the open-source CesiumJS visualization core to form a complete 3D geospatial platform including curated 3D content, data pipelines for 3D tiling, and analytics. We offer cloud-hosted and on-premise subscriptions to this software.
We need a business model that promotes openness and interoperability so our community can collaborate and innovate to advance the industries we serve.
We still invest heavily in making open-source CesiumJS best in class on its own and for it to be interoperable with platform services from other companies. We believe that enough CesiumJS users will find the unique value of Cesium ion to be worth investing in us. As the experts in the full Cesium stack, we are able to provide the best performance, precision, robustness, ease of use, and total cost of ownership to empower users to build quickly.
We do not use a pure play open source business model like the early open source companies because this model puts a company at odds with its customers. When a company offers their software as 100% open source and then relies on services and support subscriptions to fund their team, it disincentivizes the company to make their software complete, efficient, and easy to use. It also encourages third-party integrators to sell hours for the same services over and over again, and to maintain proprietary forks that fracture the productivity of the community.
Instead, we engage in services and support through deep partnerships with commercial and government leaders to advance Cesium’s core technology and build together to solve problems.
—Patrick Cozzi, CEO