Platforms trump products

Platforms trump products – an excellent view on the trend of vendors to create platforms rather than just products or services.  The world is getting larger and scalability becomes a problem fast – platform, it seems, is a viable solution for now.  Interestingly, lessons learned in the digital world can be applied to the real world.

The pace of modern world

the pace of modern lifexkcd has a brilliant collection of quotes from the days long gone.  All of those complain about how the world has become too fast and how we don’t care about the important things anymore.  The best part about these collection however is that all of these quotes are from the end of 19th and beginning of 20th century.  Once you drop ignore a few minor technical references like telegraph, it’s almost exactly like the complaints we hear today.  The world is too fast and we don’t care anymore…

Welcome to the programmable world

Welcome to the programmable world

But here’s a better way to think about what we’re building: It’s the Programmable World. After all, what’s remarkable about this future isn’t the sensors, nor is it that all our sensors and objects and devices are linked together. It’s the fact that once we get enough of these objects onto our networks, they’re no longer one-off novelties or data sources but instead become a coherent system, a vast ensemble that can be choreographed, a body that can dance. Really, it’s the opposite of an “Internet,” a term that even today—in the era of the cloud and the app and the walled garden—connotes a peer-to-peer system in which each node is equally empowered. By contrast, these connected objects will act more like a swarm of drones, a distributed legion of bots, far-flung and sometimes even hidden from view but nevertheless coordinated as if they were a single giant machine.

For the Programmable World to reach its full potential, we need to pass through three stages. The first is simply the act of getting more devices onto the network—more sensors, more processors in everyday objects, more wireless hookups to extract data from the processors that already exist. The second is to make those devices rely on one another, coordinating their actions to carry out simple tasks without any human intervention. The third and final stage, once connected things become ubiquitous, is to understand them as a system to be programmed, a bona fide platform that can run software in much the same manner that a computer or smartphone can. Once we get there, that system will transform the world of everyday objects into a design­able environment, a playground for coders and engineers. It will change the whole way we think about the division between the virtual and the physical. This might sound like a scary encroachment of technology, but the Programmable World could actually let us put more of our gadgets away, automating activities we normally do by hand and putting intelligence from the cloud into everything we touch.