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Software-intensive systems set to dominate the computer market

A report drafted by the Spanish Software and Services Technology Platform (INES) suggests that software-intensive systems are set to dominate the computer market, as these systems have become the cornerstone of Europe’s most competitive industries and the engine of its economic growth.

04.03.2009. Over the last ten years there has been an explosion of software-intensive systems. In a communiqué, the UPM’s School of Computing quotes the “Services-oriented software technologies” report, claiming that software-intensive systems are now at the heart of a wide range of products and services. This report was drafted by the madri+d system’s ICT Innovation Circle (CITIC) on behalf of the Spanish Software and Services Technology Platform (INES).

Software-intensive systems constitute a new software development paradigm combining global computing systems, like the Internet or software services, with emerging embedded systems technologies (EST), adds the report, stressing that these systems are the cornerstone of Europe’s most competitive industries and the engine of its economic growth.

For the report’s authors, coordinated by Prof. Juan José Moreno Navarro of the UPM’s School of Computing, “the software industry’s technological evolution opens up new scenarios bringing with it new opportunities, ranging from the generation of wealth to new approaches for providing social and government services”. In actual fact, not only has the sale of services become IT’s biggest business and the engine of change of the sector’s economic model, but it is also influencing the Information Society as a whole.

The report highlights the shift away from the Internet being considered an infrastructure connecting computers for transactional purposes and towards a technological platform (Web 2.0 platform) enabling businesses to interact with each other and with their clients more collaboratively and efficiently, as well as offering new opportunities for business, application and infrastructure services.

Opportunities and risks

Even so, we are now only just beginning to see the potential of this relationship, and the early results augur a wide range of possibilities expected to revolutionize the whole services world. Conversely, the report warns, the software and services sector opportunities are not without risks. These risks are, at the same time, business opportunities.

In this respect the report criticizes the current state of software development as being far from satisfactory. In contrast to the other products’ warranties and specifications, we are used to receiving software with an exemption clause releasing suppliers from any kind of future responsibility for the product.

It is this state of affairs, concludes the report, that has led sector players to set up scientific and technological cooperation networks in the shape of Technology Platforms (TPs). These TPs include Europe’s 700-member strong NESSI and, at the national level, the Spanish Software and Services Initiative (INES).

According to UPM School of Computing professor, Manuel Carro, INES’ goals take in defining a work schedule or strategic research agenda, creating a critical mass for technology generation and transfer, and coordinating partnership and leadership efforts within the 7th Framework programme.

Thanks to its influence, its strategic research agenda, its activities and projects, including technology surveillance reports such as the recently issued report on services-oriented software technologies or the GreenIT report drafted by CITIC on behalf of INES and due later this year, INES, with around 130 members, is a beacon to both Spain and Europe.