13 February 2015

Softwarization: open field-trials of field-trials are welcome !

In this book “Software Take Command”, the Author Lev Manovich (2008) is arguing that “What electricity and the combustion engine were to the early 20th century, software is to the early 21st  century”.

Electricity and the combustion engine created a new development by changing legacy rules, opening Blue ocean scenarios. A new wave of innovation crossed the Planet.

The terms Red and Blue oceans refers to two opposite scenarios. Red oceans concerns known market spaces, where roles boundaries are clearly defined and accepted, and the competitive rules of the game are known. As the market spaces are becoming more and more crowded, profits and growth are going to be reduced. Products and Services will become commodities, and the competition turns the ocean bloody. Blue oceans, in contrast, refer to enabling new market space, creating new demands, and the context for a new growth. In blue oceans, competition is less relevant. New Service paradigms will be created and new ecosystems will emerge.

So Softwarization and Machine Intelligence will open new Blue ocean scenarios like electricity and the combustion engine in the early 20th century. Industries, Academia, Funding Agencies, Research-Innovation Communities, Open Source Communities will have to face such important and global transformation, a new wave of innovation crossing Society and Economy.

In this direction, my take is that large-scale experimental platforms (e.g., a “field-trial of field-trials”), properly integrated, federated and operated would create the ideal open environment where to support a global innovation efforts in developing and testing pre-industrial solutions. And this will pave the way towards a fast and trusted adoption in Blue markets.

This approach should also reflect the way in which “innovation” is being developed and exploited. In fact, the past top-down “waterfall” model of making innovation is going to vanish: that model was moving from research activities to standardization, from systems development by Technology Providers to Service Providers deployments up to services provisioning to Consumers. Already today (and more and more tomorrow) innovation is likely working the other way round: innovation should start bottom-up from the needs of the Digital Society, from the massive Consumers, Users and from the challenging requirements of the new Digital Society and Economy.

So, though many efforts have been made in Europe, in US, in Asia in the past years to create SDN-NFV test-beds and experimental facilities with the purpose of serving industry, academia and scientific community, the result is a large number of fragmented and isolated platforms, duplicating work, often missing exchanges of results and information. Above all creating no impact. This is jeopardizing and delaying the innovation power of Softwarization, as a powerful enabler to new developments in the Digital Society and Economy.

The challenge will be looking for concrete exploitations driven by common Blue oceans goals, developing new socio-economic opportunities and ecosystems (e.g., in the sectors from industrial and agricultural mobile robotics, to new service paradigms such as “anything as a service”, from “full immersive experience and communications” to “Cognition-as-a-Service”).

Global “field-trials of field-trials” are needed where pursuing joint open efforts boosting Softwarization impacts. And these efforts have to look at the future, going beyond the local Red Oceans competitions.  Join our Community.