I was intrigued by this article in Techcrunch this morning:
Forget Apps, Now The Bots Take Over
A similar paradigm is emerging from IoT devices.
The complexity of so many apps and so many devices is becoming mind-boggling. In order to deal with it I have started to use a number of automations to make interactions with these things and services more autonomous.
It is my belief that IoT will only be successful if it makes our life easier and more intelligent. Therefore, I have embarked on a path to integrate my IoT devices to provide better intelligence. For example, I have no interest in having an app that lets me control lights or switches individually. The purpose of IoT is to reduce the amount of time I have to spend individually managing any device. I want my devices to act intelligent and to optimize activity as if I was thinking and doing it myself.
There are several companies in this space trying to help us with this automation. IFTTT is probably one of the most prominent. It allows you to define rules for automation of services, apps and IoT devices. IFTTT allows me to do things such as close my garage door for me if it is open for too long or too late at night. It allows me to create spreadsheets with lists of new followers on Twitter and to send them greetings or to aggregate statistics from numerous social services, to drop things in dropbox automatically or add things from various places to services such as Pocket so that I have one place to go and review information to read today.
IFTTT is simply one of many ways to do each of these things. The point is that the author is right. The point of this new technology (apps, services and IoT) is to make life simpler not more complicated. We shouldn’t be spending our life managing things or flitting between services doing menial tasks.
The power of PaaS/DevOps technology is to automate many of the menial parts of taking a change I’ve made to software and getting it into production. What used to be a matter of doing a thousand little things that needed to be done to get that software into production is largely automated by DevOps/PaaS technology. That makes it easier and faster to do the things that matter like getting a change that some customer needs into production sooner.
This I believe is a massive trend towards “intelligence.” Another data point I find enlightening to realize how things are getting smarter is my Tesla and it’s ability to recognize where it is and to adjust its suspension based on this and my previous instructions and guidelines. This is intelligence.
As consumers there is only so much utility to be gained by introducing a new “feature” that is supposed to enhance my life. What differentiates companies that succeed more and more is not offering a feature or more features but offering intelligence, i.e. the proper use of the feature intelligently to add value automatically. This means for instance, knowing when I go to a site based on context why I may be there and presenting me with options right away. It may mean working in the background to do things intelligently.
I believe we are in a period where differentiation is provided by providing not just automation but contextual intelligent automation. This is possible because of BigData and numerous new technologies that allow us to build more intelligent recognition of patterns (see my articles on AI – the new neural network technology.)