Our CEO Lev Bannov on IT trends for 2020/2021 and future of ONLYOFFICE project

16 December 2020 By Nadya 2 873

We asked Lev Bannov, the founder of ONLYOFFICE, to share his thoughts on important IT trends of 2020 and explain how they influenced the project.

Our CEO Lev Bannov on IT trends for 2020/2021 and future of ONLYOFFICE project

How 2020 changed IT?

This is obvious: it sped up the transition to remote work. Of course, the world was moving in that direction anyway, but the pandemic added momentum to it. In the first place, it applies to videoconferencing and other online communication tools.

Another trend no one can ignore is security. You can’t just move your work or your studies to the cloud without making sure all the sensitive data is kept safe.

Simplicity is one more thing to be taken into consideration. With the speed the switch to cloud tools gained, people need to be able to start working right away, so the solutions with a clear minimalistic interface will definitely win.

Did any breakthrough technologies appear?

I think breakthrough technologies are those that change our life, or from the business point of view, that shape economic systems. For instance, Airbnb, Amazon, and other innovators created not only businesses but the new perspective division of labor.

I am more inclined to think that some technologies will be reborn soon, for example, blockchain. I follow Ethereum 2.0 and Polkadot closely because I hope to soon be able to use it for ONLYOFFICE.

With Ethereum 1.0, it is way too expensive to store documents and even digital signatures in blockchain because the transactions are worth a fortune. But the new generation of blockchain technologies is likely to give us a way to transfer loads of operations with documents to the digital form, and that will change the work with documents forever. In a nutshell, we consider implementing blockchain for document authenticity validation.

Another interesting technology that we are looking at is artificial intelligence (AI). We hope to start working on implementing it in 2021. In theory, AI can exclude human participation from various operations with documents.

What trends will continue to develop in 2021?

All the trends I named earlier — AI, security, blockchain — will definitely be developing in 2021. For example, Ethereum 2.0 creators have understood their past mistakes (I mean expensive transactions), so I believe they’ll fix that soon.

I’m also ready to predict that people will be choosing cloud software and rejecting tools that aren’t available in the cloud. I think it’s only natural.

How 2020 changed ONLYOFFICE?

We see now how fast the world and technologies are evolving. Previously, we wanted to create our own tools for everything, but now we are focusing on the editors and documents more and relying on integrations when it comes to non-core functionality, like videoconferencing, instant messaging, and so on. We even created a new department for integrations.

What’s your vision of the project’s future? Are you leaving some technologies behind? Are you adopting some?

We are abandoning Mono soon. We used it to bring our software to Linux, but for years and years, it has been an infinite source of problems for us. Now we are working on a platform with a different architecture. It’s called App Server, and we have chosen .NET Core for it. We will never use technologies that are not cross-platform again!

As for the editors’ functionality, we don’t keep it secret that we add the same features as Microsoft to bring maximum format compatibility our users need. But we don’t just copy what already exists, we have our own ideas to add. The most important one is the ultimate security. We’ve just introduced our Private Virtual Data Room feature for encrypted real-time collaboration on docs, but that’s not everything we have in mind. This feature will be enhanced, you’ll see. And we want to bring it to other platforms our editors are integrated with.

Another thing we want to add to our editors is advanced work with forms. I don’t mean it like Google Forms to create polls and surveys, I mean it more like Adobe forms to create high-quality documents online.

Earlier, I mentioned integrations that are also part of our plan. We know that many people are already used to certain tools, for example, cloud storages. We aren’t going to convince them to switch to our platform. Instead, we’ll bring the editors to their familiar platforms. Now we are working on integrating with Box and Dropbox.

Do you have plans to return to blockchain?

Certainly. But not until the technology is stable and efficient in terms of resources to securely store document copies and digital signatures in the blockchain. We hope that it will be possible in 2021.

Comments (2)
  1. mikhailnov - Reply
    December 23, 2020 at 12:14 am

    > we have chosen .NET Core for it. We will never use technologies that are not cross-platform again!

    …and then you will want to port to e2k 🙂

  2. Dionisio - Reply
    December 23, 2020 at 12:14 am

    I really think they are doing a great job with Onlyoffice and I want to be very optimistic thinking that at least 80% of the users can use Onlyoffice to do 100%

    On the other hand, the use of Blockchain for this type of services seems to me a very visionary and accurate position knowing which with the problems that for example affect the performance and cost of Etherum. I am very happy to know that visionary people are at the forefront of companies with great potential. My best regards, we will try to work on your product as much as possible.

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