Do you know the App Internet? It knows you.

The App Internet is an emerging trend that will allow organizations to deliver more value to citizens, customers and business partners, according to an analyst with Forrester Research.

What is the App Internet?

“The App Internet is the combination of cloud services and smart devices delivering a tailored, superior experience by context-aware apps,” Mike Gilpin, vice president of application development and delivery solutions with Forrester Research, told an audience of federal enterprise architects.

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“The application knows who you are, where you are and what you are doing and is able deliver you a better experience because of the capability of the device on which it is running,” Gilpin said during a luncheon keynote at 1105 Media’s Enterprise Architecture Conference in Vienna, Va., Nov. 8. 1105 Media is the parent company of Government Computer News.

The App Internet, Big Data, the Open Web and mobile development were some of the intertwining trends that government agencies should be aware of, Gilpin noted

The App Internet is not just a thin client exposing the World Wide Web in a conventional sense, as Web browsers have done historically. However,  you can with "rich client technology through the browser deliver an 'app-like' experience using conventional Web architecture, especially with HTML5,” he said.

Another difference from thin-client computing is that content can be consumed while a user is off-line. Plus, the App Internet is not just about hand-held devices. Its focus is the all-pervasive Internet, including the smart grid, and instrumentation with equipment like Caterpillar tractors or aircraft and automobiles.

Helping to drive this movement to the App Internet is the Open Web. There is a shift in how organizations are delivering application programming interfaces that can be used by the public or partner organizations. APIs are being delivered as platforms now and, in turn, are being used in ways organizations publishing them could not imagine.

Consider the iPhone app that tells you when the next metro train will arrive in the station. That app wasn’t’ created by the metro authority. It was exposed as an API and another organization built the application, Gilpin noted.

Financial institutions, insurance companies, government agencies and credit card processing companies working with Forrester are adopting an approach similar to the open-source community to expose Open-Web, API-based platforms to developers within their communities.

APIs no long refer to the Word Wide Web Consortium’s standardized APIs. In the past, software value on the Internet was delivered on Java or Microsoft’s .Net platforms, which were used to build connections to systems of record on the back end. Now, there are polyglots of language types for Open Web development that make it easier to take advantage of APIs exposed by organizations. APIs now are more interactive and enable business processes to be used more effectively by citizens, customers and employees, Gilpin noted.

A case in point is National Public Radio, which exposed APIs to member stations so they could participate with NPR in delivering additional content to listeners via Web, mobile devices or iPad applications. As NPR officials continued to expose APIs, they realized that their member stations were developing additional capabilities that those in NPR headquarters had not envisioned. So NPR officials created a bi-directional innovation connection so they and other stations could capitalize on innovated applications.

Gilpin advised the audience of enterprise architects to begin to use the Open Web and establish a strategy for the App Internet and mobile development. Also, they should harness the cloud for more speed and elasticity in getting new workloads to market.

About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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