Mediacurrent’s commitment to innovation has been clear since our founding ten years ago. From helping spearhead the Atlanta Drupal community in our early days, to architecting the world’s highest-trafficked Drupal site, to building and open sourcing a Drupal 8 theme generator, Mediacurrent has lived up to its pledge to give team members internal time to work on their own initiatives, and to give back to the wider open source community in diverse and innovative ways. The choice to create a new Labs department and a Director of Emerging Technology role flows from that commitment, but also aims to go further. So what will these changes entail, and how will they help ensure the success of our clients and of Drupal?
More and more, we are finding that staying on the cutting edge of building with Drupal means also keeping up with where non-Drupal technologies are heading. Our clients are increasingly moving from traditional websites, through mobile-first thinking, and towards truly multi-channel technology experiences. Our ability to serve their needs as an agency, and Drupal’s ability to serve their needs as a piece of software, requires new ways of thinking and growing. Mediacurrent Labs is a formalization of our commitment to doing just that.
What does all this mean in practice? First and foremost, it means encouraging experimentation with new technologies within Mediacurrent, and contributing the lessons learned (and hopefully some useful tools as well) back to the open source community. The work I’ve been doing on Contenta Angular falls nicely into this category, as does our recently featured work on blockchains, Alexa skills and TypeScript integrations with Drupal behaviors. When these things are driven by a client’s needs, we also explore how we can generalize what we’ve learned and apply it elsewhere; perhaps by building tools to make the process simpler next time, or by documenting publicly our best practices. And when we’re excited about a new technology’s possibilities but don’t have a specific client asking for integration (yet), we can use internal proof-of-concepts to educate ourselves, then share what we learn with the world.
This is just a taste of what we are setting out to achieve. As we consider Labs projects in the coming months we want to hear about the emerging technologies you are interested in. Should we be exploring virtual reality or augmented reality integrations with Drupal? Maybe Drupal-backed IoT beacons are the next big thing? Or is there a good chance that blockchain technology will completely upend the way we think about Drupal today? We don’t have all those answers, but we are committed to exploring the questions collaboratively with our clients and community.