Web2 brought a lot of frustration. From Cambridge Analytica, through misuse of our data of AdTech giants, to massive leaks, the users have grown tired of the current way the internet is.
The next version of the web, Web3, is the promise of a change. It is the promise of decentralization, and online democracy can be nearly described as the Holy Grail of the modern world.
Until today, the next generation of the internet is more of a niche., The expansion was mainly stopped by the environmental concerns, and the surprisingly low simultaneous transaction limit imposed by Ethereum’s (ETH’s) blockchain. For now, we have had Layer 2 solutions operating on top of the main chain, to handle more transactions at the same time. ETH might catch up in 2022. With Eth2, Ethereum’s way of e.g., validating entries will not be proof-of-work (solving complex computations), but proof-of-stake (validating nodes will be chosen according to how much of a coin they own) instead. Solana, and Cardano, already validate their transactions this way.
The aforementioned Solana and Cardano won’t stay behind. The former will receive an improvement, while the latter will receive the first stable release.
As transactions are only going to be cheaper, confirmations getting faster, and environmental concerns are not applicable anymore, the main concerns will be gone, paving the way for an entry into the mainstream.
One of the highlights of AWS re:Invent 2021 was the announcement of several low/no-code solutions built by AWS. Amazon is not the only player in this field though, and one might say that they’re even late to the game.
The popularity of these platforms is due mainly to the ongoing “democratization” of software development, where the ability to take an idea and turn it into a functioning product is no longer in the hands of the few but in the hands of the many.
Some prime examples of rising stars in the low-code/no-code space include:
1. AWS Amplify Studio – a low-code app development tool that creates and syncs React components from Figma files
2. Airtable which secured $735 million in funding – on December 13th, 2021, Airtable announced its Series F to accelerate connected apps and automated workflow adoption.
3. Webflow which raised $140 million in its Series B – as Webflow expands its capabilities to include workflows, memberships, expanded e-commerce capabilities, and more. Fun fact: this website is built in Webflow!
4. AWS SageMaker Canvas – a visual machine learning no-code platform for Business Analysts
While some people are still predicting the apocalypse and saying that developers will be obsolete because of these tools, others have embraced the popularity of low-code/no-code platforms and realized that these are only tools that will never replace developers.
Low-code and no-code platforms are merely here to reduce the gap between developers and non-developers, and to free developers for tasks that are more exciting than centering a div. In the end, these platforms are built by developers and have code running underneath the hood, and in most cases need developers to write custom code for additional functionalities that go beyond the capabilities of any specific platform.
What we’ve seen this year and what we expect to continue is the creative integration of some of these tools with each other.
For example, going from design to ready product no longer requires a designer to create a document in Figma which will then be taken by a developer and built out. Now React components can be created automatically in AWS straight out of Figma. We can then plug the app into the backend, which gives us a fully functional application.
We’re looking forward to seeing what consolidations will happen in the market next year and what expansions current players will introduce to their feature sets that will set them apart from the competition.
For further reading on when and when not to use low-code, no-code solutions, we recommend reading this Harvard Business Review article: When Low-Code/No-Code Development Works — and When It Doesn’t (hbr.org)
Decentralaland. Meta. Microsoft. Niantic. Roblox. Fortnite.
Whether you consider these brands iconic, meme-worthy, cringe, or hype, does not matter. Currently, they are the organizations leading the way towards a virtual world. The definition of a metaverse the companies are pursuing is simple: a parallel world existing alongside the physical world.
The notion to spend time in a world that technically is not there is nothing new. Players have already spent enormous amounts of time in games such as Second Life, GTA games, and so on. Until recently, however, the aim was to entertain ourselves: have fun, and reset before returning to your actual life.
Things are different now. Meta wants to create a world in which you can work, socialize, or even go to a dancing club. Microsoft views the metaverse as a tool for professional collaboration (so far). The worlds we will see can perhaps be seen as the next step in the evolution of platform economies.
Regardless of their purpose, virtual worlds are bound to take off next year. Two events were key in acceleration of the race. The first one was the epidemic. Travelling suddenly became difficult, separating people from each other; this was the first time the world has grown after it shrunk considerably in the last 200 years. The second event was the rebranding of Facebook to Meta. Even though it is not the only company wanting to build a new world for us, the move made waves around the world. If people were not aware of the concept of a metaverse, they are now.
As we are talking about the enormous impact can IoT together with 5G networks have on our lives, we have much work to do at least in one of the areas: security. The emergence of smart devices that sit in our homes, though also offices, has made our lives simpler, though also a bit more dangerous.
In enterprise networks or not, the devices have found multiple uses, and as such, they affect multiple areas of our lives. Should the tangled web of electronics be compromised, the consequences could be dire. Just mentioning the (luckily) failed hack of the Water Supply facility in Florida, USA, which could have resulted in the poisoning of the water supply (!).
The survey of 615 IT and Operational Technology (OT) security practitioners, regarding IoT and monitoring and controlling industrial equipment, has uncovered a lot of problems. For one, 88% of respondents said that 88% of them had their IoT devices connect to other services, while 56% of them said their OT devices were connected “for remote access.” The certainty of respondents to detect vulnerabilities is low as well. Nearly half of them (42%) claim to have no ability to detect security issues with IoT, and OT devices.
This is a serious threat, as whole business networks, and organizations, or their key processes, can be compromised as a result of such an attack. Another scenario is that attackers can use your devices to turn them into parts of a botnet. One example is Mozi, that has been on the loose for more than two years now, with no signs of stopping. They can then be used to perform DDoS attacks or mine cryptocurrencies.
As the market of IoT devices is projected to grow, their producers need to find a way to secure their devices better. Organizations also need to be more on top of software updates, and monitoring to not lose the race with malicious third parties. The stakes are high, and the race has already started.