Bootstrapping FACE Open Industry Standards with Live Training Events
Written by Chip Downing
March 1, 2019
How do you expand awareness and adoption of a new industry standard? This is a challenge every standards organization encounters, but few master. As The Open Group Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™) Consortium released a complete set of technical and business publications, this adoption challenge loomed large. But teams in the FACE Consortium developed two experiences to embrace this challenge – the FACE Technical Interchange Meeting (TIM) and a technical integration event for testing FACE software components, called the BALSA (Basic Avionics Lightweight Source Archetype) Integration and Test Session (BITS).
The FACE TIMs are annual events open to the public and sponsored by one of the US armed services. These events are held each year near the acquisition headquarters of the US Army PEO Aviation in the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, AL, the US Navy NAVAIR in Patuxent River, MD, and the US Air Force Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson AFB in Dayton, OH. These FACE TIMs showcase FACE avionics platforms from over 30 suppliers and demonstrate the wide adoption of the FACE standard by the global avionics supply chain. The last FACE TIM was in Huntsville at the Von Braun Center and attracted over 500 attendees.
The FACE integration events, or BITS, are meetings where companies and individuals integrate multiple FACE software components into a working demonstration platform, and sometimes actually fly the platform at the event. BITS is open to FACE Consortium members only. FACE software suppliers gain firsthand experience at these BITS events by integrating their FACE software products with BALSA, a working “on-ramp” example of FACE conformant software, and other FACE software to prove the production viability of the FACE Technical Standard. These BITS events have grown over the years. At the December 2016 pilot BITS event, four FACE Consortium teams and five member organizations demonstrated the ease of integration, shared lessons learned and level of effort required to perform the integration. At the latest BITS event in Melbourne, FL in December 2018, six integration teams and eleven FACE member organizations presented their findings to over 65 attendees.
FACE TIMs and BITS events are proving that the FACE technical standard and business approach are driving efficiencies throughout the US military services, and enabling more competitive capabilities to be delivered to our global Warfighters. These FACE capabilities can now be easily deployed across military aircraft, using modular, open-architecture approaches in next generation system platforms, increasing adoption of the FACE standard across aviation program offices in all the DoD services.
The next FACE TIM will be sponsored by the US Air Force and held in Dayton, OH on September 17, 2019. The next BITS event will be held during the April FACE Consortium Face-to-Face (F2F) meeting scheduled for the afternoon of Wednesday, April 24, 2019. For more information about both events, see the FACE Consortium Events page.
Congratulations to the members of the FACE Consortium, especially the Business Working Group (BWG) Outreach and the Integration Workshop Standing Committee (IWS) in creating innovative approaches to increase the awareness and utility of the FACE technical standard and business approach. With over 30 FACE procurements under way, we are all making the FACE approach a successful and widely adopted solution for tough avionics platforms around the world.