When the world seems too wide for purely individual effort, craftsmen of all sorts spring up to specialize. Specialization and trade bring the world to a better level of productivity, and encourage innovation in endlessly narrowing fields. The same dynamic will take hold in the software industry, but this time the wires are the trade channels, and the coders are the craftsmen. Systems will become independent, allowing plug-in applications, interfaces, drivers, and other components; just as monitors are interchangeable now. Large teams of coders will be able to work together without understanding the details of the others’ work. This will be enabled by standardized information interfaces between modular functional components.
The number of programmers will increase in total, but a smaller number will produce broadly adopted code. These few will be developing applications that are web-served and integrated through standard information interfaces with a large system of other applications.
ASPs will emerge that offer as much computing as consumers in each market demand. The software will run centrally, and deliver the services that are traditionally performed by the operating system. Individuals and companies will be able to research, create, manage, and distribute information of all kinds in an efficient and commercial manner. Information access will be intuitive, and input devices will learn to recognize your intentions based on your patterns. A small number of ASPs will emerge after a great competitive consolidation war. The winner will be the architecture that is best able to serve and keep the public’s mindshare through adoption tools, distribution tools, and financial tools, and competitive tools.
- Adoption tools include a visual interface, intuitive navigation and control, ease of use and editing, and other systems that encourage a habit of use. This opens the door of market entry for a scaleable service.
- Distribution tools refer to the systems used to place adoptability in the perceptions of the optimal target marketing. The ASP nature of this software technology trend will merge the functions of marketing, sales, advertising, and PR.
- The approach to the financial tools will determine the incentives for the use and support of the system. Contributors of new valuable information will be paid to encourage their contributions. Service providers of various kinds will be paid for their time, effort, expenses, and access to their information. All types of files and assets will be transactable for money, credit, or barter. Transactions will take place across borders — encouraging legal, pricing, and tax parity.
- Competitive tools include personalization, aggregation, integration, and any other activity that increases the added value of the service or increases the burden of changing services. These tools will, in many cases, retain users in inferior systems until the value proposition becomes very strong. And by then it is too late for the inferior system to catch up.
Competition will continue to exist in the hosted computing industry for many years as an overwhelming breadth of media and services shocks the human race with an information overload. Cultures will specialize and form media, financial, and service niches. Interfaces will develop to increase speed and resolution until we can no longer tell the difference.