Microservices, API and Machine Learning, AI: Automation Post COVID-19 World

Author: Pritam Prakash

Enterprise IT systems were already at a great pace to change their dynamics in the rapidly moving world, unaware of the fact that they would soon have to gear up twice the pace of their movement. It can be forecasted that our current situation may get worse before it gets better, we simply aren’t sure. As a result, many businesses – mostly those classified as non-essential – may vanish due to the rapid industry transformation of COVID-19. However, the IT sector has definitely supported and prepared a lot of businesses, buffering them from a period of serious disruption. Information Technology is again in such a state where it is evolving worldwide and is ready to take on its new role in the era post COVID-19. 

Business disruptions, dampened customer demand, ambiguity on expanding business are not the areas where Silicon Valley actually has to worry, but instead, at the change businesses would be looking for in the near future. More than likely, smaller businesses will lean towards joining hands with larger firms. There will also be new technology choices and new spending choices by consumers. 

“Go faster as we are still not ready for the next pandemic”

Besides banks, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, and essential commodities, one of the only relatively unscathed industries is IT. Now, this does not go to say IT has not been impacted in any way, it has. But, in comparing the effects of this pandemic on IT versus areas such as supply-chain, automotive, travel and transportation, real estate etc. the latter half are breaking down, dissolving under the grasp of a new reality. A new sense of consumerism. 

But has it ever been possible to go faster without breaking or changing *some* things?

Below is the data by which we come to see that most industries have been hit hard; whether resulting in a hiring freeze, furloughed employees, or complete closure of the business. With the hiring and layoffs we can derive the supply and demand in these fields in the upcoming months. If you see, it is clear from the picture that businesses who recognize and involve effective automation strategies have been able to survive in the crisis. While we understand some sectors can not implement automation completely, ‘necessity is the mother of all inventions’ rings true during the COVID-19 era.

APIs, microservices, Machine learning, and AI is going to play the protagonist role in the IT landscape post-COVID-19. APIs and microservices have played, in my mind, the most important role in our recent past, increasing revenue and ramping up business processes.

APIs and microservices have the ability to phase up businesses quickly, and adaptability to APIs and microservices will serve to roll out quick solutions to market. There is a reason I am insisting on adapting API and microservices. The reason being, in a situational crisis similar to our current environment, you can and should have options to roll out different businesses and services as needed by the market. The effectiveness, therefore, depends on how fast the solution can be implemented and rolled out in a GTM strategy. Below, I’ve included a few internet ventures as seen by various organizations across India.

  1. Zomato has commenced grocery deliveries in 80 cities. 
  2. Future Group’s BigBazaar has tied up with Rapido and Scootsy for home deliveries.
  3. Swiggy has tied up with Marico and retail chain Vishal Mega Mart. 
  4. ITC Foods has tied up with Domino’s Pizza to ensure home delivery of essentials.
  5. Bike-taxi aggregator Rapido has joined hands with Big Basket, Big Bazaar and Spencer’s Retail for last-mile deliveries. *

Prior to COVID-19, APIs and microservices were seen as a revenue stream for the brand business. Big brands have generated enormous revenue by selling their APIs. While machine learning and AI have not come out clearly into the bigger picture, both APIs and machine learning are evolving. I have observed that the API world is experiencing a shift, with benign programmatic API calls generated by algorithms or machine intelligence taking on more prominent roles in digital ecosystems and experiences. This shift is driven by several trends that open new dimensions for how enterprises leverage APIs and expand existing ones. If you are aware of machine learning APIs like Amazon machine learning API, Tensorflow API, Google Cloud API, Prediction IO or Microsoft Text Analysis API, etc. then you may be aware of how these models can maintain the business stability in the COVID-19 (or other similar) scenario. 

Consequently, we expect to see API-driven AI in which one team, or business, builds an excellent API model that other firms/teams leverage. I am expecting developers and businesses to develop their own business AI models, who may then develop their own AI models for other teams to leverage. As an example of this hypothesis, recently we saw how a drone in the pandemic hit areas with SARSCoV2 uses an object-detection model for food distribution maintaining the social distancing. A greater example would be maintaining the supply chain through driverless cars during pandemics. Would we have been worried if robots took care of COVID-19 patients?

It can be conferred that APIs/Microservices and AI are to be adopted as soon as we are out again. It has a greater role to play than it is thought to be. So, embrace the machines. Acknowledge the fact that ‘robots’ are our new partners in the API and microservices world. The path forward will include pitfalls and obstacles, but with smarter machines and smarter humans working together, the future is bright. Act now and inject DUMB with intelligence. 

(Image source:Google)

Do write in the comment box below on how you think the landscape will change in and out post COVID-19. You can also suggest ideas for a better tomorrow. 

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