Mobile Trends at IBM InterConnect 2016

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Watson Trends logoI’ve been at IBM InterConnect 2016 for a few days now, and I’ve been on the lookout for new developments in the world of mobile computing. While I probably could have just asked IBM Watson for help, I’d like to share these two trends I’ve noticed during my visit.

The first trend is how the human experience is being transformed by wearables, mobile and the Internet of Things (IoT). The combination of always-on, hands-free devices and new sensors will change the way we do work or how we engage customers. The second trend is the formalization of API specifications; essential if you want to participate in API Economy.

The human experience is transforming

If you look at the numbers, wearables are booming: 200 million people will use wearable devices that measure their heart rates by 2018. The total number of wearable devices is expected to exceed 12 billion by 2020. Combining mobile, IoT and wearables introduces new architectural challenges though:

  • IoT/wearables can not work alone. Most devices have little or no processing power, memory, storage, battery and connectivity range.
  • IoT/wearables can not always rely on the cloud for processing. Sometimes there simply is no wireless connection available or local processing is preferred to minimize latency for near-realtime applications.
The Wearable Platform

The Wearable Platform

The solution is to use the smartphone as local hub for the connected IoT/wearable devices. For a seamless integrated user experience between the wearables and the mobile devices, a multimodal interface needs to be designed and implemented.

The computing power of the smartphone is used to interpret raw data from the wearable/IoT device into meaningful insight that can be acted upon. The necessity to use the computing power of a device so close to the data instead of the cloud is referred to as Edge Computing. Privacy concerns, along with the sheer volume of the generated data by the connected devices, can be another reason to drive these analytics to the edge.  It comes as no surprise that with the ever increasing number of smart devices computing and storage capacity at the edge exceeds that in the cloud these days!

cloud vs on edge

Cloud vs edge

I guess the good news for me is that the killer app that could justify a purchase of an Apple Watch (my first wearable) is just around the corner! The bad news is that I’ll probably will have to buy *more* IoT/wearable devices to make that killer app work. 🙂

Formal API specifications

In the API economy, application programming interfaces (APIs) act as the digital glue that links services, applications and systems. Formal API specifications like Swagger are essential for consistent and interactive consumer documentation, testing, security checks, client SDK generation and the ability to promote your APIs to clients and partners. Sites like API Harmony  and the soon to be available IBM API Connect show formal API Specifications are here to stay. If you plan to monetize your APIs in API marketplaces (“app stores” for API) then I think you should embrace this trend as soon as possible.

What trends did you spot at InterConnect? Let me know in the comments section below.

 

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Jeroen van Dun

Manager of Software Engineering at Rocket Software
Jeroen van Dun is Product Manager in the Rocket LegaSuite Lab.

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