Rocket Software Inc. forecasts significant growth in numbers of developers using open source on a mainframe, the move towards modernisation presenting a game-changer for legacy systems, and the increase of Blockchain popularity in the supply chain – along with three additional predictions for 2019.
The trend towards collaborative working will continue in 2019, with open source eliminating the barriers between platforms.
Almost 19 years ago, IBM was the first major computer power to embrace Linux which today translates to a staggering 90% of mainframe customers leveraging Linux on their mainframe. With the recent launch of open-source frameworks, the divide between modern applications and the mainframe will be reduced through the increase in accessibility. As it becomes less about what platform you’re using and more about what can be achieved with it, we’ll see a shift in how the mainframe is perceived.
Languages and tools like Python, PHP, Java and Git, can all be used, allowing developers, especially students fresh from university, the chance to code on a platform which they might not be familiar with, or even perceive as ‘bygone’. Open data and open source will be the driving force for future innovation, encouraging the next generation not to shy away from the mainframe, thereby creating an opportunity to bridge the skills gap.
Once hailed as the saviour of the Irish border issue and secret weapon in the fight against world hunger, Blockchain has had a tough couple of months. ‘Too slow’ the banks said, ‘no use for a distributed ledger’ the nay-sayers criticised. But the new year will see Blockchain finally come into its own with the manufacturer crowd. While its supporters might have to accept that it may never be adopted across the board, Blockchain will certainly make its mark in the supply chain – processes like B2B transactions, ordering, invoicing, payments, stocking, etcetera, will benefit hugely from implementing the technology.
Modernisation for Innovation
Legacy system owners will come to realise that the ‘why fix what isn’t broken’ mentality is not sustainable. The capital tied up in mainframe maintenance is better used to modernise it and take advantage of new technologies. The mainframe provides power and security and is not going away. Therefore, the motto for 2019 is modernisation rather than replacement. Legacy systems will see true innovation – there’s life in the old dog yet.
Having been ‘the future’ for years, the Internet of Things is continuously making leaps and bounds - GSMA Intelligence forecasts that there will be more than 25 billion "internet of things" connections by 2025. Guy Tweedale, regional VP at Rocket Software would go a step further: “We expect the number of connected devices to surpass 35 billion in the next six years. With the increasing popularity of smart devices, especially in areas like transportation, the figure might even be higher.”
Thanks to the introduction of 5G, devices like parking meters and traffic lights finally have enough power to bring about real breakthroughs in the near future. Moving away from pure data collection to performing actual functions based on external data inputs, congestion will be eased and road accidents reduced – cities will get smarter. However, the more devices get connected, the more we have to prepare for cyber -attacks which are expected to increase in number and severity.
While it might not be available to the general public in 2019, or possibly anytime soon, quantum computing deserves a spot on this list as it is one of the most exciting future developments of our time. Using quantum mechanical phenomena such as superposition and entanglement, quantum computing takes advantage of the strange ability of subatomic particles to exist in more than one state at any time, allowing to solve problems that are impossible for classical computers to tackle.
Currently only running on a small 20-qubit quantum computer via the IBM quantum experience project, should quantum computing become widely available, the effects are going to be revolutionary. The entirety of security, pharmaceutical and financial industries will be changed dramatically, and lives saved through e.g. atmospheric mapping in real time to avoid hurricanes. In the future, tragedies caused by the late evacuation as it was the case during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, can be circumvented. Due to the processing power of quantum computers, the two-to-three- day hurricane forecast will be as accurate as the generally spot on 24-hour forecast today. The future might be tumultuous, but we’ll be equipped to weather the storm.