Monday, December 10, 2012

The Growing OSGi Ecosystem

Let’s step back for a second to look at OSGi, the big picture. We’re all so busy facing both everyday and strategic challenges that we don’t always see how many we are, how much OSGi is being deployed and, as a result, how much the OSGi ecosystem is growing.

Industry conferences are an excellent illustration of ecosystem growth and OSGi value.

We just wrapped the OSGi Community Event 2012 last quarter.  The buzz around OSGi was very visible. The event was co-located with EclipseCon Europe and some talks drew 80 attendees, a healthy snapshot of the OSGi ecosystem.  The OSGi keynote by John Duimovich from IBM showed just how well-known OSGi technology is and how it is deployed in other communities. It was exciting to see business deployments, such as the QIVICON solution from Deutsche Telekom or Cisco’s product solution, not only show the benefits of OSGi technology, but also attract additional market players to become solution partners and, accordingly, grow the ecosystem. Also, the technical presentations received positive feedback and covered a range of markets, from enterprise, cloud, and embedded topics to native OSGi. An engaged audience and an inspiring BoF showcased the high interest in the various topics and the increasing interest in OSGi-based solutions.

Excitement about OSGi is expected at the OSGi Community Event, but it also builds at other events and shows the breadth of the OSGi ecosystem as it presents the value of OSGi. For instance, there were 14 sessions with OSGi technology at Java One 2012. Importantly, they weren’t all “OSGi sessions,” but OSGi is a part of so many efforts that it works its way into diverse talks.

There is an increasing understanding and recognition that OSGi is the right technology when it comes to reducing complexity with modularity, whether it’s for large-scale distributed systems or small, embedded applications.

In the Smart Home market, which touches both large-scale utilities as well as embedded applications, OSGi adoption is gaining speed. OSGi is deployed in a variety of Smart Home devices and portal-based solutions because it provides a dynamic programming model for all applications and the capability to integrate and enhance multiple devices in a networked environment at runtime. There is an entire ecosystem building around Smart Home and Smart Energy solutions – and OSGi is integral to more and more of these solutions. You can expect that several operators and their partners will commercially launch OSGi based solutions in 2013.

Key standardization organizations are joining forces at their industry members’ request to further speed up the process for such end-to-end solutions. An OSGi workshop in October launched coordinated efforts regarding the device abstraction layer and follow-up meetings and action plans have followed.  It’s moving fast because the market wants a standardized device abstraction layer solution as soon as possible – and OSGi is considered to be a key piece of the puzzle. 

OSGi is also an industry standard for enterprise application server providers, and is embraced by open source projects within the Apache and Eclipse communities. Enterprise adopters don’t necessarily promote their use of OSGi yet, but it could become a notable competitive differentiator, as it has in the Smart Home market.

This momentum across industries promotes and builds the case for both OSGi adoption and Alliance membership. Open source as well as commercial projects propel the development of tooling and fuel steady development of the OSGi ecosystem itself, including a broad variety of industry players from enterprise software companies, operators and utility providers to software providers, manufacturers of Customer Premise Equipment (CPE), white goods, SoC vendors, Independent Software Vendors (including portal and application vendors), automotive manufacturers, and telematics providers. The cross-industry OSGi ecosystem allows companies to discover new partners and to share the workload while enhancing their product portfolio and service offerings –even in the aftermarket. That’s why it’s beneficial to become part of it – a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Inspiring times -- when you take a step back to notice. Of course, there is always more work to do and more ideas of where we can go, but we know the cycle between specification work and adoption is shrinking while the ecosystem grows. And that is to all of our benefit.

Susan Schwarze
OSGi VP Marketing

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