The Cacophony Project is completely open source. The hard/software component can be used gratuitously in accordance with their licenses. Given this, how can you possibly create a business from it? The short answer is the same way people build businesses selling water. Water is free pretty much anywhere but people pay if it is in a more useful, convenient form. RedHat is a good example of a billion dollar business that only uses open source free software that anyone can use. They make their revenue mainly from services to large companies. Android is another example where numerous companies have built large hardware businesses that run free software.
The business opportunities working with The Cacophony Project fall into two main types (or a combination of the two)
- Business to build and sell hardware
- Business to sell services
There will be opportunities to build branded hardware devices that use the software created by The Cacophony Project. There is probably an opportunity already to build and sell sound recorders and the same will be true for predator monitoring and elimination devices as they are developed further. Examples of how this works in the rest of the economy includes the majority of cell phone manufacturers that use open source Android and manufacturers of servers running Linix. By creating a well-defined product, helping to maintain and improve the software, and supporting your customers, you can maximise the value you offer. The availability of stable, flexible open source software enables lower risk innovation in hardware, because the software part is already done (and the cost of maintaining it is shared by the community including other vendors). Vendors differentiate themselves by providing better hardware, more features , or better support or network infrastructure.
Typically a regional council or land owner wants predators controlled/eliminated and would probably rather pay an expert to get it done rather than learn how to do it themselves. Using the tools developed by The Cacophony Project will make companies offering these services vastly more productive. An example of how this works in the rest of the economy includes companies like IBM and Amazon who both rely very heavily on open source software to provide targeted valuable services.
Making The Cacophony Project open source does not destroy economic opportunity for New Zealand. We don't own the rules of rugby but we are the go-to folk for rugby. We are already the go-to country for predator eradication on small islands. With the new digital technologies, talented operators could service any part of the world while living in New Zealand. Open source creates a benchmark of capability, and a level playing field that helps many people get involved in this area without having the extra burden and risk of creating software to go with their hardware. It means launching a product in less than half the time (hardware typically has faster development timeframes than software), with less investment.
Why doesn't The Cacophony Project sell devices or services itself? The Cacophony Project is a non-trading not for profit open source organisation. Our goal is get New Zealand 100% predator free as fast as possible so allowing lots of creative businesses to build new offerings using the tools will happen faster than trying to do everything ourselves.
Talk to us about business opportunities available with The Cacophony Project.