What is MASA – and how can it give your business a disruptive edge?

Think Progress Team

Tuesday 9 May 2017

In the first of our disruptive tech series we look at how mesh app and service architecture (MASA) pulls together multiple services and microservices, creating a broad framework of connected APIs that users see in the form of one, joined-up application.

To appreciate what MASA is, you need to first understand the digital device mesh. As the sheer breadth of connected devices multiplies, people are able to access apps and services on items as diverse as tablets, wearable technology and even smart thermostats. MASA is becoming a disruptive force because this proliferation drives the need for these endpoints to be knitted together into a cohesive whole.

Mobile apps, web apps and, increasingly, internet of things (IOT) apps all link to this mesh of back-end services. Crucially, MASA ensures an optimised solution for a user no matter which device they access the application on, be it a laptop, car or even smart refrigerator. It also means that a user has a consistent experience as they switch between devices. To use a simple example, that could be accessing an online recipe via the screen on the smart refrigerator and then bringing it up on the screen in the car on the way to buy ingredients.

When things talk to one another

MASA is service-orientated architecture taken to the extreme: APIs are accessed at various levels and across multiple organisations. This is made possible by the ability to interpret massive volumes of data.

Take planning a long drive. You want to avoid traffic hot spots, figure out when the best time to travel is, assess the weather, stop at the nicest roadside cafe and pull up in the most convenient car park. You could trawl the internet for this information – or in a fraction of the time you could tap a few details into a journey planning app and get everything mapped out for you.

For that app to work, it needs to communicate with APIs in traffic applications, geographic information systems, weather apps and even data transmitted from other road users’ apps. That’s an example of MASA, and while the principles are already being rolled out, the scope is only going to get wider as more information becomes accessible. MASA means faster, collaborative, cloud-based technology. And it also means keeping up with the fast-changing needs of the people who will use it.

Why go with a MASA solution?

To support the ever-evolving digital device mesh, you need something that is scalable, agile, integrated and deployable in a cloud environment. Your developers need to adopt a DevOps mindset – if they aren’t already working that way – to combine development and operations, and enable ongoing, flexible support for MASA solutions. They need to re-evaluate traditional server-client systems and explore software containers as a means of supporting the development of microservice architecture. Finally, they need to be willing to engage with a steep learning curve to get to grips with building for MASA – and the opportunities it will unlock.

Look out the second post of our disruptive tech series: How to disrupt the disruptors.

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