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AI interview with Dan Cauchy, Vice President of Marketing at MontaVista Software

The Californian firm MontaVista® Software Inc is one of the Core Members of the GENIVI Alliance whose mission it is to develop an open source in-vehicle infotainment or IVI reference platform for the automotive industry. MontaVista® is particularly suited to this task as it has a decade of experience in developing embedded-Linux solutions for a range of industries. 

MontaVista® says it has the unique distinction of having experience that encompasses the requirements of consumer electronics with the long term support and high quality required by the automotive industry. “We look forward to becoming a significant contributor to the GENIVI Alliance and collaborating with other automotive and technology innovators. MontaVista® has developed a unique expertise where we’ve combined our experience in the consumer electronics and mobile market, with features such as graphics support, audio support, and user interfaces, with our experience in the carrier market where high quality and long support cycles are demanded. Combined with our long history of contributions to Linux and open source, no other company can offer this level of experience to GENIVI and the IVI market,” said Dan Cauchy, vice president of marketing at MontaVista Software in a press release earlier this year. 

MontaVista®’s work with IVI is an important one because the industry is growing exponentially. IVI encompasses automotive infotainment products, technologies and services. MontaVista® says that with the increasingly complex requirements demanded by graphics, video, music, GPS and internet connectivity, it is difficult for proprietary solutions to keep up with the pace of innovation demanded by the automotive consumer. The use of commercial embedded Linux and open source software in the development of IVI is a natural evolution. 

MontaVista® works with many of the leading players in the automotive infotainment technology industries to provide all components needed to build complete automotive solutions. This ranges from the operating system kernel to the device drivers, middleware and application stack. The company says that using MontaVista® Linux®, equipment manufacturers can rapidly and cost-effectively create complete custom automotive solutions. 

“The rapidly rising complexity of automotive infotainment systems and their increasing networking needs combined with time to market and cost pressures is resulting in a dramatic rise in the interest of using Linux as the basis of these systems. Linux is proven to be one the most robust, secure and flexible operating systems on the planet. 

MontaVista® makes it easy for OEMs, Tier I’s and other automotive suppliers to harness the power of Linux, and to deliver compelling products that can be rapidly adapted for a variety of models. MontaVista 

Linux is highly scalable. It can be used in families of automotive solutions from the most basic telematics applications to complex multi-function navigation, communication, entertainment systems,” says Cauchy.

Some of the companies MontaVista® partners with to provide automotive infotainment systems include Freescale, Intel, , Texas Instruments, and NEC Electronics. MontaVista Linux supports a wide range of microprocessor architectures for the automotive market including ARM, x86, Power PC, and MIPS.

Automotive Industries spoke to Dan Cauchy, VP of Marketing at MontaVista® Software Inc. 

AI: Tell us about MontaVista®’s Linux-based open source solutions for the automotive infotainment industry. 

MontaVista has over 10 years of experience in developing high quality embedded Linux solutions. There are millions of devices running MontaVista Linux in the market such as smart phones, consumer electronics, office automation devices, medical devices and much more. MontaVista Linux is also deployed in several telecom carrier networks worldwide in switches, routers and wireless network elements. 

We quickly realized that the automotive infotainment software requirements are very similar to the mobile device requirements. You need high performance graphics and multimedia capability, internet connectivity via WiFi or 3G/4G, Bluetooth support, USB connectivity, media and MP3 management, contacts management, email and internet browser and GPS location aware services. MontaVista has been building and delivering these elements on Linux for a decade and we are now providing this entire Linux-based software stack to the automotive IVI market.
We also realized that the quality and support requirements are similar to what we experience in the telecom carrier world. The automotive market requires very high quality software and long support lifecycles with ongoing maintenance and updates for a decade or more. Again, MontaVista has been offering this for the past ten years. 

We saw a unique opportunity to combine and leverage these two aspects – mobile device Linux expertise with carrier grade support and maintenance – in order to provide automotive infotainment solutions to Tier 1s and OEMs. Because of our long history and experience, MontaVista is uniquely positioned to provide this level of expertise and support to the automotive market. We also remain committed to supporting multiple processor architectures, ARM, x86, PowerPC, MIPS and others, offering the customer choices for their IVI solutions. Along with our standard Linux operating system and software stacks, we offer professional services for customization of IVI solutions. 

AI: What are some of the benefits to the auto industry of deploying Linux-based telematics solutions? 

Telematics has long been the realm of Real Time Operating Systems (RTOS) until now. MontaVista supports both real-time Linux and ultra fast boot, which are key elements of a telematics solution. 

In the early days of Linux, real-time performance was not one of its strengths. MontaVista pioneered the work of real-time capability for Linux, commonly referred to as “Preempt RT”. We continue to be leaders in this space and fully support the real-time capabilities of Linux, with performance approaching that of an RTOS.
We have also done some incredible work in the area of ultra fast boot. We have demonstrated the capability to perform a Linux kernel boot in under one second and we will continue to improve on this technology. 

For customers, choosing a Linux solution means that they are not locked into a proprietary RTOS which typically is accompanied by royalty fees. It also means that they have full access to the source code. Additionally, several studies have shown that open source solutions are more secure than proprietary solutions. 

AI: What role does MontaVista® play in the GENIVI Alliance? Why is this alliance important today? 

Until now, most automotive infotainment solutions have been proprietary in nature, typically built in-house or based on a proprietary RTOS. This results in expensive solutions with very little software reuse and a virtually non-existent partner ecosystem. The GENIVI Alliance is a logical step forward in the definition of an industry standard platform. 

