Low Code Future 5 - Trend 5: \n Contextual information from connected devices

As I discussed in the first post of this series, there aren’t enough technically skilled people to contribute to the digital transformation needs of all the world’s organizations. Our vision at K2 is to democratize business app creation and enable the masses to fill that gap.

This week we talked about simplifying the process of building business apps using low code and agile approaches. But, what about data? There is data behind each and every business process that gets automated and every business app that gets built.

The data behind business applications can become increasingly technical and complex as applications are integrated across multiple systems. Further, data is exploding with the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and will continue to do so, especially in business processes. A year ago, Gartner predicted that more than half of major new business processes and systems will incorporate some element of IoT by 2020. That’s only a few years away.

This data needs to be simplified as it comes in from various endpoints to ensure that both nontechnical users and future smart machines can contextualize tasks with related information in real time, regardless of the delivery mechanism. I see this as a very necessary trend going into 2017 and beyond: It’s not enough to simplify the development alone; the integrations throughout an application’s lifecycle must also be simplified. Today, we perform integrations across systems using K2’s SmartObjects, and we will continue to expand SmartObjects in the future to ensure they can capture input from these new IoT devices and sensors.

Today’s sensors, and those that will be added over the years, will continue to create massive amounts of data that will inform smart machines, bots and humans on how to act and react based on incoming real-time data. Couple these capabilities with machine learning and bottlenecked processes could be redirected automatically as machines learn from sensors.

IoT in particular could be very useful to overloaded staff members in the field. Dream with me for a moment. You say to your phone “K2, create a safety issue ticket for me.” From there, our mobile app automates the creation of the ticket, populates information automatically based on the phone’s location data, lists nearby sensors requiring correction, checks inventory and then automatically orders parts based on the defect type. Thereafter, a trigger is sent from the K2 process automation to the sensor to reset it into a “caution state” and the ticket is updated to “part ordered.” Thresholds on the IoT device are changed to reflect the current state and eliminate the error message, and then all support staff members are immediately given a progress update. This reduces data entry so staff members can stay focused on more pressing issues and keep problem resolution flowing.

Sensors and IoT can deliver customer value by instrumenting these technologies within customer-facing business processes. For instance, car sensors could notify drivers of impending trouble based on preset wear-and-tear thresholds. The car would ask drivers of Bluetooth-connected phones when they’d like to take their car in for repair and offer options based on their calendar availability.

Once an appointment time is selected, automated processes kick off in the background: The car sends an appointment request to the repair shop and orders the necessary parts so they are ready to be installed when your car arrives. This could save you significant time and keep you and your car safely on the road.

Take it even further, and suppose you act on the sensor notification within 30 days, thereby reducing your safety risk. Your insurance company offers a $50 incentive for doing so because your pre-emptive action could save it money on a potentially avoided claim. Money in your pocket, savings in the insurance company’s.

There are many cool scenarios out there, and IEEE has created a great site that allows innovative IoT ideas to be surfaced and solved. The IEEE IoT Technical Community is composed of those involved in research, implementation, application and usage of this internet-enabled vision of our future. Check out the ideas submitted or add your own. In the end, these scenarios all have some type of business process behind them, so we’re excited about the future opportunity it brings K2!

ImageI believe we’ve scratched only the surface of what’s possible — and as new technologies with more integration points and data from IoT devices and sensors arrive, it will become even more important that they are simplified and actionable for nontechnical users. If not, the developer and skills gap will continue to grow and obstruct business’ ability to transform all aspects of their organizations.

So that wraps up the Low Code Future 5 trends I see as the most important and relevant to business process automation and that can contribute significantly to the much-needed digital transformation in the market. I’m excited about what’s to come, by building on our success in 2016 to enabling new innovative experiences via the cloud in 2017 and integrating these trends in the years ahead.

Were there any trends you hoped we’d address, or any you think will have similar importance in the year ahead and beyond? Join the conversation on LinkedIn or Twitter using #LowCodeFuture5.