OpenSpirit, the application integration framework developed and marketed by PrismTech, was launched at SEG 98. The intention is to allow software applications from different vendors and proprietary in-house developed tools to interoperate with various industry standard E&P databases. Ben Weltevrede, operator of the OpenSpirit Alliance said "Through this joint initiative we will step up development efforts to reach our goal of creating true interoperability among heterogeneous applications and platforms. The ultimate success of OpenSpirit hinges on the availability of end-user products."
"We fully expect this group of companies to bring a critical mass to the market before 2000." Currently products including gOcad, CGGs StratiMagic, PDS's Geographical Data Selector Elfs Sismage and Shell Services' EPDM Tools have been demonstrated on the OpenSpirit framework. These tools use OpenSpirit to read information from vendor data stores such as GeoQuests Geoframe and Landmarks OpenWorks. The OpenSpirit technology also rests upon work done by the Petrotechnical Open Software Corp. (POSC) in the field of E&P business objects. Donald Paul, corporate vice president, Technology and Environmental Affairs for Chevron Corporation, stated, "Chevron is pleased to see major technology suppliers, such as PGS, GeoQuest and CGG committing to use the OpenSpirit object framework. We feel that an open software integration platform, based on standards, offers significant benefits to both oil companies and commercial software vendors. "
OpenSpirit members fall into three categories. First there are the founding fathers those rare breed oils who actually still do hands-on software development. These companies will be using OpenSpirit to deploy their in-house specialist software in a semi-commercial environment, by allowing the research tools to access industry standard data stores i.e. GeoFrame and OpenWorks. Next we have the vendors of such data stores, or rather, since this announcement, we now have at least one of them GeoQuest (Landmark is still conspicuous by its absence from OpenSpirit see this months editorial). GeoQuests president, Thierry Pilenko has stated that GeoQuest would be "Opening our systems to allow best-in-class and best-in-process products to interoperate." This is interesting in that it suggests that GeoQuest is confirming its role as a compliant datastore, rather than joining the OpenSpirit Applications set (for a humorous interpretation of the positioning of major vendors in the standards game see the Vendors Tale (August 1996) on the PDM CD free with this issue). Finally there are the wannabes the real potential beneficiaries of the OpenSpirit paradigm. GOCad, PDS, CGG with StratiMagic and now PGS with the whole of the Tigress suite of applications just waiting to plug and play with the major datastores. What the position of the datastore vendors would be if the wannabes actually started to carve out market share with OpenSpirit-compliant plug-ins remains to be seen. Only time will tell whether the momentum of OpenSpirit will prove sufficient to overcome the inevitable tensions in such a mixture of protagonists.
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