A new sort of fabric is coming, or for some has come, into being; a digital or cyber fabric. There are going to be a number of types of digital fabric. The term is starting to be used to describe a digitally connected environment, owned by a specific stakeholder, and incorporating their digital devices and all manner of "Things". The key question for these stakeholders is who will be in control of this fabric. The race is on to attain that control, directly out of the hands of the owning stakeholders, often without their knowledge, and frequently without their considered decision.
Many enterprises are starting to understand the need to develop digital strategies. The outcome of an effective digital strategy is being referred to as Digital Mastery. Digital Mastery will not be possible without effective control of a stakeholder's digital fabric.
Digital Fabric is being and will be implemented at many levels, in many spaces from cities to countries; From offices, and laboratories to factory floors. From shopping centres to distribution centres. From individuals to the homes of their extended family. Digital Fabrics will be overlapping and interconnected, but most importantly they should be secure and easily controllable.
The resulting fabric(s) will have many labels, for example the fabric covering the offices, laboratories and factories of a company will likely be called Industrial Fabric. The challenge for fabric owning stakeholders, whether organisations or individuals, will be to achieve the appropriate control over a specific fabric designed and composed to meet their needs.
There is a group of organisations that understand the importance of building, connecting, and controlling these different digital fabrics.
Domestic or Home Fabric
Sadly for most organisations and individuals they have not experienced, nor do they understand the importance or value of a coherent well architected / designed digital fabric. Most are suffering from a patchwork approach to the development of their digital fabric. This is caused by component and device manufacturers or service providers bringing their own silo-based approach to the development of digital fabric.
An effective digital fabric can be said to be in place when all the relevant digital entities, and real entities which are connected to the fabric can achieve their desired outcomes securely, quickly, easily and at low transaction cost. Simply connecting your computers to a network, does not create a digital fabric.
Does your Digital Strategy specify the need to be in control of YOUR digital fabric?
Have you considered the importance and value of leaving your partners and customers in control of their digital fabrics?
How should these digital fabrics connect, you ask?
Well, that's where you have identified the need for an e-trust ecosystem.
And probably the most important thing you have realised is that you should be in control of all your things, both digital and real, that compose your digital fabric. Perhaps you have also started to think that all your real things should be represented by digital things. If so, you may be starting to understand the power and value of a digital fabric.
So start designing and building your digital fabric now! Perhaps more importantly should you help your customers implement theirs?
So, YOU can be in control of your Things, rather than others, and your customers can be in control of theirs.
As an aside I connected my Samsung TV to the internet again today, and despite my taking care to maintain control, Samsung again demonstrated that they think that it is their Thing, not mine. For despite skipping the software update step when I connected the TV to the web, just as I switched to viewing the TV, Samsung forced a software update on the device. Nor could I find a way to delete my Wifi password from the TV, once I had entered it. Worse they think that the idea of providing a "single-sign-on" service by capturing my facebook and email passwords is a secure one. Samsung are trying to force me onto "their" digital fabric. You may have spotted that Samsung are buying Smart Things for $200M, a move to extend their digital fabric into our homes? They are not the only one's who are aiming to own our digital fabrics, think Apple, Amazon, Google Microsoft et al
Finally what are the best types of fabrics, will they be open, or closed, perimeterised or deperimeterised, internal or external. Perhaps it is best you decide before you build yours!