What Are The Opportunities in BaaS?04 May 2013
API Evangelist doesn't focus on market or investment opportunities. I keep an eye out for product and innovation opportunities, which are a much different beast. These represent places where there are gaps in the delivery of API driven resources that developers will need to deliver the generation of not just apps, but compute.
There are numerous opportunities for innovation within the umbrella that is being defined as BaaS in the areas that are obvious and fast growing in market spaces.
- Mobile - We are 2-3 years into the solid growth of the mobile smartphone market. This is nothing new. But with the adoption rate, the hype and the potential within emerging markets, we can ignore the opportunity within the mobile sphere. As the demand for mobile apps grow, the demand for efficiencies in mobile app development will grow exponentially. If a business can efficiently go to market with steady flow of high quality apps designed for web, mobile and a wide variety of mobile platforms, it will succeed in the current space
- Tablets - Tablets are displacing the desktop, and even laptop computers. The world of developing apps for mobile is rapidly morphing into a blurry world of hundreds of different devices from iOS to Android. There is a lot of potential for delivering BaaS platforms that focus specifically on the needs of emerging tablet devices across manufacturers
- Readers -Devices are blurring the lines between phone, tablet and dumb terminals. Across the publishing industry, from providers like Amazon and Barnes & Nobles, we are seeing reader devices like the Kindle and Nook. As we see publishing applications like Flipboard and Zite find an audience we will see a growth in demand for backend services that support reader and other consumption focused devices
- Niche - Most BaaS providers are about delivering a general purpose stack of resources, allowing developers to design, develop and deploy apps across any business sector. Among the current pool of BaaS providers there are already the emergence of niche or specialty platforms in the area of gaming, e-commerce and advertising. There is a lot of opportunity to deliver BaaS platforms that deliver specialized area such as education, finance, government or beyond.
- Transport - Technology is penetrating every aspect of our daily lives. Automobiles are becoming a platform for digital deliver, with auto companies like Ford and GM getting into the API game. BaaS is a universal backend platform that can be tailored to any implementation. Our vehicles will have very different requirements if we are a soccer mom or a fleet of delivery vehicles in NYC. Lots of opportunities to understand the world of BaaS in the service of transportation.
- Internet of Things - The Internet of Things is the catch all bucket for "everything else" in the world of Internet enabled devices. We put everything from quantified self and 3D printing to smart grid technology into the Internet of Things bucket. This is the biggest, yet to be fully explored opportunity in BaaS. With the special needs of the power grid or public water supply it only makes sense there would be backends dedicated to each sector. This leaves a whole world of opportunity and speculation within the Internet of Things.
When it comes to delivering a precise, meaningful backend that drives technology, there will be unlimited opportunities for new platforms. When you view BaaS as a relevant stack of valuable API resources, bundled with a sensible business model, the model can be applied into many business sectors.
Beyond just mobile, tablets, readers and niche opportunity, once the world of Internet of Things expands, the opportunity for BaaS to connect our physical worlds to our virtual worlds will be unlimited.