Life at Eclipse

Musings on the Eclipse Foundation, the community and the ecosystem

Archive for July 2014

Leading Automotive Companies to Collaborate at Eclipse: Introducing openMDM

Last week, AUDI, BMW and Daimler announced they are joining forces to form the Eclipse openMDM Working Group to create a new open source community to develop and distribute tools for managing automotive test data. These leading automotive OEMs will be joined in the group by Canoo Engineering AG, GIGATRONIK GmbH, HighQSoft GmbH, Peak Solution GmbH, and science + computing ag.

OpenMDM will address the challenge of managing the generated test measurement data that is becoming critical to the automotive industry. Automotive and other industries are driven by continuous product development processes where multiple partners collaborate across the lifecycle. Almost every development phase includes the testing of components, subsystems, or final products. Usually testing is done with computer assistance via automated measurement systems. The amount of test data created and collected is tremendous in size, and is constantly growing due to an increasing variance of products, a rising number of functions, and advancements in measurement techniques. The management of measured test data is a significant challenge for industry. OpenMDM will focus on developing and distributing tools, certification tests, and test data that conforms to the automotive industry standard called ASAM ODS (Association of Standardisation of Automation and Measuring Systems). MDM@WEB, the first Eclipse project for the group has already been proposed.

For obvious reasons, this is a big deal for Eclipse. When three of the most innovative and successful automotive companies decide to create an open source community at Eclipse, it is a strong statement that open source in general, and Eclipse in particular are offering a compelling solution for companies interested in promoting open collaboration and innovation.

I also see this announcement as confirmation of some key trends in the technology industry.

  1. Open Innovation for All: Software companies long ago understood the importance of open source to drive technology adoption and innovation. We are now seeing other industries, such as automotive and aerospace,  realize that the best way to innovate and drive technology adoption is through open source communities. The model we have developed with the Eclipse Working Groups is proving to provide the right level of governance, process, infrastructure, and community development to make these collaborations successful.
  2. Open Standards and Open Source Make a Good Match: Over and over again we see great things happen when an open standard is matched with a vendor-neutral open source implementation. Lots of industries implement standards to drive interoperability and reduce vendor lock-in costs. The implementation of a standard typically does not provide any competitive advantage for any individual company. Therefore, collaborating on an open source implementation is the best way forward. OpenMDM is focused on implementing tools and test for an automotive standard called ASAM ODS. AUDI, BMW, and Daimler all realize that creating their own proprietary tool for ASAM ODS is not likely to build a better car or increase shareholder value. In fact, working together to encourage a community to innovate on tools will create a better set of tools than an individual company can create by themselves, at a significantly reduced cost.
  3. Vendor Independence Is Key: Many companies start their journey with open source by creating their own community. But they ultimately hit a wall in growing that community, especially in getting the involvement of the other companies in the same industry. Eclipse experienced this in its early days when it was not an independent, vendor-neutral entity. At the time, competitors of IBM were reluctant to make strategic commitments if IBM had ultimate control over the destiny of the Eclipse community. After the Eclipse Foundation was created, companies like Oracle, SAP, BEA, and Borland became more involved. The story of openMDM is strikingly similar, as it originates with Audi and is now becoming a truly independent and vendor-neutral open source community.

One of the key reasons we created the Eclipse Working Groups was so other industries and communities could create their own vendor-neutral “foundations” at Eclipse. We like to think of working groups as being “foundations in a box”. Instead of going through the costly and time consuming process of setting up a new foundation, an Eclipse Working Group can get setup very quickly and provide all the benefits of a vendor-neutral entity. In addition, the operational costs of the group are significantly reduced by using the professional resources of the Eclipse Foundation. OpenMDM is a great example of a vendor-neutral community that allows competing automotive companies to collaborate on equal terms.

Congratulations and thank you to AUDI, BMW and Daimler, as well as Canoo Engineering AG, GIGATRONIK GmbH, HighQSoft GmbH, Peak Solution GmbH, and science + computing ag, for creating openMDM at Eclipse. We see a bright future for this collaboration and open innovation at Eclipse. This is another great example of how industry can and will use open source and Eclipse Working Groups to drive forward open collaboration and innovation.

Written by Mike Milinkovich

July 29, 2014 at 3:21 pm

Posted in Foundation, Open Source