The Internet is Eating the Things

A lot of my industry talks emphasize the value of software over hardware because of the significantly higher speed of innovation. In a well run continuous software engineering (DevOps) organization, you can go from commit to production within seconds. Try that with hardware! The feedback you can gather from customers and the market is at least a power of ten faster in software than in hardware, creating a whole new layer of product innovation on top of existing hardware platforms.

I use the following slide to drive home the point, kind of abusing Marc Andreesen (though I bet he would like it), for this purpose.

With all the talk of Industrie 4.0 in Germany, I’m sometimes getting the impression that German industry wants push its existing carts forward while not realizing that a highway is being built above them. The Internet of Things proponents also don’t seem to get it: We are not talking about a virtual overlay on things, we are talking about whole new worlds being built on top of the physical world. Those where the next generation of fortunes is being made. It is not the Internet of things, it is the Internet wholesale swallowing the things.

General Electric has declared that they are a software company. (They may not be but I’m sure it drove home to employees the point.)

If you went to bed last night as an industrial company, you’re going to wake up this morning as a software and analytics company. —Jeff Immelt, Chairman and CEO, GE

When will Siemens declare that they are a software company?

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  1. […] software. Amazon reportedly deploys software changes into production several thousand times a day. This closes the feedback loop on how well things work [1], leading to an innovation speed impossible to achieve if physical devices weigh you down […]

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