Interconnected Systems – the cross-domain megatrend for software and systems – will be the challenge in future software engineering. USPs will increasingly be generated by interconnecting one’s own software with other systems. To achieve this, a change of paradigms is going to take place: from monolithic single systems to open, interconnected, scalable, and service-oriented Software Ecosystems.
So far, three different system classes can be characterized today: Information Systems, Embedded Systems, and Mobile Apps. These system classes are continually evolving. In the area of Information Systems, Emergent Enterprise Software Systems are the next phase of the evolution towards the Internet of Services. Interconnected Embedded Systems, on the other hand, are becoming Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and will finally lead to the Internet of Things. In both system classes, Mobile Apps are also being increasingly integrated into business processes today.
So-called Smart Ecosystems represent the mid-term evolutionary phase. They form a bridge between the Information Systems domain and the Embedded Systems domain. Smart Ecosystems connect Emergent Systems and CPS into a single ecosystem, in which the Internet of Services, Things, and Data merge with each other, thus resulting in cross-organizational innovative solutions. Business processes and technical processes are equally valuable and impact each other mutually in order to achieve optimization from global perspectives. As an extension of the classical Software Ecosystem, the Smart Ecosystem also integrates non-trivial Information Systems and non-trivial Embedded Systems. They function as one unit, which dynamically uses context-dependent information to achieve common higher-level goals (which no single system would be able to achieve on its own).
In the research area “Smart Ecosystems”, Fraunhofer IESE deals with the challenges for Software Engineering resulting from the integration of Information Systems and Embedded Systems. Our research unites these two system classes – and prevents the two worlds from colliding! Our goal is to develop a holistic approach for the Software Engineering of “Smart Ecosystems”.