Welcome back to the first TABUpdates of 2017!

Inside, you will find a useful introductory primer on Mobile Backend as a Service, written by Architecture Owner Tim Gibson, and the second article in our series of use cases exploring Amazon's voice service, Alexa - this time, we're focused on transport and mobility. We also include a repost from Stephen Wilson, TAB's Head of Engineering, to help frame how you think about emerging tech in the year ahead.

Enjoy - and here's to a new year filled with more great tech stories and insight from Team TAB.

Daniel Joseph, The App Business


Voice UI and the future of mobility

In the second post of our series on the Amazon Echo and Alexa, Strategist Clara Monnet moves from personal banking to a high-level view of how Alexa can help all of us get more easily from A to B. You can listen in to some early prototypes that we have built around three key scenarios - journey planning, car sharing and the management of your vehicle. Clara also explores how Voice UI as a whole could transform mobility within modern cities.

And if you missed the first post in this series, focused on retail banking, you can read it here.

Clara Monnet | 4 minute read

A primer to Mobile Backend as a Service

Architecture Owner Tim Gibson provides a straight talking, go-to primer on Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS). He explains the role MBaaS plays in the technology stack, as well as the power and flexibility of this capability rich 'middleware'. Find out how MBaaS enables you to optimise legacy data and systems for a mobile-led world, and can help to future-proof your business.

Tim Gibson | 5 minute read

How to be ready for whatever is coming next

Today, there’s a mobile phone in every pocket, and the mobile development ecosystem is mature - but don’t mistake that for the idea that it’s also standing still. The pace of change and corresponding level of uncertainty has the potential to be confusing and potentially paralysing to the product and technology decisions that companies need to make today.

TAB's Head of Engineering, Stephen Wilson, takes a look at an established, useful tool - the Three Horizons Model - and examines how it can be used to help companies constantly refine and structure their thinking on emerging technology.

Stephen Wilson | 8 minute read


Cars as feature phones

Ben Evans takes a look at the similarities and parallels between feature-phones, and the feature-stuffed early smartphones of 2007. What does that have to do with your car? Well, starting at the beginning of the smartphone era, and ending with autonomous cars, Ben describes how automotive makers have an operating system problem - and why no interface is the best interface.

Ben Evans | 6 minute read

16 questions about self-driving cars

Frank Chen talks through the top 16 technology, business and social implication questions that a16z partners receive from incumbents and start-ups working on autonomous vehicles. A thought-provoking piece that highlights all the unknowns to consider when it comes to autonomous vehicles, and the possible solutions to some of these questions.

Andreessen horowitz | 30 minute video

Computers are learning to read emotion, and the business world can’t wait.

This weighty article dives into the life work of Egyptian machine learning pioneer, Rana el Kaliouby. Rana dreams of a world filled with emotionally responsive devices that read our feelings and react in a human way. Her facial expression algorithm is already used to test new TV pilots, predict voting preferences and help autistic patients understand social interaction. Fascinating stuff.

The New Yorker | 35 minute read

Alexa: Amazon's operating system

From Microsoft to Google, Facebook to Apple and onward to Amazon, Ben Thompson looks at the different operating systems and business models of each tech giant, explaining their failures and their successes. The conclusion? Owning the operating system is the way to win.

Ben Thompson | 10 minute read

How voice technology is transforming computing

The Economist discusses the power of Voice UI, with its ability to provide the most natural means of interaction with technology. They argue that this points to a shift that will transform computing entirely, as we begin to use touch interfaces less and less in our day-to-day lives.

The Economist | 5 minute read


Join the team

We are always on the lookout for top talent - and maybe that's you. If you like the idea of working in a fast-paced, industry-leading technology company, take a look below at the key open roles below and head over to our careers page to apply.