to develop both client and cloud applications for use not only on Panasonic
but also other industry hardware. This
agnostic view of development fosters
the Panasonic commitment to community and industry.
All of these efforts focus on enabling customers and partners to do
more with Panasonic products and
services than they could do before.
So, in the end, the decision to create
the OpenDOF Project is viewed as a
way to help our customers and partners—and that always makes good
In 1932, when Konosuke Matsushita decided to “open source” his radio
patents, computer software did not
exist. But the decision to do so then
was just as multi-faceted as the decision to form the OpenDOF Project 83
years later. In both cases, the industry
reacted positively. The release in 1932
helped to spur an industry and solidify
the growth of what would eventually
become the Panasonic of today.
History will judge the relative importance of the 2015 OpenDOF Project
release and its impact on the IoT. The
combined effect of open-source projects in general, and particularly in the
IoT, has already been judged, and is
not only a success, but a required feature moving forward.
[ 1] Orion, E. Linux is winning enterprise cloud market
share at expense of Windows. Inquirer. http://www.
[ 2] Blackduck. The Ninth Annual Future of Open Source
Survey. 2015. https://www.blackducksoft ware.com/
[ 3] em WareR Opens Its emNet T Protocol.
ApplianceDesign.Se pt. 28, 2000.ht tp://www.
[ 4] Panasonic. Panasonic to Share Intellectual Property
to Spur Growth of Internet of Things. March 22,
2015. Press release. http://shop.panasonic.
Bryant Eastham serves as the principal soft ware architect
for Panasonic Corporation of North America. He is
responsible for establishing the company’s architectural
road map and vision for distributed platforms and the
Internet of Things. Eastham sets and shares Panasonic’s
architectural vision across R&D projects and products
developed in North America.
© 2015 Copyright held by Owner(s)/Author(s).
Publication rights licensed to ACM.
inside large companies do not follow
similar trends of diminishing attention. What’s more, with closed-source,
when the projects diminish there is no
external way to revitalize them.
Panasonic understood many of
these benefits when making the decision to open source its IoT platform
as the OpenDOF Project. If only these
reasons were considered, that would
seem to make the decision almost totally altruistic. Even with its corporate
principles like “contribution to society,” there was more to the story (as
there often is when companies leverage
open source). In this case, there was
constructive pressure from customers
to provide open-source solutions. Panasonic, particularly in North America,
is a B2B company. We collect data from
solar farms and in-flight weather stations as well as a variety of other non-consumer products. Partners prefer
open source as a form of insurance,
and Panasonic’s partners are no different. An extension of this partnership is
the idea of customer-as-a-partner and
the rise of the “hackathon” mentality.
The logic is by enabling the technology-savvy customer to produce extensions
of your products, you create a win-win
environment. The company wins by
helping to foster a loyal customer base
that actively promotes the company’s
products; the customer/partner wins
by being able to monetize their work.
Open source and open APIs are a great
way to facilitate this arrangement.
The need to strengthen the customer–partner relationship helps to clarify
the broader vision inside Panasonic,
where the open-source OpenDOF Project is only a single piece. To understand this, a more detailed explanation of the technology will help.
At its core, the project defines a
distributed object model and messaging system built around a distributed
object framework (DOF). The object
model is built on interfaces that are
similar to interface definitions in programming languages like Java or C#.
These interfaces define types, properties, methods, events, and exceptions.
Interfaces are implemented and made
available on a network by providers
who associate the interface with an
object. Both the object and the inter-
face are identified using a naming
scheme that allows discovery and un-
derstanding on the client side, clients
can then interact with the objects over
the network. This messaging system
is integrated with a complete security
solution that includes authentication,
access control, and encryption.
The OpenDOF Project provides:
˲Source control, defect tracking,
and continuous integration and testing systems.
˲ Native support for Java, C, and C#.
˲Official builds of the components suitable for integration, as well
as the ability to build directly into a
˲ Full protocol specifications.
˲ A patent pledge that protects users against patent claims by contributors.
The Panasonic vision includes the
open sourcing of the DOF technology and specifications (hence the
OpenDOF Project), as well as much of
the infrastructure required for using
and testing it. For example, the technology allows the definition of standardized interfaces that are exposed
by devices. Interface definitions can
be easily shared with both partners
and customers. To this end, Panasonic has released a flexible platform for
sharing these interface definitions for
any technology stack. 2 The documentation of these interface definitions,
combined with a common API that leverages them, is a primary goal of the
OpenDOF Project. Together, they allow
collaboration to cover the post-launch
product life cycle.
Panasonic is also releasing its distributed continuous testing framework as a separate open-source project
on GitHub. 3 As the IoT continues to
scale, it will be important for developers to be able to access actual hardware
for testing. The Panasonic Distributed
Testing Framework allows for a variety
of automated testing scenarios, including both virtual and actual devices.
Today, Panasonic is working to foster community around its products by
launching the Solutions World Portal
and Marketplace. This development
portal allows our community partners