SAE Blog Text

The Art of Economics of Technical Collaboration

SAE J3311 – Vehicle Platform Power Management

Posted: June 3, 2024
Guest Post by Gary Martz, Senior Director Advanced Technology Standards, Intel Automotive

When it comes to technical innovations, we value our own ideas, and we like to exploit the best ones for the specific economic advantage of our companies. We also like to move quickly, sing our own familiar development processes, and not be slowed down by unnecessary bureaucracy. Sometimes we strike gold. Being the first mover with novel and proprietary IP can deliver tremendous economic benefit. This type of approach can be highly successful but is this the right thing to do all the time? Can this approach sometimes be harmful to our companies by putting limits on market growth? I would argue that the benefits of a proprietary approach can be limited as these solutions can be eventually overwhelmed by the critical mass of broad industry collaboration.

Broad industry collaboration generally takes the form of open-source software and open specifications. These approaches still rely on good and novel ideas, but they often take longer, involve healthy debates, require tradeoffs, and are ultimately just as much art as science. The beauty of this art is in the eye of the beholder and is often in the form of negotiation and diplomacy, but the economic benefit of broad industry collaboration is settled science in my opinion. Combining the best ideas from across the industry pushes the boundaries of the technology curve, more broadly enables the ecosystem, and creates a richly competitive market with more efficient use of R&D budgets. The result is robust interoperability that avoids vendor lock-in, fixing bugs a single time, and delivery of solutions that are lower cost, more secure, safe and robust.

There are many examples of successful standards, but the history of Wi-Fi is successful, fun, and entertaining. This history was documented and published by Greg Ennis in his book “Beyond Everywhere”. Greg was the first VP of Technology at the Wi-Fi Alliance, and he tells the story of how the origins of Wi-Fi were born out of pork belly and orange futures trading fraud at the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). The settlement with U.S. Department of Justice required CBOT to adopt a wireless trading solution, and multiple companies and teams of companies developed proposals. I won’t ruin the story, but through multiple rounds of votes, negotiations, deal making, and deft diplomacy we ended up with the Wi-Fi we know and love today. The value of Wi-Fi was created by its global ubiquity. Just imagine the frustration if you walk into a coffee shop or office building and the wireless network wasn’t compatible with your laptop, tablet, or phone. Also consider the wasted R&D investments of 4 or 5 different wireless solutions all trying to solve the same exact problem. Debating good ideas and negotiating interoperability and interface standards still enables differentiation and value creation from the ecosystem. And this is an economic recipe has been successfully repeated in multiple markets.

In today's rapidly evolving technology landscape, standardization has become a cornerstone of innovation and interoperability for many industries. Standards ensure that products and services work together seamlessly, fostering efficiency, reliability, and widespread adoption. Standards also push the leading edge of the technology curve and are the most economical approach to building broad ecosystem solutions. In the future, we will be celebrating the success of the automotive technology standards that we are creating today.

In around 12-18 months from now we’re going to be able to add “SAE Vehicle Platform Power Management” (J3311) to our list of standards that created tremendous economic value for the automotive industry. SAE J3311 is a recently formed committee that addresses the problem of inadequate vehicle power management in a standardized approach”. Vehicle power management is not a novel idea. In fact, it’s such an obvious idea most everyone in the value chain is working towards optimal solutions already. The opportunity is that the automotive industry doesn’t need 10 different “optimal” solutions to solve the same problem when 80% of these solutions are going to basically all be the same. The most economical approach and the approach that will push the leading edge of the technology curve will only happen by combining the best of all the ideas, standardizing hardware and software interfaces, and unleashing the power of common software stacks with differentiating implementations and solution algorithms.

My colleagues from Intel Automotive have proposed a power management concept inspired by the Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) specification, originally developed during the transition from desktop to mobile computing. As the chair of J3311, I will soon issue a call for proposals, inviting contributors to submit their ideas for evaluation and discussion with the J3311 committee. By combining the innovative ideas from across the automotive industry with a specification modeled after ACPI concepts, we aim to develop the most economical and advanced approach to automotive power management.

I was once told that standards take time, that the debates and consensus building take time. But at the end of the process when we end up with the best possible result, very rarely does anyone say, “this is great, but it has less value because we took the time to do it right.”

Please join us in the J3311 committee.  We meet every two weeks at 8am PT/11am ET. If you have any questions please reach out to me directly at gary.a.martz.jr@intel.com or Dante Rahdar at Dante.Rahdar@sae.org.
 

About Gary Martz

Senior Director Advanced Technology Standards, Intel Automotive

Gary Martz is a Senior Director Advanced Technology Standards for Intel Automotive, leading advanced EV power standards, automotive chiplet standards, and software defined vehicle (SDV) standards. Gary’s Intel career spans several decades, starting as a manufacturing engineer for Intel’s original server business unit and also includes the Client Group, Data Center Group, Intel Labs, Wireless Communications, Reseller Channel Group, Industrial Solutions, and Intel Foundry.

Gary has served in a number of industry leadership roles, currently chairing SAE J3311 and also representing Intel on the board of directors at RISC-V International.  Previously Gary represented Intel on the board of directors for The Open Group, the Open Connectivity Foundation, the Open Mobile Alliance, the Wi-Fi Alliance, and the steering committee for the OPC Foundation’s Field Level Communications Group. Gary is also a part-time lecturer and a member of the External Advisor Board for the University of Washington’s Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering. Gary holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering from the University of Washington (’95) and an MBA from the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business (’00).

 

 

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