By 24 May 2017 | Categories: feature articles


The first day of F5 Network’s Agility 2017 event, currently taking place in Barcelona, Spain, saw a number of exciting announcements being made and tantalising topics being raised. Chief amongst this was the reveal of the company’s Future of Apps report, which details how the major trends in applications will significantly impact, if not shape, society in the years  to come.

The research, which was conducted on behalf of F5 Networks by The Foresight Factory, makes some bold and exciting assertions. It does so while simultaneously highlighting the evolution of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning, as well as the need for new collaborative models to support heightened transparency demands. It also charts the rise of new app interfaces (including augmented and virtual reality) and the potential-rich influence of blockchain technologies and edge computing.

More particularly, the report highlights four key areas where apps are leading us as a society. The first of these is Conscientious Collaboration, which entails the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the evolution of integrated apps, and the second, Optimum Intelligence, deals with the revolution that AI, biometrics and machine-learning in apps is driving, so as to enable optimum decision making. The third key area is that of Personal Realities, in which there is an increasing use of augmented and virtual reality. In this, Foresight Factory envisions a future world of embedded smart technologies and individual realities (more on that later). The final key area is New Networks, which sees greater decentralisation as blockchain technologies and edge computing move into the mainstream.

Josh McBain, director of Foresight Factory.

Josh McBain, the director of consultancy Foresight Factory, points out that as physical and digital worlds are blurring, there is the opportunity for “unprecedented productivity and efficiency at both a corporate and individual level.”

The report itself runs to 40 pages, going in depth as to the four pillars and what they mean for society at large. If Foresight Factor is on target then each pillar on its own could herald a massive sea change. For example, under Conscientious Collaboration, the report asserts that organisations need to quickly adapt and deliver models for proactive collaboration and transparency. This is crucial in the context of new data legislation, which will continue to trail digital economy developments, as well as the impact of IoT, AI and machine learning.

The report further suggests that secure and consumer-focused data practices could eventually emerge as a benchmark equivalent to sustainability or environmental impact, while significant changes in the power struggle for personal data are also expected. In the longer term, Foresight Factory believes that many consumers will move away from corporates to proactively isolate and control data sharing, while motivations around security will be matched by a desire to optimise personal return. Practically, this means that individuals may share personal data in exchange for personalised offers or discounts.

Additionally, we can apparently expect a very different workforce, with 41% of those just entering the workforce expecting their current jobs to be supplanted by AI or robots within the next decade.

That is not the only change that the future of apps promises. Still to come in Part 2, McBain explains personal realities and touches on the potential modifications of humans themselves.


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