With Gartner predicting that the number of connected devices will reach 20.8 billion by 2020, the technology world stands on the verge of one of its biggest waves of disruption. At the core of this revolution lies the concept of the Exchange of Everything, where Real Time Communications (RTC) technology meets the Internet of Things (IoT) to create a system where large amounts of data and services can be exchanged easily leading to the development of new services.
We now live in a disruptive, brave new world, where Uber doesn’t “own” cars, and AirBnB doesn’t “own” properties. On the surface these exchanges are fairly binary, “I have a car, and you want to go somewhere, so I take you there in exchange for money”. This is a simple transaction model that has been in place for thousands of years. However, it is the back-end systems that have led to the success of these companies, driven by exchange technologies that are becoming more sophisticated every year. The growth in this technology boils down to crucial human interactions, connecting person A with person B in a fast, positive and reliable manner so that they can exchange ideas, thoughts, and services.
But what is driving these exchanges and what is enabling these connected experiences? In this brave new world, APIs or application programming interfaces have become the “digital currency” that is the engine powering and delivering these exchanges. This connectivity, which is enabling the entire online consumption model, allows for mass exchanges of data and communications between devices, machines and humans. And for this information to be delivered in the most efficient, reliable, secure manner increasingly companies are leveraging platforms that allow them to embed real time communications capabilities directly into their applications and business processes.
We, along with industry sources, estimate the value of APIs and the broadening communications platform as a service (cPaaS) market to be $40 billion in 2019. The success of recent IPOs and the acquisitions of Nexmo by Vonage and Tropo by Cisco are solid proof that the communications platform market is rapidly expanding and primed for growth and companies are trying to capitalize on the momentum.
The growth of API and communications platforms are also changing current ecosystems from a vertically integrated monolithic business concept to much more of a distributed business model. API-based ecosystems create exchanges that help companies easily collaborate, offer complementary services and help build virtual teams that can work together to offer services and solutions that improve efficiencies, enhance communications and in some cases help save lives.
Take for example, how this technology combined with Artificial Intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing healthcare. AI cannot provide the personal support patients ultimately need, but it can be combined with RTC to create a potentially life-saving solution that can connect experts and patients securely within seconds. TeleMedCo, a new company, uses the Kandy communications platform for RTC capabilities and is powered by IBM Watson.
This system is being built for Emergency Rooms and, with the combination – and Exchange – of software, data, AI, protocol, platforms and people, a cardiologist can be found in a heartbeat. Inside this Exchange is a directory of doctors and specialists, with profiles set up and real time communications policy established so a doctor is alerted when his or her patient is admitted.
The doctor receives a secure text message and can click on the link and immediately establish a session with the ER – with both sides looking at the patient’s electronic medical record to diagnose and treat them more quickly and accurately. All this is captured in the record, and can be used to continually refine and improve the quality of outcomes.
While this is quite a dramatic example, the same benefits can be seen in many aspects of business, and can be used by Communication Service Providers (CSPs), enterprises, systems integrators, enterprises and others to leverage these Exchanges to improve the human connected experience, regardless of where you may be. CSPs especially can leverage these technologies because they have the built-in advantages, infrastructure and assets (their networks) to drive the innovation and growth opportunities that the Exchange Economy is bringing about at warp speed, at the intersection of RTC and IoT.