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FACE™: Exchanging proprietary avionics solutions for a standardized computing environment

By Judy Cerenzia, The Open Group

It’s hard to believe that only eight months ago we kicked off The Open Group Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™) Consortium, a collaborative group of avionics industry and U.S. Army, Navy and Air Force contributors who are working to develop standards for a common operating environment to support portable capability applications across Department of Defense (DoD) avionics systems. Our goal is to create an avionics software environment on installed computing hardware of war-fighting platforms that enables FACE™ applications to be deployed on different platforms without impact to the FACE™ applications. This approach to portable applications and interoperability will reduce development and integration costs and reduce time to field new avionics capabilities.

The  FACE™ Technical Working Group is rapidly developing Version 1 of our technical standard, scheduled to be released later this year. The FACE™ Consortium strategy is changing the way government and industry do business by breaking down barriers to portability – exchanging proprietary solutions for a common and standardized computing environment and components. To enable this climate change, the Consortium’s Business Working Group is developing a Business Model Guide, defining stakeholders and their roles within a new business model, developing business scenarios and defining how stakeholders will impact or be impacted by business drivers in each, and investigating how contract terms, software licensing agreements, and IP rights may need to change to support procuring common components with standardized interfaces vs. a proprietary black-box solution from a prime contractor.  They’re also using TOGAF™ checklists from Phases A and B of the ADM process to ensure they’ve addressed all required business issues for the avionics enterprise.

We’ve grown from 74 individuals representing 14 organizations in June 2010 to over 200 participants from 20 government and industry partners to date. We’ve scheduled face-to-face meetings every 6 weeks, rotating among member locations to host the events and averaged over 70 attendees at each. Our next consortium meeting will be in the DC area March 2-3, 2011, hosted by the Office of Naval Research. I’m looking forward to seeing FACE™ colleagues, facilitating their working meeting, and forging ahead toward our mission to develop, evolve and publish a realistic open FACE™ architecture, standards and business model, and robust industry conformance program that will be supported and adopted by FACE™ customers, vendors, and integrators.

Judy Cerenzia is a Director of Collaboration Services for The Open Group, currently providing project management and facilitation support to the Future Airborn Capabilities Environment (FACE™) Consortium.  She has 10+ years experience leading cross-functional and cross-organizational development teams to reach consensus, using proven business processes and best practices to achieve strategic and technical goals.

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