Every decade has seen major innovations in computing and a continual evolution of software, programming, network communication and user interaction.

 

In the 1990’s it was the rise of the internet and browser based applications as well as portable computing. During the 2000’s (noughties) smart touch device and SaaS came on stream and today, a new platform is being built with data intelligence combining software and cloud computing.

 

One could define this as a transition from software to dataware. Apps are no longer predictable programs but intelligent, data-trained systems. Application intelligence, microservices/serverless infrastructure and new user interfaces will determine how we use and benefit from intelligent apps in the future.

 

During the 1990s internet applications offering users search and e-commerce tools emerged and the old trusted PC had to give way to the elegant laptop.

 

The 2000’s saw the transition from client-server to Software-as-a-Service and the emergence of Amazon Web Services and Elastic Cloud Computer Service initiated the transition from hardware to software service.

 

Smart mobile devices were launched and quickly brought an array of apps. Apple entered the market with the iPhone in 2007 and the App Store followed quickly. Google launched the Android ecosystem to compete and apps were built to run on these smart devices. iPads, Kindles and Surfaces became available and interfaces grew increasingly more complex. The traditional keyboard soon had to give way to touch screen technology and developers began to build apps to suit the new devices.

 

Now, in 2016, we are witnessing the dawn of a new era in app construction, access and use. Apps are evolving from “software programs” to “dataware learners”.

 

Traditionally, software was designed and programed to carry out tasks and run predictably. However, this is about to change with the creation of intelligent dataware which sees a computer system continuously collect data, learn and make predictions. In short, traditional software is programmed while dataware is trained and predictive. Users are already familiar dataware in searches, predictive texting and credit card payment security and it is believed that soon, all apps will be intelligent apps.

 

The shift from software to dataware is underlined by three forces:

 

Application Intelligence

 

Intelligent applications collect and use data and anticipate interactions between user and device. Innovative data and metadata store, data intelligence systems and predictive intelligence are combined and connected on a constant feedback loop continually improving the performance of intelligent apps.

 

Microservices and Serverless Functions

 

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), using microservice building blocks, communicate machine-to-machine and enable traditional apps to exchange information and interact with each other. “Bots” allow them to perform specific functions like calling a car service automatically via an underlying communication platform.

These serverless functions are a form of microservice and form the basis on which applications function, interact and process data and complete tasks for users without the user having to necessarily be involved in the specific process.

Natural User Interface

While touch represented a revolution in user interface technology, voice is the new kid on the block. Platforms like Alexa, Cortana and Siri already have more than 1’000 voice-activated skills. Voice and visual interfaces will dominate how people interact with applications. Touch technology is set to evolve further and soon it will feel natural to ask a device to open a file or play your favourite song.

Dataware Platform Challenges

 

  • SaaS No Longer Suffices

 

The emerging new intelligent applications will no longer be able run on monolithic SaaS systems and SaaS will need to be modernized to include data intelligence and microservice components.

  • Data Access and Rights

In order to function properly, intelligent apps will require access and the right to use personal data and this needs some form of regulation.

  • Multi-sense Interfaces

The coming years will see a further evolution of interface technology with the emergence of speech, vision and motion-sensor technology.

Over the next decade, the three trends outlined will see the transition from software applications to dataware learners and shape the future of user-device interaction. Multisense technology and intelligent application will change the way we live our lives once more.