We Are in the Middle of a Platform Revolution

I was  not aware until recently that there are well over 450 providers of Platforms, all offering solutions, presently giving a very fragmenting market. Collaborators be aware!

There some substantial “biggies” that are covering the consumer market (social media ones such as Facebook) and business ones, where the growth in platforms will grow. If you break down the platform market into manufacturing, smart cities, energy, mobility, health, supply chain, retail, public services and many others, the use of IoT platforms are catching up with the consumer side.

One real growth area is the platform startup where funding seems to be strong. Cisco investments are backing a number as well as many others, seeing growing potential.

Amazon through its AWS is a clear standout for providing the platform-as-a-service. Everywhere you look today,everything is moving into a platform.

A useful report summarizing the present situation

This report is from IoT analytics.com. Just realize the growing platforms that are forming within business, tapping into the industrial and manufacturing need of connecting man and machine as shown below


So, yes we are in the middle of this Platform Revolution

I recently read this and it’s worthy to share it here as it does work really well for me on explaining platforms in a fairly concise way. It’s by ING, Office for Experience Design 2016 being under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. The full set of their insights does a good job of discussing not just platforms, the network effect but ties these back into ecosystem thinking – again a good read and reference.

The role of the platform is the creation of these connections. To this end, the platform facilitates an accessible, scalable and efficient network of users, services, devices, and intermediaries to make the value exchanges happen. It is over this network that value is created, distributed, discovered and consumed. The complementary aspects of platform and network are key to any platform ecosystem business model.

Users of the platform may be consumers, producers or a combination of both at times. Whatever their role, they connect and interact with each other over the network using the facilities provided by the platform. Depending on the nature of the business model, participants may or may not be required to connect explicitly. Social networks often require explicit connections, whereas marketplaces do not but match buyers and sellers on a case by case basis. Users of a personal finances platform may not connect at all but still benefit by being benchmarked against comparable users.

The platform consists of core technologies, shared tools and services, and rules and standards that enable producers to create and share at scale with sufficiently low costs of distribution and transaction. It provides a set of interfaces for the participants of the network to communicate, interact and interoperate within the ecosystem.

This definition sits well with the generally accepted notion of “platform” as a product or technology that allows complementary, modular components be built on top of it. Well-known cases are product platforms (like VW’s MQB), industry platforms (like Intel’s x86 architecture) and cloud computing platforms (like Amazon Web Services).

Platform ecosystems often use the latter kind of platform. The platform’s job is to support the network comparably efficiently. This is not an unimportant task, but it just does not differentiate ecosystems in their evolutionary battles to the same degree as the networks does

We also need to recognize the 9 types of software platforms

In a great article by Platform Hunt, they identify and track the 9 types of software platforms. Let me just quote a small part of this article:

All platforms are not created equal. Google Search, Facebook, Amazon Web Services, Amazon Marketplace, Android, Uber, Airbnb, Waze, WeWork, Twilio and even Bitcoin are all platforms. At the same time, these platforms are very different in how they create network effects, interactions they enable, approaches to solving “chicken and egg” problems (do you build the demand side first or the supply side?), openness levels, growth dynamics, subsidies, competitive strategies and monetization methods.

Building a successful platform is more about making the right trade-offs than it is about best technology. To understand these tradeoffs you must have a good grasp on what kind of platform you are building. We decided to help platform entrepreneurs understand these tradeoffs, find their role models and learn from numerous examples of other platforms.

We took a data-driven approach and analyzed 170+ platform businesses created by Internet giants, traditional companies, and startups. Several iterations of the data produced nine distinct platform types that we introduce in this post:

  1. Technology Platforms
  2. Computing Platforms
  3. Utility Platforms
  4. Interaction Networks
  5. Marketplaces
  6. On-demand Service Platforms
  7. Content Crowdsourcing Platforms
  8. Data Harvesting Platforms
  9. Content Distribution Platforms

Platform Hunt is an open initiative aimed to help entrepreneurs build successful platform businesses. The list of 170+ (and growing) platform examples is open and is stored in a public Trello board at data.platform-hunt.com.”

Summing up where platforms sit in our present and future thinking, or should be as part of yours.

What I wanted to do in this post is draw out this need to explore and relate to platforms as they are evolving at rapid rates, and I would encourage those of you who are interested to explore this. In this posting site you have a growing reference point to build your undertstanding, so please explore it.

Each platform has unique characteristics with a central effect being the presence and need for building the network effect. The more users engaged the more increasingly dynamic it gets, offering a self-reinforcing cycle of growth. Platforms as they are today, digital in nature, capture, transmit and monetize data and connect this to the physical world.

Many platforms are transactional ones (Uber, Google, eBay) but the ones that really hold my growing interest are innovation platforms, such that provide the technological building blocks for collaborators to come together and use this as the foundation to exchange and build increasing value as they form the innovation ecosystem, that expands our innovation potential in new ways.

It is building these complementary technologies, services, and products that need to appeal to the customer. They connect and then provide the potential for greater seamless customer experiences. The push is combining transactional platforms with innovation platforms to give a more integrated platform design that does offer a ‘greater solution complexity but more aimed at aligning the integrated experience customers are looking for.


** this was part of a post I provided and was published on the Hype Innovation Blog recently but updated due to recent developments and changes within the platform domain in recent months

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