What is openness?


Openness is a core value for Mobilaris and we see it more and more as a requirement from customers. But what does it mean and why is it good for the end-user – a mine?

In simple terms, openness represents three things. First, standards and software that are available for many to use and to build products around. Good examples are Wi-Fi standards from IEEE and Linux, the open source Unix operating system. The availability of these technologies has enabled thriving ecosystems where competition brings prices down and innovation can focus higher up in the stack closer to the end-user’s needs, such as building applications for the mine instead of wasting resources on building operating systems.

The second aspect of openness is more tied to data and application functionalities. Openness in this domain is expressed more as the willingness to share data and the ability to consume data to enrich your application and give the customer more insight.

If we look at mining today, we are starting to see more proprietary technologies giving way to standardized and open technologies. WiFi and LTE are rapidly being rolled out and, suddenly, a new ecosystem of services, devices and technologies is available for mine digitalization. In those cases where the standardized solutions fail to deliver certain functionalities, more proprietary additions come into play; but most often, this can be solved in the application. One such example is the Mobilaris Virtual Tag, which combines GPS, LTE, Bluetooth and WiFi to create a better and more robust positioning solution than any of the individual technologies can provide on their own.

On the second aspect, sharing data and application functionality, the market is less mature. While most application vendors offer APIs of varying kinds, they tend to be more of an add-on compared to having a mindset where the application is built to share and ingest data and rapidly create more value. One such example is machine data, where many vendors offer APIs to get hold of data, but the default solution is to show and analyze that data in their own web portal. Sharing and ingesting data directly between vendors is not something that is very common today; instead, this is done in other open platforms such as Mobilaris Mining Intelligence.

The third aspect is perhaps the most important: openness is a way of living, of doing business, of shaping your offer. It is not just technologies; it is a mindset and it is in this domain where you can really see the difference between those who just talk about openness and those who live it. Is a company claiming to be open, but forcing you to view and consume data in a pre-defined way? Or are they claiming to be fully capable of customizing and integrating with anything, but using methods and tools which are highly proprietary? The difference lies in openness being a core value or being a marketing slogan. Mobilaris is open from the core.

Ultimately, openness creates new value and lowers cost. When it comes to mine digitalization, creating proprietary technologies specifically tailored for mining will hasten innovation. And having an open mindset is the key to finding new ways of doing things smarter.