The application economy in a galaxy and time far far away

  • The future will be a highly personalised Internet of Everything
  • Software is the critical enabler and the differentiating factor in a company’s ability to succeed


The application economy in a galaxy and time far far away


The application economy in a galaxy and time far far awaySPACE travel, laser fights, robot companions - often one marvels at the futuristic, mind-boggling and almost surreal technologies typical of science fiction movies.

Will it just be a matter of time before these become everyday realities? That may not be impossible when we look at how smartphones, smartwatches, airplanes and other inventions were previously at some point just figments of the imagination.

We stand poised ready to step into a future where potentially a whole galaxy of new technologies awaits, but how do we get there?

The answer is perhaps simple – applications. In today’s application economy, we already see that every business is a software business, and this will likely be even more so in the future, as industries continue to be disrupted and digitally transform.

What will this software-driven world look like in the future? How will things function? Here are some ideas of how the application economy might look in a galaxy and time perhaps not too far away.

Here are some of the futuristic technologies that are becoming part of our daily life:

1. Spaceship-on-demand

In the future, what do you do if you’re late for your dinner date – in a restaurant on another planet?

Well, start up your ride-sharing app! But what might be different in the future is that spaceships might be the main form of public transport rather than your usual four-wheeled taxis. Expect to also see these vehicles driverless, akin to an automated drone delivery system.

Operation of such a driverless ride-sharing system is going to be highly reliant on software, at every stage of the process – from matching passengers to empty vehicles, driving location-based features as well as navigation functions.

The software supporting such transportation systems will need to be both dynamic to deliver highly personalized services as well as being of the highest possible quality. A continuous delivery approach with extreme automation will be critical here in ensuring the “right” products and services are continuously delivered with speed and great quality.

2. Smart environment (Broader eco-systems)

As we potentially inhabit new planets and environments, controlled environments such as domes will ensure the weather is always great no matter where you are. Temperatures will be regulated dynamically via a network of air-conditioners, humidifiers, heaters, lights and more, adjusting to crowd density.

The future will be a highly personalized Internet of Everything. Computing will be even more dynamic with wearables, buildings, and vehicles constantly “talking” to one another. In this software-driven scenario, we see the concept of smaller, highly composable, infinitely changeable and highly scalable application architectures at the forefront.

Today’s microservices pioneer such an approach but it is just the beginning. The key will be having agile processes, architectures and systems to support such realities for the entire ecosystem of nations, societies, governments and businesses.

3. Seamless commerce

A cashless economy is almost synonymous with sci-fi films. All physical coins and notes, and maybe even credit cards, will belong in a museum in the future.

Too cutting-edge? We are already heading there with a slew of mobile payment options available. The next evolution could involve tagging a virtual wallet to you biometrically. Instead of queueing up at the cashier to check out, just walk through the store’s doors which will function as a payment gantry, and you’re done!

In such a scenario, like today, managing the identities and access of users to hybrid on premise/cloud realities for both apps and data, will be critical. In the future, it will require the need for even stronger continuous “authentication” for identity management security in addition to controlling the proliferation of privileged user access. Additionally, using biometrics and behavioural pattern analysis will promote greater, more proactive, security, accuracy and convenience.

4. Robots among us

Looking for a new best friend? Some of the most beloved characters in science fiction adventure films are androids, humanoid robots which assist humans. These self-aware machines come in different shapes and sizes as well as with interesting personality traits.

Artificial intelligence is already being used across various platforms such as in digital personal assistants or to power chatbots online. Combine this with how robots are already making their entries into homes, such as automated vacuum cleaners, and it will be just a matter of time before robot helpers are working alongside us or independently for us.

In the future, applications will play a key role in operating these machines, especially remotely. This is where advanced use of secure application programming interfaces (APIs) and identity management security will be critical for giving users and organizations the confidence to operate these robots at scale.

We may also see identity management security becoming key to preventing malicious activity. Providing access to data and powering new connected ecosystems as the use of advanced intelligence will be instrumental for the value the robots provide.

5. Holograms: Closer to reality

Whether it’s the 3D image of an iconic female protagonist in distress or an imposing supreme leader glowering nefariously with new threats, holographic communications will be the new norm in the future.

We’ve already seen the telco industry being disrupted in recent years with the rise of over-the-top (OTT) messaging apps. Could holograms be the new video call?

However, to deliver the best customer experiences and keep users coming back, a robust application is important. This is where a DevOps approach – where the Development and Operations teams work hand in hand – can help, reducing the go-to-market time while ensuring software runs with the minimum of problems.

In all these future scenarios, what’s common is that software is the critical enabler and will be the differentiating factor in a company’s ability to succeed. In fact, software should, if it’s not already, be the core component of a business’ DNA today.

For successful companies to be ready for the future, they will need to be “built to change” by putting software at the centre of everything they do. Businesses will need to understand that current structures and ecosystems are vulnerable to better ideas. This includes how they manage talent, how they avoid being tied to fixed assets, how they take risks and more.

Companies which are “built to change” will focus on business agility, which in turn will enable them to drive rapid, continuous improvement in customer experience. To survive and thrive in this new world, businesses will need to be brave enough to step out of the dark into a new light.

Stephen Miles is chief technology officer, Asia Pacific & Japan, CA Technologies  

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Making DevOps a core competency
The five mindset traits of disruptive digital leaders
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