My father sent me this striking article from Wired describing the strange unexplained connection among flocking starlings (called “murmurations”) that appear to be much more akin to physics than to biology:
Starling flocks, it turns out, are best described with equations of “critical transitions” — systems that are poised to tip, to be almost instantly and completely transformed, like metals becoming magnetized or liquid turning to gas. Each starling in a flock is connected to every other. When a flock turns in unison, it’s a phase transition.
This strikes me as an excellent metaphor for what organizations are seeking to achieve in their extended systems today. They want all their systems to act in unison, in much the same way that a murmuration of starlings behaves. They want to extend their senses through connected sensors and devices, and achieve immediate, coordinated response when an important business stimulus is recognized. And they want this response to be as automated as possible, using the best available information to formulate the best response.
The only way to achieve this is through integration, using the kind of next generation integration fabric that combines business events, business rules, business process management, ESB-style integration, and device connectivity. I’m seeing more and more examples of this level of integration across industries, and the business impact can be phenomenal. I think that 10 years from now, this type of murmuration of systems will be commonplace.