The LF Edge community is comprised of a diverse set of member companies that represent the IoT, Enterprise, Cloud and Telco Edge. The Member Spotlight blog series highlights these members and how they are contributing to and leveraging open source edge solutions. Today, we sat down with Shamik Mishra, Vice President, Research and Innovation of Altran, to discuss the importance of open source software, collaborating with industry leaders in edge computing, security, how they contribute to the Akraino Edge Stack project and the impact of being a part of the LF Edge ecosystem.
Can you tell us a little about your organization?
Altran is a world leader in engineering and R&D services. The Group offers a unique value proposition that helps customers meet their transformation and innovation challenges. Altran supports its customers, from concept to industrialization, to develop the products and services of tomorrow. Altran has been working for more than 35 years with major players in many sectors: Automotive, Aeronautics, Space, Defense & Naval, Rail, Infrastructure & Transport, Industry & Consumer Products, Life Sciences, Communications, Semiconductor & Electronics, Software & Internet, Finance & Public Sector. In 2019, Capgemini, and Altran announced a merger project in the context of a friendly tender offer to create a global leader in Intelligent Industry. Altran generated 3.2 billion in revenue in 2019, with more than 50,000 employees in more than 30 countries.
Why is your organization adopting an open source approach?
Open Source Software has revolutionized the technology industry globally in more ways than one. It has significantly shortened software/product development cycles, spurred innovation and boosted entrepreneurship. Licenses come free of cost, with the expenses typically being for deploying, hardening, supporting, customizing, and maintaining the software. Businesses have the flexibility of choosing and customizing the best solutions for their needs. At Altran, we help our clients lead into the future by solving their most complex engineering and R&D problems through specialized solutions. We see open source software as an opportunity to differentiate our offerings by accelerating development of such solutions for our clients. This provides them the required flexibility of choice and a way to optimize costs for creating value towards their clients.
Why did you join LF Edge and what sort of impact do you think LF Edge has on the edge, networking, and IoT industries?
Altran envisioned the significant role and impact of Edge Computing early in its evolution cycle. However, one of the key challenges is that different organizations in the industry perceive Edge Computing differently based on the nature of their business or pursuit. LF Edge is an umbrella organization that is agnostic of hardware, silicon, cloud and OS. This helps the industry leaders arrive at a common understanding of Edge Computing and create an open and standard framework for the technology. We believe LF Edge can decisively reduce the semantic dissonance on Edge Computing in the industry and help businesses work together to accelerate innovation.
What do you see as the top benefits of being part of the LF Edge community?
LF Edge community has industry leading organizations as members who specialize in large-scale hardware manufacturing (chip, mobile devices, network equipment etc.), software product development, operating systems, engineering services, telecom services, cloud solutions and more. This diversity helps set a broad framework for Edge Computing by considering various concerns and scenarios relevant to the member domains. Since the framework will be open source, it strengthens its credibility and will likely be adopted widely in the industry. Altran being a world leader in engineering and R&D services, believes the LF Edge forum presents a unique opportunity to engage with the community and contribute to the open source Edge Computing framework. Based on our early start in this space, the exposure to experts on the LF Edge forum helps us to benefit from the views and propositions of diverse organizations to validate and strengthen our service offerings and competencies in Edge Computing.
What sort of contributions has your team made to the community, ecosystem through LF Edge participation?
Altran aims to play a leading role in the Edge Computing ecosystem by contributing some of its software and solution breakthroughs to the open community, including (but not limited to) contributions to compute frameworks, APIs, management plane and use cases. Altran is currently actively pursuing the Akraino project particularly on security aspects. Other interest areas are device edge and intelligent application development leveraging the LF edge projects.
What do you think sets LF Edge apart from other industry alliances?
Three key features set LF Edge apart from other industry alliances and are likely to make it successful: 1. The diversity of members. The community has members ranging across multiple domains such as Chip, Mobile, Network Equipment Manufacturing, software product development, telecom service providers, cloud service providers, engineering service providers etc. The diversity is also geographical. It includes organizations that are across various geos, thereby helping to absorb wide range of views and concerns for the community. With so much diversity the framework is inclined to remain neutral and is unlikely to be driven by the interests of a few members in the community. 2. The timing of the alliance Edge Compute, in its evolution, is currently at a point, where it is possible for the industry to come together and define a framework and standards that can be eventually adopted by various players and can be evolved and customized. Unlike other alliances, the timing of this alliance helps it to be more successful. 3. The framework is open source and the projects onboarded are also open source. This makes it easy to accelerate the innovation in this space. The community also draws strength from the support of Linux Foundation.
How will LF Edge help your business?
Altran’s vision for Multi-Access Edge Computing (MEC) is to create a developer-centric architecture and cloud-native platform that will make Edge discovery, onboarding and management of applications easy and seamless for Edge application developers. The Altran Ensconce platform brings together multiple capabilities, accelerators and frameworks that enables rapid development of Multi-Access Edge Compute (MEC) solutions. Being part of LF Edge, we see an opportunity to further evolve our MEC solutions, working with the LF Edge alliance on the open source framework for Edge Computing. We believe that our clients can benefit from this approach by quick adoption of our solutions and be ahead in their businesses. We also believe that there is a unique opportunity for us to contribute to the community from our experience.
What advice would you give to someone considering joining LF Edge?
LF Edge is a great opportunity for various organizations in the industry that are interested in collaborating with other industry leaders to drive innovation in Edge Computing and mutually benefit from the ecosystem. Organizations can shape the future of Edge Computing by joining this alliance early in the innovation cycle.
To learn more about Akraino Edge Stack, click here. To find out more about our members or how to join LF Edge, click here. Additionally, if you have questions or comments, visit the LF Edge Slack Channel and share your thoughts in the #community or #akraino-tsc channels.