SOSA: what does the future hold?

11 December 2019

Over the last few months a new breed of single board computers aimed at defense and aerospace markets has emerged – ‘aligned with the SOSA Technical Standard’. So: what does this mean exactly?

For the uninitiated, SOSA is a consortium creating open system reference architectures that employ modular design and use widely supported, consensus-based, non-proprietary standards for key interfaces, These are expected to increase commonality and reuse, reduce development cycle time and the costs of integration and sustainment.

The rush to align new products with the SOSA Technical Standard is a clear indication that major COTS vendors are recognising SOSA as the future – but as we all know, predicting the future is a tricky business.

Years ago, when I was at high school, we studied the book ‘1984’ by George Orwell which was published in 1948 and was an account of a future dystopian world that has fallen victim to perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and propaganda. Bearing in mind that I studied this a few years before 1984, it’s interesting to try remember what we thought about some of the predictions of the future at that time. I’m sure we didn’t think that instant voice translation - ‘speakwrite’; widespread use of facial recognition to monitor the people – ‘telescreens’; or music generated by artificial intelligence – ‘versificators;’ - would all be in use within 40 years. But: they are.

So maybe predicting the future is hit and miss - but I think one thing is certain: although SOSA is aiming at commonality and commoditisation, every vendor will be striving to differentiate their product to gain market share. Abaco’s strategy will be focusing on a range of differentiators including, but not limited to, security, information assurance, health monitoring and thermal management, which will add layers of added value over the SOSA baseline.

To misquote Orwell – “all single board computers are equal but some are more equal than others”. Take a look at the SBC3511 to find out why.

Richard Kirk

Richard graduated from the University of Manchester in 1984 with a BSc degree in Physics, and followed that in 1998 with an MBA from the Open Business School. In the interim, he’d joined Plessey Optoelectronics, part of one of the UK’s most venerable technology companies. He joined Radstone, located in Towcester, UK—subsequently acquired by GE—in 1999, and now has worldwide responsibility within Abaco's business as Director, Core Computing.