In the past decade, mobile device companies underwent an important transition that offered insight into a trend for test and measurement: the power of the software-centric ecosystem.
By exposing an appropriate level of customization to users or third-party developers, companies like Apple and Google succeeded in changing the way consumers used their mobile phones. In test and measurement, communities of developers and integrators, building on standard software platforms, are using commercial off-the-shelf technology to extend the functionality of complex hardware into applications previously impossible.
Today’s best platforms are effective because they’ve fostered an ecosystem. LabVIEW is a perfect example of this -- trained developers creating add-ons, commercialized through vehicles like the LabVIEW Tools Network, and partners working to deploy the ecosystem. With every additional supplier, producer, competitor, or other stakeholder, the value of the software to each user grows.
As software vendors take greater advantage of their ecosystems and leverage commercialization models for third-party IP, the scenario that unfolded for mobile devices will have a transformative effect on our industry as well.
Our co-founder, Dr. James Truchard, reminds us that team-based development, code sharing, and community support soon will no longer be novel. They'll be expected.