By leveraging Linux for IVI, the industry has an opportunity to converge on a single, well defined, open source platform. By defining this platform and providing specific APIs, an ecosystem of 3rd party software providers will flourish. This will result in more software reuse and more choices for Tier 1s and OEMs. 

Also, proprietary solutions cannot keep up with the pace of innovation that is happening in open source Linux. There are literally tens of thousands of engineers contributing to open source, the pace is overwhelming. And this is where MontaVista comes in. 

MontaVista has a very long track record of forming and developing Linux-based industry standards and projects. Managing open source projects is a daunting task, with tens of thousands of lines of code changing daily. At MontaVista, we are experts at managing open source, knowing where to get code, how to track open source projects, and most importantly, how to commercialize it and turn it into a high quality product that can actually be deployed in a vehicle, and be supported for years to come. 

It is important to note that GENIVI is not about providing free open source code, it is about defining a common infrastructure and fostering an ecosystem. The resulting software needs to be commercialized and supported by an experienced Linux vendor such as MontaVista. 

AI: Tell us a little about the MontaVista® Linux 6 platform that was launched earlier this month? What does this platform mean for the automotive infotainment industry? 

We are very excited about MontaVista Linux 6. It is a new approach to embedded Linux development that delivers Market Specific Distributions (MSDs), combined with our SDK and the new MontaVista Integration Platform (MVIP). An MSD delivers an optimized Linux distribution designed for a specific processor and its target market, while the MVIP provides a new way to work with and manage source code, both internally developed and open source. Developers are always struggling with how and when to take open source code and get it to work into their environment. With MVL6, we have added the capability to manage open source collections, which are a series of specific features bundled together and fully tested. The MontaVista collections are made available to customers through our MontaVista Zone content server and the MVIP. Over time, we plan to offer automotive IVI specific collections for Bluetooth, USB, GPS, email, browser and more, plus customers can also incorporate existing open source collections as well. This will offer great flexibility for Tier 1s and OEMs to manage open source within their own environments and deliver the best possible solution to their customers. 

AI: Please give us some examples of how MontaVista®’s solutions have been used by the automotive industry. 

To our knowledge, MontaVista Linux was the first Linux solution to be deployed in a vehicle. We have been involved in several different automotive projects over the years including a GPS unit by Sony, a Volvo telematics unit used in buses and trams, and an in-vehicle security unit by WatchGuard, to name a few.
Most recently, MontaVista is supplying the entire in-dash Linux based software for a large US automobile manufacturer. This required a lot of custom work to make Linux boot and the application display data in less than one second from cold-power on. We are especially proud of this achievement and plan to continue improving on it and pushing the limits of Linux performance. 

We also provided a Linux solution for a German automotive OEM which involved Bluetooth integration, multimedia capabilities, fast boot and power management.
We are currently working closely with the top semi conductor manufacturers such as Freescale, NEC Electronics, Texas Instruments and Intel. MontaVista’s goal is to provide high quality IVI Linux solutions on multiple architectures. We are in a unique position to be the architecture independent Linux supplier to this industry. 

AI: How do you see IVI evolving and what role will your company play in this growth?
We believe the IVI industry is now catching up to other industries with respect to the adoption of Linux and the advantages of open source. The consumer electronics, smart phone and mobile device industries have all adopted Linux. IVI is evolving into a multimedia platform similar to mobile internet devices (MIDs) and smart phones with Instant ON, Always ON, Always CONNECTED™ requirements. Given the similarities, it is a natural evolution for IVI to adopt Linux as well. It is also an opportunity for the IVI industry to establish a common platform and build a large non-proprietary ecosystem of 3rd party providers.

At MontaVista, we see IVI as a natural evolution for our products and services. With a decade of Linux expertise, we are here to guide our customers as they adopt open source and Linux for IVI 

Dan Cauchy is the Vice President of Marketing at MontaVista Software and is responsible for the development and execution of MontaVista’s global marketing strategy and positioning. Dan oversees our product and go-to-market strategy, including the delivery of customer- and community-driven products and solutions focused on embedded Linux commercialization.

Prior to assuming the role of Vice President, Dan had responsibility for vertical market strategy, marketing and related business development and ecosystem development, which includes Mobile/MID (Moblin, Android, LiMo), In-Vehicle-Infotainment (GENIVI) and Carrier/Service Provider. Prior to this, Dan led the product management team in the delivery of MontaVista’s Mobilinux and Carrier Grade Edition products, which are deployed in over 40 million devices worldwide.

Dan has over 18 years of experience in the telecom, data networking and mobile business with responsibilities ranging from product management and marketing to engineering management and product architectures. Prior to joining MontaVista, Dan was the Director of Product Management at Atrica (acquired by Nokia-Siemens Networks). Prior to Atrica, Dan was the Director of Architecture and Strategy at BlueLeaf Networks, a tunable laser optical networking startup. He previously held senior management positions and engineering leadership positions at Cisco Systems and Newbridge Networks. Dan also held engineering leadership positions at Nortel.

Dan currently holds the position of Chairman of the Carrier Grade Linux work group at Linux Foundation and represents MontaVista at the SCOPE Alliance (an industry alliance committed to accelerating the deployment of carrier grade based platforms), and the GENIVI Alliance (an organization responsible for the development of an In-Vehicle-Infotainment solution). Dan previously represented MontaVista at the LiMo Foundation, an organization dedicated to the advancement of Linux in the mobile industry, and was previously on the board of directors at the Computing Platform Trade Association. Dan was previously involved in the IETF’s work on L2VPNs and was an active member of the Metro Ethernet Forum.

Dan earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering (with a Computer Engineering major) from the University of Ottawa.

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