Below is our recent interview with Keith Bergelt, CEO of Open Invention Network:
Q: Hi Keith, it’s great to speak with you again. It looks like another global automotive company is joining the Open Invention Network?
A: Thank you, it’s great to speak with you again. Yes, we are very excited to announce that Group Renault has joined Open Invention Network (OIN). We greatly appreciate Renault’s leadership in joining OIN and supporting patent non-aggression in Linux and adjacent open source technologies.
Q: How many automotive manufactures have joined OIN to this point?
A: Increasingly, the automotive industry is relying on digital technologies to advance and differentiate their offerings. This means the brands are shifting their traditional manufacturing model from hardware to software. Innovation is taking shape with such advances as autonomous drive, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS), digital cockpits and vehicle electrification. The industry is also realizing that vehicles are increasingly becoming mobile tech devices. Cars stream music from the cloud, allow hands-free phone calls, provide real-time traffic information, monitor speed and track fuel efficiency.
The majority of major automotive brands, and a number of global Tier 1 automotive parts suppliers, are participating in shared innovation and collaboration through open source technologies like Automotive Grade Linux (AGL). In order to tangibly demonstrate their support, they have joined OIN to practice patent non-aggression in the areas addressed by AGL. Toyota joined several years ago and became a Funding Member of OIN . Some of the other major brands that have joined OIN as licensees include Ford, General Motors, Daimler, Honda, Subaru, Volvo, Hyundai, Nissan, Great Wall Motor, BYD, Geely and of course Renault, among many others.
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Q: Why do you think the automotive transportation industry finds Linux so compelling?
A: The automobile is quickly being reshaped, and in turn is changing the automotive industry in a parallel manner to how the mobile phone transformed the communications industry. Almost every system, bumper-to-bumper, is being re-engineered to adapt to digital platforms. The key enablers of these rapid advancements are open, collaborative platforms.
To remain competitive, automakers and their related counterparts are embracing open source development. AGL, a collaborative open source project, is a key example. It is bringing together automakers, suppliers and technology companies to accelerate the development and adoption of connected cars, commercial vehicles and everything in-between.
Knowing the open source community will deliver these advances, industry frontrunners are demonstrating their commitment to both open source and patent non-aggression by joining OIN.
Q: Shifting gears, so to speak, it appears retailers, a group of companies that are obviously heavily reliant on technology, are joining OIN?
A: In many ways the roots of the technology industry were founded to address the needs of retailers. IBM, NEC and other vendors were at the forefront of building tabulation and point-of-sale (POS) devices that enabled retailers to better manage their inventory and goods sold.
A century later, we see that retailers are a mixture of brick-and-mortar locations and online destinations. Today, most retailer’ supply chains are international. Their research, marketing and customer acquisition systems are possibly the most sophisticated in the world. Their purchase and fulfillment platforms operate as close to real-time as possible.
Retailers are recognizing the benefits of shared collaboration and innovation in core technologies, allowing them to focus the majority of their energies higher up the technology stack – enabling them to effectively differentiate themselves from competitors. A key innovation engine for retailers is Linux and other open source platforms.
Some of the forward-thinking retailers that have demonstrated their commitment to patent non-aggression in open platforms include Alibaba, Costco, Disney, Sony, Microsoft, Etsy, GoPro, Flipkart, Fossil, JD.com, Meituan-Dianping and Newegg.com.
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Q: Given that you have 3,000 licensees, and it appears that the majority of the cloud, IT, telecommunications and automotive manufacturers appear to have joined OIN, what other industries are you looking to participate in OIN?
A: Our founding Members – IBM, NEC, Novell, Philips, Red Hat and Sony – were true visionaries in that they pledged patents and financing to get the OIN community started. In the last few years, we have been further bolstered by Google and Toyota joining as Members.
Open Invention Network is an organization that has disrupted classic licensing models in its intent and its practices. The intent was to provide a means of building and protecting a community of businesses and organizations that understand the value of shared innovation, particularly in Linux and adjacent open source technologies.
We believe that FinTech, Finance, Retail, Communications, and Industrial (via the Internet-of-Things) segments will experience the largest disruptions from new technologies. There are other areas such as Energy and Utilities that are also increasingly likely be affected by open source technologies in the coming years.