To get insight into how trends at CES will impact the app development community, we reached out to Prathap Dendi, General Manager for Emerging Technologies at AppDynamics, who has been active in implementing ways to increase the software footprint in the Internet of Things.
Dendi most recently was Vice President, General Manager at Electric Cloud, where he helped incubate DevOps and Multi-Domain Continuous Delivery across hardware and software ecosystems by bringing ALM (software), PLM (devices) segments together with customers and partners including SpaceX, General Motors, Lockheed Martin, Siemens etc. Prior to that Prathap held leadership roles at IBM incubating SOA and Cloud business units.
ADM: What is the top trend you witnessed at CES 2016 that would impact developers?
Dendi: Something that’s unimaginable, unheard of just a few years ago is now happening. Hardware is opening up with rambunctious, supply-chain shattering seismic forces right from the core to the cloud - from semiconductor architecture, to the sensors, all the way to the cloud behind these smart, connected devices. This provides a massive opportunity for developers to innovate and prosper.
ADM: What is driving this trend?
Dendi: Many factors are aligning perfectly, but if I have to choose, it’s the magic of sensors coupled with connectivity at scale. Sensors and actuators today are getting increasingly affordable, specialized and developer friendly. Key players such as ARM, Intel and other semiconductor vendors are opening up their wares and getting friendlier to open source communities, cloud services and ecosystem scenarios.
If you consider what Apple did with its integrated stack attractive massive innovation via an app developer ecosystem, imagine the same dynamics at a scale much larger happening across industrial and consumer space. This is the IoT app developer gold rush.
ADM: How can enterprise organizations leverage IoT technology/devices to enhance their existing services?
Traditional enterprises that have never owned hardware as part of their business processes are beginning to leverage sensor-enabled devices. Examples include Progressive Insurance (for usage-based pricing), Fedex (SenseAware), Lowe's (Iris platform), Fossil (acquired MisFit) and Disney (Magicband).
Even if they are not owning a new hardware device, increasing number of businesses are beginning to integrate and adopt IoT devices as part of their supply chain logistics automation (inventory management, drone delivery, security, freight monitoring etc) and IT/productivity efficiency (energy management, communications, smart customer support).
ADM: What particular industries would benefit the most or be able to take faster advantage of these connected technologies?
Dendi: We are seeing a broad based adoption of IoT. While much of the mindshare is on the consumer wearables and home automation, the massive scale adoption is in Industrial automation, smart infrastructure/cities, Utilities, Retail, Healthcare and Logistics/travel industries.
ADM: What will be the biggest challenge that the increase in the number of connected devices bring to enterprise organizations?
Dendi: We have seen a small sample of this challenge while adopting mobile technology into enterprise IoT. This represents much bigger opportunities as well as challenges that come with such disruptive application of new technology. Few areas to highlight include:
- Support, Skills and Scale readiness: If you thought mobile fragmentation was painful, wait till you see the scale and diversity in IoT devices. Enterprises will need a whole new approach to managing the device fleet.
- Visibility into the edge computing devices: You are adding a new blackbox in to your end to end business process. In many cases these devices are manufactured by external OEMs and often IT has no visibility into the design, architecture and deployment.
- Data, process security readiness: Much has been written about the massive size of the data that gets generated by the IoT devices. Security, privacy risks that are introduced by the onset of IoT devices is not trivial. Enterprises will need to take a new look at the right approach data security, privacy and fraud.
ADM: Where does Application Performance Monitoring (APM) fit in here? How can APM be used to address this challenge?
Dendi: The premise of IoT is greater visibility, context and control into our physical world. It is achieved by an increasing amount of software coupled with smart sensors and cloud technologies for storing and analyzing the data. Such complex systems require monitoring, security and performance management to ensure its optimal operation.
In recent years, APM technologies have advanced impressively to include end-to-end monitoring, self-learning baselining and offer quick remediation support. In the connected world of IoT, such capabilities are paramount.
At AppDynamics, our role and vision has always been to be the watchdog for an increasingly software-driven world. We watch every single line of code our customers trust us with to monitor, baseline, alert and help proactively remediate in an instant. As software finds its way further into edge computing, we continue to expand our industry-leading unified monitoring capabilities to the new frontiers our customers are innovating towards.
ADM: Do you think we’ll see more enterprise IT companies or developers participating at future CES events?
Dendi: Yes. I was pleasantly surprised to see traditionally non-device companies such as insurance, education, retail exhibit prominently on the CES floor. Also, I couldn’t help but notice a big app developer presence at the event. As we see software and hardware convergence, this seems to be the trend where app developers are drawn to explore opportunities to innovate on the broader hardware platforms.
ADM: Any other key takeaways/trends from CES that developers should be aware of?
Dendi: Developers who are coming from an IT/Web or consumer app development background will have a learning curve when it comes to innovating on hardware platforms. The IoT devices have more physicality aspects. For example, drones fly, giant robot arms lift, cars drive, smart locks can shut or open doorways. Such physicality comes with a direct impact on personal safety, security and privacy.
As a developer community, we have a much bigger moral responsibility to get the right design, architecture and security. This is the subject of my upcoming talk at South by Southwest 2016. I am a big proponent of app developers’ increasing role in ensuring smarter, flatter, safer connected world.Read more: https://www.appdynamics.com
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