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PubNub 2019 Predictions: Digital Transformation Gets Micro, Edgy, and Instant

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2019.  Read them in this 11th annual series exclusive.

Contributed by Joe Hanson, technology writer, PubNub

Digital Transformation Gets Micro, Edgy, and Instant

Making predictions is always a little iffy - if you stay in the safe zone, you're not saying anything interesting, and if you stretch a bit too far, someone might poke fun at your expense. But there's one thing we can say for sure as we race down the remaining slope of 2018 and build up momentum to take on another super sized year - digital transformation will continue apace. And we do mean fast, as in barely time to catch your breath.  So as the end of the year brings holidays and pockets of respite, take the time to clear your mind and envision where you want to go with innovations in application and service delivery, IoT, and enabling infrastructure.

We offer a few insights to help shape and inspire transformative thinking and doing in the year ahead.

2019 will be the year of edge computing.

We need to push computing to the edge to cope with the massive growth of devices (IoT, mobile, etc.) and the data they're streaming and generating - not to mention the explosion of data stream-based apps (think Uber, Gojek, WhatsApp, Climate Corp). We need new computing infrastructure that lives beyond the centralized datacenter. More advanced computation is required, and pushing it to external servers is increasingly expensive and wasteful. Traditional web infrastructure, of course, cannot handle these new requirements.

Edge computing addresses these challenges because logic can be executed on devices (i.e., closer to the edge, or at the edge). Benefits of moving compute closer to the edge include:

  • Lower bandwidth consumption: You're sending the minimum required to external servers.
  • Faster performance: You're not waiting to send/receive processed data. It's immediate.
  • It's more secure: The more outward connections you open up, the more security vulnerabilities.
  • Scalability: As new devices are added and removed, most of the burden is on the edge devices, so you don't have to keep adding data center capacity to accommodate growth.

2019 will be the year of microservices

Microservices are a major factor in the move from monolithic to distributed application design, the beating heart of digital transformation. Decoupled and only responsible for discrete tasks, microservices allow teams to build more scalable and extensible applications, more quickly. Microservices enable an array of benefits, and I'm sure we'll discover more in the year ahead. 

From a reliability standpoint, a key benefit of microservices is that failure of a single service doesn't impact the other services. Fault isolation means your mobile app itself is more resilient. For example, if your push notifications service has an outage, the rest of your application will continue to operate normally, and you could easily fall back to a different push notification service as needed.

Microservices are also highly receptive to playing nicely with third-party services. In building mobile apps, developers often don't have time (or, in some cases, the expertise) to build every feature and function from scratch, and instead choose to integrate best-in-class services that are more reliable and trustworthy.

In the year ahead, leverage the power of microservices to help you quickly and confidently secure, feature-rich apps that incorporate artificial intelligence and other complex technologies.

2019 will be the year of instant gratification

We want it, and we want it ten minutes ago. We want it with no friction, no barriers, and most importantly, without talking to a human. If we don't get it, we are perturbed. We've been conditioned to loathe waiting, especially for digital services, and the impatience has crept into our daily life.

Across every vertical and industry, businesses are pivoting towards instant gratification, and the art of delivering data, product, or experience when the user demands it.

The masses are armed with smartphones and applications. This handheld accessibility to technology has made the on-demand economy integral to how we operate on a daily basis. You can have somebody else do anything for you with the push of a button - your laundry, your grocery shopping, your child's ride to soccer practice, your dog's walk to the park. Across the globe, the on-demand economy has revolutionized urban centers and rural areas alike. And it's growing rapidly as new apps flood the market to solve problems, both minuscule and mission critical.

Of course, instant gratification as a business principle transcends the delivery of goods and services. Enabling on-demand information, experiences, and human-machine interactions in the real world opens up a whole new realm of possibilities. 

The Internet of Things promises the instantaneous delivery of data from devices to other devices or end users. You can know immediately if your door is locked, your sprinklers are leaking, or your baby is crying. In a nutshell, innovating and perfecting the dynamic of instant gratification is going to be key to business success.

This all thrilling, but we can't skip over the fundamentals. This kind of computing - at the edge, in real time, distributed, and agile- requires the right launch pad. Spend the time that's left in this year to assess and strategize your infrastructure and application needs, so you can be ready to take off at top speed in 2019.


About the Author


Joe Hanson is a technology writer at PubNub. He's been published in ProgrammableWeb, The Next Web, The New Stack, Hacker Noon, and freeCodeCamp.

Published Wednesday, November 21, 2018 7:36 AM by David Marshall
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