June 20, 2018
Today’s tech landscape is buzzing with hot topics such as IoT, blockchain and AI. They all possess the potential to disrupt age-old industries and consumer life as we know it, but work most effectively when they combine forces. Add API to this list as the technical “glue” that facilitates seamless communication between these innovations.
What is API?
Tired of acronyms yet? API stands for application programming interface. Essentially API is a list of rules and protocols for building software applications. The user doesn’t directly see API in action since API is a software to software interface.
People in the business world may already be familiar with EDI or electronic data interchange which is used for exchanging data between different computer systems. Companies often use EDI to share data automatically with their customers and service providers. Experts predict API, a faster and nimbler technology, will eventually make EDI obsolete.
APIs already make our lives easier. For example, say you make a reservation at your local nail salon online. The salon’s website offers a feature to add the appointment to your Google calendar. The site uses API to talk to Google’s server and provide an automatic response to your GCal. APIs also streamline setting up accounts as many websites allow you to use your Google or Facebook sign in to create identities.
API Meets IoT
Ask your smart speaker, “what’s the weather in Los Angeles on Saturday?” it responds instantaneously with the weather just like it knew! It uses APIs to call up the forecast from a source such as weather.com and delivers it you on the smart speaker’s interface by telling you, “it will be 75 and sunny with intermittent clouds”.
Electronic Products coins API’s role in IoT as the digital middleman. APIs allow users to call up information from a plethora of useful sources through their IoT devices. Aside from just collecting data, IoT devices can make sense of it with APIs. Without the cohesive functionality of API, IoT devices that we know and love simply wouldn’t work.