Our digital experience experts share their insights on what will impact the digital experience landscape in the coming months and years. From Edge Computing and API-first Design to Privacy and Trust.
Edge Computing Will Go Mainstream for Web Developers
Jani Tarvainen, Senior Developer Advocate
Edge computing has been a buzz word for some years, but like "the cloud" it'll take a while to become more commonplace. For those not familiar with the term, it's about performing computing tasks very close to the client. Close as in tens of kilometers, whereas an availability region of a cloud provider can be thousands of kilometers away, adding to the latency by a perceivable amount.
Most of the edge computing hype evolves around technologies like 5G, augmented reality and streaming gaming. For real-time activities the low latency is a must, but it is also essential for fluent web usage. The time it takes from an action to a reaction is an important part of any user experience. You can make a web app snappy, but if it relies on a network for data - it is only as fast as the response is. The edge is the ideal place to do simple computing tasks close to your visitor.
The problem of long distances and latencies is not new. For the web we've resorted to Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to deliver data from a point as close to you as possible. As the name implies, traditionally they've been delivering static assets. This is fast changing as pure CDN providers like Cloudflare are adding processing capabilities to their platforms. Entrenched cloud vendors are also integrating their FaaS (Function as a Service) offerings with their CDNs.
The key reason why I think adoption will pick up this year is that edge computing for the web is becoming accessible. For example, our cloud hosting solution, eZ Platform Cloud, is fully integrated with the Fastly CDN whose Compute@Edge technology is available in public beta.
This means that you can already start trialing customized A/B testing or hyperlocal content delivery today without a heavy upfront investment in infrastructure.
API-first Design and Scalability
André Rømcke, VP Technical Services and Support
With the move into 2020, we also step into a new decade, a decade that will bear the marks of, among other things, electrification, smarter devices, and new connected devices that have not been technologically and/or economically viable before. Main enablers will be greatly improved battery technologies, continued improved semiconductor processing, and a continued, drastic price drop for the net cost of renewable energy.
What does this mean for companies serving web-based applications? It means API-first design, and solutions that can scale becoming ever more important.
Luckily for us, at eZ, we have a continuous focus on this. For last year's eZ Platform 2.5 LTS release, besides improving our existing APIs and introducing GraphQL, we also worked with Symfony to greatly improve our cache performance and our ability to scale up.
And for 2020 besides PHP 7.4 and Symfony 5.0 providing better performance enabling you to serve more traffic with less, we shall be launching eZ Platform 3.0 aiming to make you more productive as well.
Greater Emphasis on Privacy and Trust
Roland Benedetti, Chief Product Officer
One of the big topics that is much more than just a buzz word and has been in the spotlight for the past few years, is the topic of privacy and trust. Unfortunately, our industry has to yet come up with any good answers on how to improve privacy in the digital world. Of course, there's the GDPR initiative which is very important and based on good intentions (and now the recently introduced California Consumer Privacy Act) but the way they are implemented into real solutions for enterprises to comply with these Directives can be deceptive and ineffective for the end user. Ultimately they are administrative and legalese answers which, when implemented, can add barriers and pain points for users of digital services.
So, I would not be surprised if we see some inventive solutions popping up to better establish trust between customers and vendors and to ensure privacy for consumers but also for businesses. Most likely it would be via niche solutions as the problem is too wide and I believe it cannot be addressed holistically and generically. The problem is not new, but the pain is still growing so that's why I really believe there is room for innovation to crack and disrupt the market here and now.
Solutions would have to focus on customer user experience, to ensure it doesn't add more complexity, rather that it makes digital experiences better and easier. It's clearly related to Customer Data Platforms (CDPs) and Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs) but it needs a new take on how to approach a solution. It can't be about just building data warehouses with a lot of grants and permissions and connectors to them…it must tackle the problem of identity in a different way. Perhaps blockchain technology will have a role to play.
Besides this, I think the market will realize it needs better solutions to provide insights, audits and analytics on their content operations and content history, again, this is not a new subject, but in all likelihood the demand for it will accelerate in 2020. Until now, this kind of capabilities have been seriously neglected by content technology vendors.
Talk to us about how we can help you with your digital experience projects and make them a reality.