How “Third Platform” will affect business

February 17, 2015

There’s a major transformation in networking taking place to meet fast-growing social business, cloud, mobile and big data computing requirements that have direct impact on businesses, consumers and service providers.Simply put, the “Third Platform” is the next phase of the IT revolution. IDC refers it to “Third Platform,” following the first platform of mainframes and second platform of client or server computing. In advanced tech jargon, it is called the “associated networking transition” or the New IP. The “Third Platform” has cloud as its core, and its solutions will offer anyplace, anytime access to application functionality. As with previous transitions, the “Third Platform” will no doubt disrupt legacy technology, business and operational models while creating incrementally new models and businesses.This is networking transition centered around the data centers, which are evolving from a facility that hosts back-end apps to one that is the ‘front door’ of every business, where business engages with consumers and other businesses through a myriad of devices and applications. According to IDC research which I’ve a copy, more than 50% of all high-end data centre construction will be service provider driven by 2020.

Light-weight mobile apps running on ever changing classes of mobile devices will be critical access points for these cloud services and solutions, leveraging 4G+ networks and WiFi for connectivity. The “Third platform” makes possible a broad proliferation of big data analytics and social technologies. As investments in new data centers shift over time from enterprises to service providers, the transition in networking brings an emphasis on moving from more physical assets, to virtual assets.With the move to a world of supporting billions of users and devices especially mobile devices that are being activated at exponential growth rates, the industry is shifting rapidly to open and open-source technologies, and data centers will be software defined with a high degree of virtualization in workloads and apps at the edge or device level.There’s also a consensus within the industry about ‘self-service innovation’ that provides high levels of access and control by lines of business and consumers through on demand capacity and resource provisioning. IDC believes “Third Platform” solutions will be the primary growth driver of the ICT industry over the next decade, responsible for 75% of the growth as worldwide industry spending shifts from $3.2 trillion in 2013 to $5.3 trillion by 2020.

The “Third Platform” has massive scale, reaching trillions of IP-addressable “things” ranging from devices, monitors, and sensors and billions of users through millions of new applications and services with a potentially global user base and unlimited hardware resources.However, data privacy will be the key security requirement in this new era.Businesses will have to be good custodians of their customer data. Data will become increasingly disaggregated from specific applications, and will be accessed and analyzed by many apps that can be hosted on any device or platform. Intelligent, high-performance storage networking and network visibility and analytics will therefore be critical technologies of The “Third Platform.” The New IP is not just a technology revolution but it’s also a customer revolution where platforms form, devices, developers, and customers form, creating the same stable ecosystem that drove “Second Platform” growth. All the major activity around networking at the moment OpenFlow, the OpenDaylight Project, OpenStack, SDN and NFV are evidence of the transition to The New IP that is taking place now.

New IP customers are moving away from vendor lock-in by demanding greater interoperability and innovation through open and open-source network solutions. Ability to leverage on the open-source community at large has a multiplier effect on rapid and exponential innovation much like what we see happening in the application space for mobile devices. Think of the wide variety of applications available on the iOS Appstore or Google Play.The proliferation of “Third Platform” solutions and expectations are rapidly disrupting software business models, changing them forever. But disruption rarely, if ever, leads to “wholesale replacement.” IDC believes that while packaged software applications are being slowly re-platformed for virtualized use on converged systems in data-centers, they will be available for the “Second Platform, and they will be priced and licensed accordingly. These applications will be less interesting, as software industry shift innovation to where the growth opportunities will exist which is “Third Platform” whose success depends on the rate of development of a supportive infrastructure and acceptable business models.

Contador Harrison