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Salesforce Thunder, Lightning and Wave show new app economy at work

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Salesforce’s Internet of Things Cloud service and an upgrade to its Wave Analytics service are significant developments because they take part in a broader trend of action-orientated apps, according to two of its leading spokespeople.

Chief operating officer Andrew Gross runs the supplier’s platform as a service, Heroku. He was the co-founder and CEO of, which was acquired by Salesforce in 2013.

At Dreamforce 2015,’s Adam Gross and Stephanie Buscemi discuss the internet of things app economy and action-orientated business intelligence apps

At Salesforce’s 2015 Dreamforce event in San Francisco, Gross explained the import of Salesforce’s most recent technical developments with respect to the trend, exemplified by car ride hiring company Uber, of “refashioning the customer experience” through apps that are event driven – pushed out rather than pulled.

He invoked a near-future scenario of checking into a hotel, whereby rather than having to check in at a desk, a beacon will detect your arrival and send a digital key to your smartphone. You won’t have to telephone for room service. Instead you’ll press an app button, and food will be delivered within 15 minutes from the hotel or, more likely, its environs.

The technology to make this sort of customer interaction work takes the form, in Salesforce’s world, of Thunder and Lightning. Thunder is, according to Gross, the underlying real-time event processing engine behind Lightning, which is an app development console used by business professionals among the supplier’s customers.

“We provide tools for developers, under the hood. Some of that is based on open-source software, like Kafka and Redis, and some of our own proprietary technology. And it all runs on Heroku,” he said.

“The next phase [of customer relationship management] is to think not of what CRM [customer relationship management] used to mean – you call the support centre or send an email. The next phase turns on the phenomenon of you as a consumer generating a torrent of data. This means we need a new data architecture, a new programming model and new applications to support what connecting to your customers means now.

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