I have just read a very interesting story at federalnewsradio.com by Scott Maucione (ihttp://federalnewsradio.com/acquisition/2015/11/air-force-finalizing-acquisition-process-open-architecture/)
This story explains how US Air Force is leveraging open architectures to speed up the acquisition process. USAF is finalizing an agreement with a consortium of companies in hopes of doling out rapid awards around open architectures systems. Their goal is to cut its award time to ONLY three weeks. This is a amazing goal!
They are going to do it by taking advantage of PlugFests (know more about this events at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plugtest). In this kind of events the companies compete by presenting applications compliant with the target architecture, doing connectivity and interoperability tests. The Air force uses the fest to select the applications and therefore eliminates the need for companies to submit other marketing material as whitepapers, demonstrations, etc.
With the fest USAF is achieving two objectives : test the capabilities of each app and also its capabilities when working in connection with other systems. In this way interoperability and compliance with the open architecture is already confirmed during the acquisition process.
We, in NADS, have experience in this kind of Plugfests or Plustests. We participated with our RTI Pro product in a DDS interoperability workshop in 2013 organized by OMG. In this case the fest was only with the purpose to demonstrate that the wire protocol in the DDS standard, DDSI, was really open and enough well implemented by the different vendors in order to be able to interoperate in a common testing scenario.
I do find very interesting the application of these fests to the acquisition process. If this kind of events were applied to the acquisition of new simulation systems, huge savings in time and money could be achieved and the buyer would be promoting in a very pragmatic and fair way the open competition between different vendors, products and solutions. I am sure many of you have suffered from systems that are not working as requested, failing many contractual requirements, especially those related to non-functional requirements as the interoperability. If the tender were a competition about different alternatives obliged to interoperate in the same common scenario, all the technical requirements would be already tested before to take any decision about the winner. Maybe this is not the best alternative to purchase very specific turn-key systems, but it could be a very good option when you are selecting complements or extensions to systems or federations of systems already deployed or when you are acquiring COTS based solutions. In this way purchasers would be promoting new business models in the simulation industry as the use of the simulation as services (MSaaS) or open innovation based schemes of cooperation between the different stakeholders in the supply chain.
What is your thinking about this topic? Have you had some project in which this kind of evaluation could have been applied?
Posted by Jose-Maria Lopez
About the Blog
This Blog is supported by Simware Team. We are the team in charge of developing the product and supporting its users.