Every modern car is an IoT device on wheels

And Cloud Foundry is becoming the preferred platform as a services solution for IoT companies

iot wheels
Swapnil Bhartiya

Ford Motor Company has joined the Cloud Foundry Foundation as a Gold member, which may make some wonder what an automotive company doing at the Cloud Foundry Foundation. The short answer is that Ford, like all other modern automotive companies, is also an IoT (internet of things) company.

I think, every modern Ford vehicle is an IoT device on wheels.

When most people think of IoT, their imagination (or lack of it) is limited to the tiny IoT devices that we see around us, such as webcams, sensors, and whatnot. IoT actually goes beyond that. It's being used in fields we can't even fathom. It's ubiquitous. Cars are just one example of IoT devices.

When your business relies so much on IT, you can't remain a passive consumer of it. You essentially become an IT company. That's what's happening with almost every company today. Every company is a software company. Think of Lyft, Uber, AirBnB, Comcast ... Ford Motor Company.

The IoT revolution is mostly driven by open source technologies, which makes it very easy for such companies to get involved in the development of the software that they consume. The open source development model enables these companies to actively participate in the development process. They can directly influence the features of the software that they use. They can find and fix bugs themselves without waiting for Tuesdays. They can make the software more efficient. None of this is possible with proprietary technologies.

Joining organizations like Cloud Foundry Foundation is a natural path for companies like Ford. The foundation oversees the development of Cloud Foundry, an open source PaaS (Platform as a Service) solution, which abstracts the platform layer so companies can focus on developing and delivering their applications and services to customers without having to worry about the underneath platform.

"As Ford expands its business to be both an auto and mobility company, we are focused on continuing to enhance our software development capabilities to deliver great customer experiences," said Rich Strader, Director, Enterprise and Emerging IT, Ford Motor Company. "Cloud Foundry plays an important role in this vision, and we look forward to working both directly with the Foundation and its many members to ensure Cloud Foundry will continue the growth of cloud application development and deployment."

Ford is not the only company that's using Cloud Foundry. According to the Cloud Foundry foundation, "Cloud Foundry and Cloud Foundry-based solutions are now the platform of choice for an ever-growing list of leaders in financial services, IoT, government, automotive and telcos, including 21st Century Fox, Allstate, Angie's List, AT&T, Bloomberg, BMW, BNY Mellon, Bosch, Capital One, Cisco, Citibank, Comcast, CenturyLink, Dell EMC, Ford Motor Company, Fujitsu, Gap, Garmin, GE, General Dynamics, Google, Hertz, Hitachi, Home Depot, Honeywell, Hospira, Huawei, Humana, IBM, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Kaiser Permanente, Kroger, Lockheed Martin, Mercedes-Benz, Monsanto, NBC Universal, NTT, Orange, Philips, RBC, Siemens, Springer Nature, Swiss RE, Swisscom, Telstra, Visa, VW, Warner Music and others."

You can see a great mix of companies there, including some of the major automobile companies. The Cloud Foundry Foundation said in a press release that Cloud Foundry today powers cloud initiatives at public companies alone with a combined market capitalization greater than $3.2 trillion.

Since Cloud Foundry is the leading open source PaaS solution, it continues to grow.

"In 2016 Cloud Foundry emerged as the preferred cloud application platform on any public or private cloud infrastructure," said Cloud Foundry Executive Director Abby Kearns. "For 2017 we are focused on ensuring the long-term success of Cloud Foundry for users, partners and vendors, while dramatically expanding the universe of developers on Cloud Foundry software. The future is digital and we urgently need a broader and more diverse talent pool globally collaborating through open source on cloud applications and innovation."

So now you know what Ford is doing at the Cloud Foundry Foundation. Next time when you sit in your car, think of this: you are driving an IoT device that's powered by open source technologies like Cloud Foundry.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

How to choose a low-code development platform