Why 2019 will be the breakthrough year for AI-assisted application development

Nick Ford is chief technology evangelist at Mendix.

Artificial intelligence is no longer a technology for the future. In many ways AI is already shaping our everyday lives. From consumers interacting with virtual assistance chatbots online to predictive analytics helping hospitals anticipate and prepare for spikes in patient demand, AI is already making its mark.

No matter size or industry, a strong business case for incorporating AI exists for every single organisation. However, what’s quickly becoming apparent is the potential limitation being placed on the technology’s effectiveness by the capacity of the IT team to develop new applications at the speed and scale required by many businesses.

According to Gartner, by 2021 the demand for application development will grow at least five times faster than the capacity of IT to deliver it.

However, what’s also unique to AI is the technology’s ability to not only be the end benefit but part of the solution to this problem as well. By applying AI in the right way to make the software application development process more effective and efficient, 2019 could truly be the year that AI comes to the fore in disrupting the entire application development process.

Introducing AI-assisted development

Using low-code platforms to take a visual approach to application development was the first major innovation in how forward-thinking organisations built software. The next innovation is the introduction of AI-assisted development – in effect the equivalent of a world-class coach over looking every makers’ shoulder.

Gartner predicts that by 2022, at least 40% of new application development projects will have virtual AI co-developers on their team. In particular, AI is a natural fit with low-code due to the nature of abstracting from lower-level technology and using patterns to define the application domain, UI, and logic. These cloud-based services hold a magnitude of models in their repository, and anonymised models serve as the ultimate source for neural-network-based machine learning to guide developers when building applications – of use to both business domain experts building their first applications as well as seasoned professional developers.

Pair-programming development with AI can help in a number of ways. These include hands-on mentoring for new developers with AI-assisted next-step-suggestions, smart suggestions for application logic flows as well as the provision of consistency checks and quality oversight. In turn, this reduces the time and cost impact of functional and non-functional defects by preventing them before they happen.

Creating smarter applications

Organisations making steps to take advantage of pair-programming with AI today will be those that also reap the greatest rewards as emerging technologies, such as the IoT, become increasingly mainstream.

In a recent report from Accenture, it is projected that industrial IoT will result in a major transition for the IT workforce as digitisation is forecast to contribute between $10.6 trillion and $14.2 trillion to global GDP by 2030.

While even conservative predictions of IoT’s impact are mind-boggling, we should keep in mind that IoT ultimately is not about ‘things’. It’s about making sense of the sensor data ‘things’ provide in order to deliver new services and experiences. This is where Smart Applications reliant on AI come in. Using artificial intelligence, or machine learning, smart apps can combine all data – whether that’s IoT data, enterprise data or historical data – and analyse it to draw actionable insight for the user.

Developing smart applications via traditional means is unfortunately complex. Using low-code technologies however allows a broader group of people from across the business to build such applications at speed and with increased certainty in the outcome.

Ultimately, digitisation will wait for no-one, the benefits will be huge for the companies that succeed and life will be significantly harder for those that don’t. The next few years will see the winners sorted from the losers. To capitalise on change, businesses need to embrace new approaches incorporating the latest advances in technology that put an emphasis on collaboration between IT and the business. Importantly, AI can automate much of the legwork involved in the software development process.

https://www.iottechexpo.com/northamerica/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/all-events-dark-text.pngInterested in hearing industry leaders discuss subjects like this and sharing their use-cases? Attend the co-located IoT Tech Expo, Blockchain Expo, AI & Big Data Expo and Cyber Security & Cloud Expo World Series with upcoming events in Silicon Valley, London and Amsterdam and explore the future of enterprise technology.

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