Thirty years ago the VMEbus Manufacturers Group, founded in 1982, became the VMEbus International Trade Association, commonly known as VITA. Few organizations in the embedded computing world have the staying power that lasts more than a few years. Even fewer have a legacy that stretches back more than 30 years. VITA is such an organization, staying strong and significant through all those years. Under the guidance of the executive director, Ray Alderman, and his team: technical director John Rynearson and administrator Lollie Wheeler, VITA has become a recognized leader in standards and business development for the critical and intelligent embedded computing industry.
A new chapter is being added to the VITA story. In January I became the new executive director of VITA. I am excited to be taking the reins of such a respected and influential organization. The opportunities ahead are limitless as we move into what I call VITA 4.0 (I am the fourth executive director of VITA).
VITA is registered with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) under Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code for business leagues. I found it helpful to revisit the IRS definition of the VITA registration.
From the IRS website:
Section 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code provides for the exemption of business leagues … A business league is an association of persons having some common business interest, the purpose of which is to promote such common interest and not to engage in a regular business of a kind ordinarily carried on for profit. To be exempt, a business league’s activities must be devoted to improving business conditions of one or more lines of business as distinguished from performing particular services for individual persons. No part of a business league’s net earnings may inure to the benefit of any private shareholder or individual and it may not be organized for profit to engage in an activity ordinarily carried on for profit (even if the business is operated on a cooperative basis or produces only enough income to be self-sustaining). The term line of business generally refers either to an entire industry or to all components of an industry within a geographic area.
VITA falls right in the sweet spot of the 501(c)(6) definition: VITA is an incorporated, non-profit organization of vendors and users having a common market interest in real-time, modular embedded computing systems for critical and intelligent applications. VITA provides its members with the ability to develop and to promote open technology standards that open new markets. VITA unites its members, manufacturers, and users through the acceptance and implementation of open technology standards that are critical to the success of the members.
VITA provides the technical and marketing services of a standards development organization and business development for its members. VITA is a forum for developing accredited standards, discussing options, and promotion of the technology.
The scope of VITA is bound by its members to meet the computing needs for systems in critical and intelligent applications. Originally the scope, or line of business, was limited to VMEbus technology only. Over the years, the scope has increased to stay relevant to the changing needs of the industry. VITA 4.0 will be even more focused on increasing the scope and impact the organization and its members will have on the critical and intelligent embedded computing industry.
VITA’s mission is to promote the concept of open standards as embodied in the many standards developed or under development within the VITA Standards Organization (VSO).
Going into 2014 I do not expect any major, sweeping changes to the mission and objectives of VITA. There will be changes to the staff as John and Lollie have both announced their intentions to retire after many years of dedicated service to VITA. I view this as an opportunity to review some of the business processes and shift assignments to make the organization even more efficient and effective. I will be evaluating and implementing new web-based tools that will make the work of the members easier and more accessible to the membership as a whole.
Key objectives for 2014
Under the mission, VITA has two key objectives to reach as we go into 2014:
Keep the VSO pipeline full of meaningful and beneficial programs for critical and intelligent embedded computing technology. Many current projects have much work remaining to be completed. VPX, for example, has several working groups working on multiple aspects of this popular standard. The VSO will continue efforts to develop small form factor standards that are important to critical and intelligent embedded computing. Efforts to expand into optical standards and technology have already begun and will increase in intensity as the need for faster and bigger data pipes continues to grow. VITA will continue to research new areas for possible standards development projects that should be brought into our standards development process.
Increase VITA and VITA member visibility in the critical and intelligent embedded computing markets. Over the years VITA has become recognized as a key standards development organization for critical and intelligent embedded computing technology. We will continue to promote VITA as the place to bring new standards development projects for key technology. The VSO processes, with its ANSI ratification of specifications and ex-ante patent policy, lead in the standards development community.
Along with the work done within the working groups of the VSO, we will increase marketing alliance activities to drive interest in the resulting technologies and to grow ecosystems of suppliers. VITA will be researching and creating new marketing services to enable expanding into non-traditional markets. And we intend to expand international visibility and participation through global marketing activities that promote our standards and marketing capabilities.
VITA fills a critical void in technology development. The opportunities are numerous, especially as innovation remains one of the best ways to achieve growth in tough economic times. Having both the supply and demand of the market as VITA members is going to make it easier to identify new problems in the market, leading to the development of technology specifications that will solve those problems. I am very confident that the creative minds of our membership will provide the needed stimulus to help VITA thrive and grow as we meet the upcoming challenges.
If you are an innovator who is seeking to have an impact on the industry, there is no better time than now to get involved. Don’t sit on the sidelines; visit the VITA website (www.vita.com) now to learn how you can join the efforts. I look forward to your participation.
Jerry Gipper VITA Executive Director [email protected]