Why Service Virtualization? It’s a small world, after all.

It’s no longer good enough that apps work, nor even that they work well. Today, it’s equally important that apps work with each other.

To see what I mean, consider Disney’s $1 billion bet on a magical wristband.

The Disney MagicBand was designed to eliminate as many “friction points” as possible for visitors to Walt Disney World. With MagicBand — a rubber bracelet with an embedded RFID chip — your luggage follows you from the airport, you don’t need a wallet and all your favorite rides are expecting you. When you visit a restaurant, the hostess welcomes you by name, you pick any seat you like and your food knows where to find you.

But the MagicBand isn’t magic. It’s layer upon layer of technology.

Here’s how Wired’s Cliff Kuang put it:

For Disney, the MagicBands, the thousands of sensors they talk with, and the 100 systems linked together to create MyMagicPlus turn the park into a giant computer—streaming real-time data about where guests are, what they’re doing, and what they want. It’s designed to anticipate your desires.

What Kuang described is an apt definition for what the Internet of Things (IoT): Systems linked together to create a giant computer that anticipates our needs and desires.

Some other examples:

  • Myriad systems within new cars that do everything from serving up entertainment and warming your seats to communicating with other vehicles and even sensors embedded along streets.
  • “Gyms of the future” where wearable technology — in your shoes, on your wrist, in your spandex — “talks” to exercise equipment to track your biometric data.
  • “Smart homes” that anticipate your needs. They reset the thermostat before you get home, make sure you turn off the stove and switch lights on and off.
  • “Smart stores” that pick up signals from shoppers’ smartphones and track their behavior in the store, pair it with online data and develop customer profiles to boost sales.

Great stuff, right? Great applications.

But no matter how great the individual apps are, in terms of IoT they’re useless if they don’t work seamlessly with countless other great apps.

That’s where service virtualization comes in, because it gives enterprise development teams the ability to test their new apps against an unlimited number of dependent apps and environments.

In a nutshell, service virtualization tools can be deployed wherever live traffic or messages are flowing between two systems. After “listening” to those exchanges and capturing data, SV can create a “live-like” simulated app, what is called a Virtual Service.

That Virtual Service — and any number of countless Virtual Services — can then be deployed to simulate a sort of virtual reality for your new app that allows you to test from the beginning of development.

Independent research has shown that companies that adopted it realized a dramatic increase in their ability to test and a corresponding decrease in cycle times and production defects.

As the Internet of Things get’s more ubiquitous, the interconnection of technology becomes ever more important. Companies whose technology doesn’t work well with other apps in the IoT are doomed to fail.

It’s a small world, after all.