April 6, 2017

Unmasking the secrets of the third platform

So What Exactly Is the Third Platform?

Well, that’s a good question! The term “third platform” sounds very mysterious and full of secrets. But it’s really not mysterious at all. It’s a cool term that simply describes today’s IT revolution and high-tech innovations that are unfolding right before our very eyes.

Mark Neistat, IT expert and blogger provides this explanation: “Simply stated, the third platform is the next phase of the IT revolution. The first platform was the mainframe computer. The second was personal computers (PC) that dominated the IT landscape from 1985 to 2005. The third platform is being built on mobile computing, social networking, cloud services, and big data analytics technologies.”

The Third Platform Is Taking Over the World

IDC, who has conducted extensive research on third platform innovation, says the third platform is the new core of IT market growth, and we are in the innovation stage. This innovation covers a lot of new ground, including mobility, cloud and how to handle all that data – and we are talking about a lot of data! On a daily basis, all of our social and mobile computing is creating mind-boggling amounts of data – terabits upon terabits of data.

More than half of all IT spending worldwide will be driven by the purchase of mobile devices like smartphones, tablets, and e-readers. Industry analysts state that 2015 was the the first year that more American consumers accessed the internet with mobile devices rather than PCs. And that trend is continuing upward to today.

So the times they are “a’ changing.” Whether it is for work or play, we are all accessing and manipulating vast quantities of information at the touch of our fingers and at flaming-fast speeds. This couldn’t have been done years ago on the first and second platforms.

Following are the three biggest areas that make up the third platform.

Social Networking

As a result of how far we’ve come since the first Apple iPhone, the growth of social networking has exploded to unprecedented levels all around the world. As an example, Instagram social media traffic grew by a mind-boggling 17,319% in 2012. And China’s Sina Weibo network (similar to Twitter) recently surpassed 400 million users – doubling its base in one year.

Social networking offers companies a myriad of new and effective ways to “touch” users and customers in real-time. We’ve never been able to do this before! We can now push out information and data trends faster than ever; address customer issues almost instantaneously; and, most important, make our businesses friendly and personal, which is great for creating positive impressions and lots of “Likes.”

Social networking also helps consumers make decisions on the technologies or products that they could potentially buy. For example, a vast number of people customarily visit YouTube to obtain product reviews or tutorials before they make their purchases. And if something breaks, you can – 9 times out of 10 – find a video that shows you how to fix it.

Social networking isn’t just for teenagers anymore. It is the new way of doing business.

Working Remote

The third platform is allowing employees to work from home now more than ever before. The rise of the remote worker has been made possible because of new IT technologies, such as Skype, Google Docs, social networking, online tools, webinars, conferencing, and more!

Dan Schawbel has this to say about our new mobile society created from the third platform: “Working from home is also a benefit that millennials, and other workers, are prioritizing over higher salaries because of their desire to integrate their work and life. In total, 30 million Americans work from home at least once each week, which will increase by 63% in the next five years. About 3 million Americans never go to an office, and 54% are happier working from home than in an office.”

The third platform has changed the tools that we use to do our jobs. Whereas before, we were tied to a desk in an office, a computer hooked to the wall, a fax machine for transmitting documents, and landlines for sales calls. Now, when employees work from home or remotely using their mobile devices, they are free to fulfill every aspect of their job without the traditional tools of yesteryear.

We are no longer locked in the past. It’s a new mobile world out there, and it’s changing and evolving every day at lightening speeds.

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Big Data

Big data is considered the wild card of the third platform. It is the general term for the voluminous amount of data created in our regular day-to-day life, and enterprises have the growing challenge of where to store it all.

In addition to storing all this data, the next biggest challenge is turning it into information that can be used and then securing it. Data is totally irrelevant if it isn’t organized, analyzed and protected.

Big data forces IT professionals to crunch disorganized information into something organized. But sometimes, because there is so much information, companies have a hard time turning all this data into something they can act upon. And having a data center big enough to handle this much data becomes an issue, too. Therefore, more and more companies are turning to the cloud for their data management needs.

TechTarget recently noted that big data can be a big problem for traditional IT systems; but, with cloud computing, big data sets can more easily be managed without monopolizing on-premises systems.

Once companies get a handle on all this valuable information, they can then start improving their business models and making their products and solutions more targeted and relevant to their consumers.

Arrow and the Third Platform – What’s Next?

The third platform provides solutions that are flexible, agile, quick to respond, accessible from multiple platforms and stored in the cloud. It is the next logical step in the IT evolution.

The third platform has the potential to increase your knowledge base and grow your business. And Arrow wants to help. We have big data, cloud and mobility experts that can guide you through our innovative third platform product and service options.

Call your Arrow sales associate today to learn more!