OSS steam engine time

Steam engine time is a period of time when many inventors all over the world, despite isolation from each other, and with no contact with each other in any way, begin inventing a similar technology with a coincidental commonality of ideas.
Urban Dictionary.

Another perspective on steam engine time is a period where there are So many associated innovations happening that it is inevitable that a game-changing invention will appear.

Call me the optimist but I can’t help but thinking that OSS 2.0 is on the verge of happening. There are so many related inventions happening at the moment that it’s hard to keep up.

My market research report, “The Changing Landscape of OSS,” provides a view of some of the most important evolutions leading OSS into steam engine time. These include cloud delivery, network virtualization, network security, Big Data, Machine Learning and Predictive Analytics, resource models, orchestration and automation, wireless sensor networks, IoT/ M2M, Self-organizing Networks (SON) and rapid development of standards across all of these spaces.

There are already signs of a changing product mix appearing within OSS circles (and beyond?). My definition of the next big thing includes the following attributes that are rarely found in current OSS:

  • An ecosystem that allows third-party developers to create and market tools to end consumers, leveraging the long tail of innovation in the developer community
  • End-user centric solutions that blend apps and content with traditional operations-centrictools / data
  • True real-time data collection and management (eg traffic management, billing, quality of service, security, etc) as opposed to near-real-time
  • Unstructured, flexible data sets rather than structured data models
  • Highly decentralised and/or distributed processing using commoditised hardware rather than the centralised (plus aggregators) model of today
  • A standardised, simplified integration mechanism between network and management on common virtualised platforms rather than proprietary interfaces connecting between different platforms
  • An open source core that allows anyone to develop plug-ins for, leading to long-tail innovation via crowd collaboration
  • Search rather than integration wherever possible (including search across the entire data set rather than table-by-table searching
  • Service / application layer abstraction provides the potential for platform sharing between network and OSS and dove-tailed integration
  • Cheaper, faster, simpler installations
  • Transparency of documentation to make it easier for integrators
  • Wide-spread training / learning programs
  • Capable of handling a touchpoint explosion since network virtualisation and Internet of Things (IoT) will introduce vast numbers of devices to manage
  • Machine learning and predictive analytics to help operators cope with the abovementioned touchpoint explosion
  • Solutions that are optimised for usability by UX (User Experience) experts rather than designed by engineers / developers
  • New interaction models such gesture computing for getting data in and out of OSS
  • and many more

As you can tell, I’m excited by OSS steam engine time and what the near future holds.

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