It’s only the system, not the individual pieces that will matter

by : Ahmed Abdullah-Al-Tamjeed

megatrends

We constantly talk about the IT Megatrends and what these mean for consumers and businesses today. How today’s workforce is constantly on the go, with individuals often having more than one mobile devices to cater both their personal and professional needs; how this, in turn, has led to the proliferation of novel devices, where manufacturers world-wide are constantly producing myriad gadgets to entice consumers. A spontaneous deduction of the premises is a projection of a host of new devices to flood the market in the coming days.

But, our understanding and insights show us a completely different picture. The future, in fact, will see the decline of gadgets (hardware) and the rise of a system of connected software (Apps) as the technology landscape of the globe. IoT and Smartphones are the two forces behind.

The evolution of IoT has sparked an array of Apps on a platform that can link together pieces of hardware that in isolation would be mundane and boring. Gartner [1] rightly forecasts that 4.9 billion connected things will be in use in 2015, up 30 percent from 2014, and will reach 25 billion by 2020. If you’ve closely noticed, this growth of connected devices is on the software level NOT device level. So, the key to this vibrant growth (and its bright future) is in the interactions of softwares, not single-function devices that dominated the market a decade ago. The excitement lies in the interconnections and the interaction, and what the interconnections and interaction can do for the user, not the devices per se. Also, the trending BYOD hints the notion – most of your work is not gadget/device-dependent…you can do your job in almost any laptop or smartphone – only you’ve to have the necessary softwares.

What’s happening today is that now we only need one electronic gadget to meet all the needs of those different physical things. Seems hard to believe? Just take a look at your smartphone. The smartphone provides a hardware platform, which in turn provides the basis for the software platform, which in turn enables ecosystems of employees and partners to interact and generate a vast array of solutions for diverse human needs. Get the picture? Tech giants (and even more recent organizations) have understood this shift and is getting aligned to take advantage. The result already is – a cult like following and loyalty towards the brand – from consumers, to business, to developers, all playing their roles in this changing ecosystem shaped by IoT and smartphone.

Why this change will be robust lies in the natural evolution of information technology. Let’s take a tour of the evolution, and see why the future is going to be almost “mono-gadgetic”. It’s important to understand the sequence first. First, single function devices physically morph into multi-function devices – additional hardware components (camera, Wi-Fi receiver etc.) were built over time on cellular phones. Then, more soft-components (or Apps) came off to kill gadgets (very basic examples are calculation apps in smartphones killing calculators). Next, technology giants “position” technology in their own patterns – define respective ways of using technology with respective regimentations called operating systems, protocols etc.; and user had to adapt. The last stage of the evolution actually liberates – with options of numerous free / low-cost apps (software), users are not restricted to do things as only the way the giants dictate.

As a result, the future is a far more open, nearly mono-gadgetic tech environment where users are at their choice to go for the tech components – apps of various contents and services – they wish to use. And when there’s one gadget, multiple apps of contents and services to meet your needs, all you need is a system that enables you to connect and interact. This is why, excitements will lie in connecting content and services together. It’s only the system, not the individual pieces that will matter.

[1] http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2905717

Mr. Tamjeed is a Portfolio Manager at ssd-tech Ltd. He can be reached at tamjeed@ssd-tech.com 

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