Open-Sourcing Our Hardware

/ Written By benstr

On October 5th, during the annual Open Hardware Summit, Hologram will open source the new Dash v1.2 through the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA).

Combined with Dash’s v0.9.X system firmware, which was open-sourced on May 24th this year, the Dash v1.2 will be a fully open-sourced dual chip MCU-based cellular development board.

We’re also committing to open-source all Hologram development hardware moving forward, becoming an OSHWA Affiliate Corporate Member.

As a fan of all things open-sourced, we’re stoked to make this announcement and support OSHWA’s mission.

Why Development Hardware Should Be Open-Sourced

IoT as a whole has been rapidly changing, causing various standard practices, common guidelines, and preferred architectures to emerge and gain traction. As a startup in the midst of this groundswell, we constantly ask ourselves if we’re taking the right steps to help move IoT forward.

One of our beliefs regarding hardware built specifically for developers, evaluators, and prototyping is if a company makes development hardware with the target audience being developers helping to establish preferred engineering guidelines, then that company should do everything possible to lower the barriers those developers face.

One of those barriers are closed systems.

It’s a simple premise – black boxes stifle innovation while open systems encourage exploration. Black Boxes and IP have their place as an essential tool in our economy; but in an industry like IoT where rapid innovation is needed, we need to push for open development tools as the building blocks that lead to innovative end-products for industry and consumers.

Going forward Hologram will open-source all hardware we develop for the developer community, including dependent firmware, through OSHWA. We see this as a mandatory step we need to take to help move IoT forward, to lower the barriers to entry, and to spur innovation in a rapidly evolving ecosystem.

Clarifying Our Role

Open-sourcing our hardware helps us clarify who we are and why we do what we do. Hologram is a connectivity company, period. Everything we do is to lower or eliminate barriers around securely connecting things to the internet.

We design and build hardware and will continue to do so, but hardware is not our business. To us, having access to hardware is just another barrier to adopting cellular. Whenever possible we’ll partner with hardware manufacturers, pairing our services with their offering. When there are no partners who provide an open developer environment, and we feel there is a big enough need, we’ll create hardware and supporting software, releasing the work under open licenses.

I feel having the ability to design and manufacture hardware is a powerful resource for a company like ours. As we grow in size and influence, I think partnering with manufacturers will happen more frequently. In the end, we hope all the hardware products we’re a part of moves our industry forward in a positive way, fostering innovation and lowering or eliminating the barriers that exist today.

Open Source Hardware Summit

Chris, Erik, Maiky and myself will be at the 2017 Open Source Hardware Summit in Denver. If you’re attending we’d love to meet up. You can ping Chris (@chris_gammell) or me (@_benstr) on Twitter.

Piqued your interest about Dash?
Learn more about the cellular IoT gateway.


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Ben (benstr) Strahan – Head of Developer Relations
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