As the SDLC and its open-source connectivity platform approaches its 2nd anniversary, the FordDev team, along with its consortium partners, recently wrapped up their second annual SDL Developer Conference in Los Angeles, which was held from 11th to the 14th of September. SDLC members, prospective adopters, and developers who of course make it all possible, all descended on sunny downtown LA to debate and discuss the exciting future of the platform.
Attendees at this year’s Mobile World Congress Americas had a number of opportunities to interact with contributors from all aspects of the SDL ecosystem, discuss opportunities around the platform, and explore ways in which they can get involved.
The FordDev Make It Driveable Challenge LA kicked off the festivities. Following hot on the heels of the Tel Aviv Challenge held in Israel the previous week, meant the FordDev team engines had to be firing on all cylinders! Two successful Challenges later, and they find themselves with a ton of new innovative services and ideas introduced by the participants on both sides of the globe, with some very happy developers who won prizes for their hard work. Check out the Tel Aviv and LA Make It Driveable pages for Challenge results and event summaries.
With a packed agenda of expert speakers and thought leaders day two promised a wealth of information about the future of the connected car, where in-vehicle content will change as the industry approaches the autonomous world. Topics ranged from the legal considerations of working with the open-source platform to responsible data relationships, and thoughts on monetization within the SDL ecosystem.
Doug VanDagens, Global Director, Connected Services Solutions at Ford, opened the conference with a snapshot of the SDLC growth to date. He illustrated how the platform provides so many compelling reasons for anyone-and-everyone to join the ecosystem and benefit from contributing to a true open-source initiative, poised to deliver near and continued benefits. Doug has been the chairman of the SDLC board of directors since it was formed back 2016 and was instrumental in all of its early successes. He has announced that he is retiring from Ford, so we thank him for his work and wish him the best of luck!
The SDLC has over 40 members from all areas within the automotive world. Real-life competitors sit side by side, setting aside competitive differences in an effort to nurture a successful ecosystem that will benefit all contributors. This isn’t always an easy path and there are many questions prospective members have prior to and even after joining the SDLC. John LeRoy of Brooks Kushman P.C. has been answering many of these questions for our members as the IP Counsel for the SDLC, so he was the perfect person to share a great overview of what it means to join the SDLC.
John addressed subjects such as patents and trademarks, their use and guidelines. Of particular interest to the crowd was his explanations of copyrights and the impact of open-source contribution to intellectual property rights. An extremely informative session for prospective members in attendance.
The data age has reached the automotive industry and the timing coincides with a plethora of new and changing requirements for data capture, storage, and transmission. Bruce Gustafson, CEO of the Developers Alliance, advocates on behalf of developers and helps provide a voice for the tech industry in the governmental institutes in the US and Europe. Bruce joined us on stage to explain how all of the various members of the SDL ecosystem are impacted by legislation being introduced today and in the future. As technology evolves faster and faster, the lawmakers around the world will need input from our tech sectors to understand the actual impact their decisions can make on people’s lives.
After the Make It Driveable Challengers competed on stage, the audience avoided an after-lunch-food-coma by participating in real-time voting, Michael Rasalan, the Director of Research at Evans Data Corp laid out their finding on developer sentiment towards the automotive industry, platforms, and resources gleaned from their in-depth global developer research. Takeaways from Michael’s presentation included addressing the fact that developers are working on the connected car right now and not waiting for future technology. Developers need a community to support their efforts, and if the SDLC wishes to grow, embracing developers is one of the keys to success.
The automotive and radio industries have a very long and rich history (i.e. they’re both old!) that is in the midst of a radical transformation. John Ellis, of Ellis and Associates, one of the founding fathers of SDL, currently works very closely with the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) giving him a unique perspective on the subject of content consumption today and how it may evolve as the in-vehicle experience becomes more and more similar to the living room.
John conducted an informative discussion with an expert panel which included;
- Michele Lavin of iHeartMedia
- Stephanie Bauer Marshall of M3 Advisors
- Richard Smith of OpenPath Products
The group had a candid conversation about the role that broadcasters have had in the automotive industry and how NAB constituents from both the radio and the television broadcasting world need to address how all content will live in the vehicle. The transforming role of technology, and how the two industries have historically not been first to adopt new technolgy, was a topic that illustrated the huge opportunity SDL presents. By working together and leveraging the advantages currently in place, the SDL ecosystem can prove to be an early tech-creator enabling opportunity and content monetization.
Livio is the project maintainer for the SDL platform. Paul Elsila, CEO of Livio, detailed a number of milestones achieved on the platform over the past year, including Projection Mode for navigation and the launch of Waze as an SDL enabled application. Paul also showed off highlights of the consortium such as breaking through 40 members and the launch of the Toyota’s first SDL enabled solution this past July!
Scott Burnell from the FordDev team wrapped up the day with a session outlining both external challenges to SDL success and the plethora of monetization opportunities the platform presents to all of the various ecosystem members. Illustrating the rapid expanse of competitor ecosystems in Silicon Valley and China, Burnell implored the audience to learn from the lessons learned in recent history at mobile operators, handset makers, and the music industry, as these ecosystems expanded and inhaled the opportunities they once owned.
His final message included visual examples of the unique SDL advantages such as access to vehicle data and how developers and OEMs alike benefit by working together to create enhanced features and compelling in-vehicle environments.