Modified Off-The-Shelf


Modified Off-The-Shelf (MOTS) refers to a technology product or software that is commercially available, but has been customized or altered to better suit a specific organization or user’s requirements. It combines the advantages of pre-built solutions with the flexibility to tailor the product to individual needs. This approach can save time, effort, and resources compared to developing a fully custom solution from scratch.

Key Takeaways

  1. Modified Off-The-Shelf (MOTS) describes products that are prebuilt and later customized to meet specific user requirements.
  2. These products offer a mix of ready-made solutions and tailored functionality, providing time and cost efficiency compared to fully custom-built solutions.
  3. MOTS products can be found across various industries, including software applications, hardware, and consumer goods, and they are particularly popular in situations where standard solutions need to be adapted for unique use cases.


Modified Off-The-Shelf (MOTS) is an important technology term as it refers to hardware or software products that are readily available in the market but undergo customization to meet specific user requirements.

This approach provides a balance between the cost-effectiveness of using pre-built, mass-produced products and the need for tailor-made solutions for unique applications or situations.

By leveraging an existing platform, organizations can save time, resources, and reduce risks associated with developing an entirely new system from scratch.

Furthermore, MOTS allows users to benefit from ongoing general support, updates, and innovations provided by the original vendor.

Overall, the relevance of MOTS lies in its ability to combine the advantages of both off-the-shelf and custom-built solutions to create an economic and efficient response to a wide range of technological needs.


Modified Off-The-Shelf (MOTS) technology serves a vital purpose in various industries, addressing unique or specific requirements that cannot be fully met by conventional off-the-shelf solutions. Companies or organizations often opt for MOTS when they need a product or solution that is slightly altered to fit their needs.

Utilizing MOTS allows these entities to maintain the essential elements of the original technology while customizing it to fit their requirements, streamlining its functionality, or improving its capabilities. As a result, instead of building from scratch, users can modify and augment pre-existing solutions to meet their objectives, often leading to significant cost savings, reduced development time, and a quicker rollout.

Moreover, the implementation of MOTS enables organizations to modify well-tested and proven technology, ensuring a certain level of reliability and performance while addressing their unique needs. This approach can be effective across various sectors, including government, military, healthcare, and IT, among others.

By integrating MOTS, organizations can achieve an optimal software solution with extended functionality, paving the way for better operational efficiency and increased productivity. Ultimately, it presents a practical alternative to reinventing the wheel, allowing for tailored, dynamic, and reliable products and solutions.

Examples of Modified Off-The-Shelf

Modified Off-The-Shelf (MOTS) refers to taking commercially available products or components and adapting or modifying them to meet a specific need or requirement. Here are three real-world examples of MOTS technology:

Military Equipment: Militaries often use MOTS technology to reduce costs and development time for new systems. For example, the US Army’s Small Unmanned Aircraft System (SUAS) known as the RQ-11 Raven is based on a commercially available, off-the-shelf UAV. This system was then modified with additional features, such as secure communications and payload capabilities to fulfill specific military requirements.

Medical Equipment: Hospitals and medical device manufacturers often need to adapt or modify off-the-shelf equipment to meet special requirements, such as accommodating a patient’s unique needs or meeting specific regulatory standards. One example is the modification of prosthetic limbs, which can be customized and adjusted to fit the patient’s unique body structure and movement patterns.

Automotive Industry: Car manufacturers may use MOTS to cut costs and speed up the development process by using existing components from other models or suppliers. These components can then be modified to meet the specific requirements of a new car model. For instance, Tesla used a modified version of the Mercedes-Benz steering column and gearbox when building their original Model S Electric Vehicle. This allowed Tesla to save time and money while still meeting essential performance specifications.

Modified Off-The-Shelf (MOTS) FAQ

What is Modified Off-The-Shelf (MOTS)?

Modified Off-The-Shelf (MOTS) refers to the customization or modification of commercially available, pre-built hardware or software systems to cater to specific requirements of a client or project. This approach combines the advantages of off-the-shelf solutions with the flexibility of custom development.

What are the benefits of using a MOTS approach?

Some benefits of using a MOTS approach include reduced development time, cost savings, increased reliability due to the use of proven technology, access to a wider range of features, and the ability to meet unique project requirements through customization.

When should a MOTS solution be considered over a custom solution?

A MOTS solution should be considered when the available off-the-shelf system can meet most of the project requirements with minor modifications, resulting in a more cost-effective and time-efficient solution compared to building a custom solution from scratch.

What are the potential drawbacks of using a MOTS approach?

Potential drawbacks of using a MOTS approach include limited control over the development process, potential compatibility issues with existing systems, vendor dependency, possible licensing restrictions, and potential challenges in modifying the product to meet future requirements.

How can I determine if a MOTS solution is appropriate for my project?

To determine if a MOTS solution is appropriate for your project, you should perform a thorough evaluation of your project requirements, assess the available off-the-shelf solutions and how they align with your needs, evaluate the customization options, and consider factors such as cost, time, and resources involved in the process.

Related Technology Terms

  • Customization
  • Pre-built Components
  • System Integration
  • Hardware Modification
  • Software Adaptation

Sources for More Information

  • Techopedia – A comprehensive resource for technology terms and trends.
  • Computerworld – A leading source of technology news, analysis, and in-depth information on the latest developments in the world of technology.
  • IBM – A global technology company offering a wide range of solutions, and a trusted voice in technology.
  • Gartner – A well-known research and advisory company providing insights on technology and digital trends.

About The Authors

The DevX Technology Glossary is reviewed by technology experts and writers from our community. Terms and definitions continue to go under updates to stay relevant and up-to-date. These experts help us maintain the almost 10,000+ technology terms on DevX. Our reviewers have a strong technical background in software development, engineering, and startup businesses. They are experts with real-world experience working in the tech industry and academia.

See our full expert review panel.

These experts include:


About Our Editorial Process

At DevX, we’re dedicated to tech entrepreneurship. Our team closely follows industry shifts, new products, AI breakthroughs, technology trends, and funding announcements. Articles undergo thorough editing to ensure accuracy and clarity, reflecting DevX’s style and supporting entrepreneurs in the tech sphere.

See our full editorial policy.

More Technology Terms

Technology Glossary

Table of Contents