Raise your hand if you’ve gotten tired of hearing over the last several years, "There’s an app for that." For a variety of reasons the technology world has been approaching the problem of software in a backwards way. Each app generally asks you to bring your photo, video, data or mapping ’into’ their tool to use it. In reality it should be the other way around.
As a result users are required to shuttle their personal digital files via a myriad of user credentials passwords and accounts into the app of choice only to find that the app requires an upgrade – has been abandoned by the developer – or that their digital files are becoming somewhat trapped within the app and are not transferable or shareable with other apps that the user owns.
In this way even very savvy digital users are unwittingly trapping their own assets in silos which prohibits the owners visibility of these assets across all applications.
In the future we believe that individuals will have their own digital assets which securely archives all of their personal affects in one place. Software, apps and other tools or services will appear within context when summoned being accessible at the point-of-asset. The core tool at the center of such a system will be a very sophisticated yet simple internet communicator that leverages all of these assets that are at its fingertips and juggles access and point-to-point encryption with one hand tied behind it’s back.
Our Dying Backward Approach
The way it is now, generally speaking, applications and software ask the user to bring the data into their system and work is done against the data. But moving data just to utilize an application or function will become so increasingly expensive in the near short-term that this requirement will ultimately kill the usability of such software.
Parking Digital Files
In the future, people will know intuitively that data actually needs to be parked, archived, and then only accessed via authorized users and or authorized robotic users.
The Way it Was
Many tools and applications that are sold as software gain a following because of the expertise level provided by that software development company and understanding all of the nuances that relate to the data being collected, managed, exchanged and the outputs and validations required.
The Way it Can Be
It seems like an impossible task to begin to blend together all of these unique and ever changing business processes that are currently handled by separate software applications into one system but it is not an infinite task. While we are not there yet, the roadmap Honeycomb Archive has before it includes this as its ultimate vision. One can think of the word "honeycomb" as a verb, as in the honeycombing of all of these tools and standards into one system, only called upon to surface when needed.
If digital assets are allowed to become stable in any business system all of the business processes and actions that are done against those assets (ways to edit, process, collaborate, share) can become what they become as business shifts. The key to sustainable software engineering in the future will be in knowing its place in the world. It is not at the center as it has claimed in the past, but it must concede its role as playing an important but secondary role.