At the Defrag conference in Broomfield, Colo., this week, three themes came in the forefront: APIs, identity and data. The themes reflect the tenor of the times, which can be summed up in the turmoil at Microsoft this week: Microsoft President Steve Sinofsky left the company.

Steve Ballmer said the company needed someone to work across multiple product groups and integrate services to provide a unifying experience for customers. He seems to have recognized that perhaps it was not such a great idea to deprecate Ray Ozzie’s Mesh project. Its intent was to do what Ballmer is now setting out to do. At the time, it might have seemed like a good idea to protect the Windows flagship brand instead of developing Mesh, a data fabric that served as a platform for apps and services. Sinofsky won that battle and Ozzie left Microsoft. And that’s really too bad: it turns out Ozzie saw the future far better than Sinofsky or Ballmer.

Today, the reality of convergence is everybody’s issue. The market faces a future of complex, adaptive systems that is about connecting to the people, organizations and things in your life.

At Defrag today I spoke with Phil Windley, the founder of Kynext, a company that is helping to develop the concept of event-based interactions to automate our lives. Think of using connected systems to provide more intelligence to your actions. A calendar update, for instance, might trigger an intelligent agent that helps make travel plans. That might happen from a series of API calls and an identity service layer that knows who you are and your behavior based on the data it has analyzed about you.

Windley said the new reality is a combination of identity, programmability, data and context. He also adds connected things to the mix. What we will get from this is a different experience entirely. It’s a new age where identity will get wrapped with personal clouds and data stores that we will depend on in every aspect of our lives.

It almost goes without saying that a company needs APIs. Those APIs are changing the face of data. No longer does it make sense to lock it up. IT architectures are changing, and API management companies are offering different ways for the data to be made available.

But the most important factor may be how we identify ourselves. It’s critical if we really want to take full advantage of what the cloud offers in terms of connecting services and making event-based actions more relevant and applicable to the way we work and live.

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