Salesforce.com has released a new development platform called Salesforce1, that it describes as its "next-generation social, mobile and cloud customer platform." Unveiled at the company's DreamForce conference taking place this week in San Francisco, the new platform provides tools to help third-party developers produce Salesforce-oriented apps that are easily adaptable for use on different computer systems and mobile devices.
The new platform provides more data/user interface APIs (application programming interfaces) for mobile, cloud and Web development than Salesforce's existing Force.com platform, and could boost the company into a pivotal position between business software, customers and Internet-equipped physical products and tools.
Salesforce1 allows any application that presently uses the company's Application Exchange -- which already has more than 2,000 apps -- to be readily converted to run on virtually any device, including mobile as well as desktop. In one swoop, this release provides tools to make mobile-ready the older products built by third parties, as well as the company's own apps.
'Our Flagship Mobile App'
Kendall Collins, Salesforce.com's executive vice president for products, told news media that Salesforce1 "is now our flagship mobile app." But Salesforce1 is also designed to assist developers in building any type of app, including ones that are administrative, custom or wearable.
Some Salesforce-watchers have suggested that the new platform will, over time, replace the company's mobile versions of its software, and that it essentially wraps around the company's many services and acquisitions. Mike Rosenbaum, a Salesforce executive vice president, told The New York Times that Salesforce1 handles "packaging, identity, scale, all of it" for turning legacy apps into mobile ones by revamping them for the particular needs of a given screen or device.
He also said that his company has set a goal of third-party software products that communicate with this platform, with incentives for customers to do so, enabling the software makers to gain better insight into how their products are being used. Third-party software makers, such as note-taking software provider Evernote or sharing/storing service Dropbox, will be able to use the platform for better integration with Salesforce services.
Connecting to Things
The company said all its customers will automatically be upgraded to the new platform, which includes a host of new application development tools.
But this is Salesforce, so the sky is the limit for its vision. By integrating applications like Dropbox into Salesforce 1, such applications can then communicate with new phases of the Internet, such as the sensors-in-everything new world that is being called the Internet of Things.
This could position the company as a crucial link in the world of business, if third-party software developers use it as the great connection platform between mobile apps and, say, inexpensive transmitters in physical products, tracking sensors in physical stores, analytical tools that tap into various pools of data, or sensors that spot problems on the factory floor. Cisco, for example, projects that there will be over 50 billion connected things by 2020.