OSHdata Shuts Down

OSHdata Shuts Down
[Source: OSHdata]

This week, OSHdata announced its closure.

The endeavor is described as:

“OSHdata is a market intelligence service for the Open Source Hardware (OSH) community, created by Steven Abadie and Harris Kenny. OSHdata is for people with commercial interest in OSH products and businesses.”

Last year, the service presented its State of Open Hardware report, offering a great amount of information in the open-source hardware scene. With around one-quarter of open source hardware projects involving 3D printing, we were pleased to see the report arise with another piece of data for the growing 3D printing puzzle.

“Today, one in four certified projects are 3D printing-related, ranging from printable medical devices to industrial-grade machinery. And this is just a portion of the overall open source activity in the 3D printing industry when you consider software, file formats, and industry standards. Industry leaders have a lot to gain from understanding the open source community,” Co-Founder Kenny told us at the time.

Beyond the report, OSHdata had a larger roadmap in place to guide the intended future of the work. Among the points on the roadmap were establishing:

  • Market Sizing
    • This was to include considerations like annual revenue, profitability, and economic impact; employment figures; and industries adopting open source hardware
  • Certification Updates
    • Here, they were looking at “something approximating real-time analysis (say, within one week of a certification being published) that could include:
      • An interview with the individual certifying the product.
      • Information about the market they are operating in.
      • Any past certifications that may relate to this one.”
  • Bill of Materials Analysis
    • Among the questions relating to the bill of materials (BOM) aspect of open source work were number of projects with a current and accurate BOM; categories or methods of organizing BOMs; and average BOM cost for certified hardware by category.
  • Source Code Analysis
    • The intent in this analysis was to measure means of source code sharing (like Git, VSVN, and Mercurial); evaluating file formats and upstream tools used (e.g., board layout software); and examining project size and participation.
  • Points of Contact
    • Who are the standouts and the emerging players? Where are job opportunities? Who are the buyer and engineering contacts? Establishing points of contact is always a vital part of actually getting things done.

However, the roadmap has hit something of a dead end.

In a blog post this week, Kenny shared that he and Abadie “spent hours digging into data for unprecedented insight into open hardware.”

“We shared our scraping script and saw the community—including OSHWA!—use it for projects,” he continued.

Clearly, there was great value in the gathered intelligence. With OSHWA (the Open Source Hardware Association) among those putting the report’s findings to practical use, it seemed OSHdata was on to something.

However, that ‘something’ has run into issues. Namely, resources. As much as many of us love what we do, and that’s especially evident in open source communities, love, as they say, doesn’t pay the bills. Kenny’s post continues:

“Our research paid for itself through consulting projects and made an impact. Hundreds of new products were certified. We spoke with Adafruit and SparkFun. We helped students publish papers. We discussed open hardware in Machine Design. We supported OpenForum Europe‘s work for the European Commission.

But we wanted OSHdata to stand on its own two feet. We wanted to see if there was a way to offer subscription market research, rapid updates, additional data, or something else. Despite kind words from the community, we were unable to find ways to make it financially self-sufficient beyond consulting.

At the end of 2020, Steven stepped away from OSHdata. I relaunched the site, refreshed the brand, and kept wanting to try new ways that this might work. Meanwhile, I have been working on another project—Intro CRM—which I’m excited to say is gaining traction and demands my attention.

OSHWA has since released an API for the certification program. Now everyone can more easily interact with the data, and I’m excited to see how the community uses it. It seems OSHdata was not the right project for right now. With increasing pressure on my time, it’s time to end OSHdata.”

OSHdata is simply the latest endeavor to face the finality of difficult decisions. It was a good effort, and we wish both Abadie and Kenny the best in their work since and going forward.

Via OSHdata

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