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Communications Services for the Application Economy

February 05, 2019
By Bill Yates, Communications Correspondent

You hear it all the time. “There’s an app for that.” But where are apps, particularly those developed to aid communication services, headed next?

In a panel discussion at the Hot Topics in Tech forum at the IT Expo in Fort Lauderdale yesterday, moderator Andy Allison led the participants in a talk on the current state of application development.

Chris Van Tuin, western chief technologist for Red Hat (News - Alert), noted how the prevalence of pre-written code in applications has allowed a new class of participants to the development of apps.  

“APIs have made it easier to develop apps with less code, which opens it up to more people,” Van Tuin says. Even kids can do it, he points out.

The explosion of pre-written apps that can be stitched together to express a new idea will lead to apps developed by entrepreneurs instead of programmers, Van Tuin says.

Eric Klein, chief operating officer at Cloudonix (News - Alert), agreed, noting that developers can deploy multiple tools and platforms in one app to streamline the creation process. “That’s happened over the last three to five years,” he says.

Looking forward, Klein expects more from large companies that utilize APIs to establish a new footprint. He cited Uber and Airbnb as two companies that have deployed integrated APIs to create a new business.

 “I expect people to dream something new by combining these new development platforms,” Klein says.

Van Tuin sees innovation springing from tools that let developers create APIs that can touch the device level, the application level and the cloud level. Linking all three layers together with an API is what drives these large projects, he noted.

He also sees advances coming on the micro level. “The barrier to entry used to be very high,” he says, citing not only technical expertise but development costs. “Now we see (app development) moving towards the business owner.”

Klien seconded that notion, saying the he expects to see “clusters” of apps that will appear as people piggyback on each other’s work. Right now, games and utility apps are the rage, but privacy and security is the next big wave, he says.

Complying with competing standards, such as GDPR and CCPA, could be more difficult moving forward, Klein says. People are worried about hackers gaining access, whether the attack occurs at the device, the app or the cloud.

As the app business matures, security concerns are coming to the forefront. “Data encryption is another big concern,” Klien says.

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