API Management and Internet of Things
API Management is more relevant than ever with the explosive growth of internet connectivity. The Internet of Things (IoT) is following close on the heels of the mobile market expansion. IoT refers to uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in the internet. The business of IoT is just getting started with an estimated 9 billion things connected to the internet and projections for that number to grow to 30 billion by 2020.
Any business can take advantage of this new social, mobile, connected world. More importantly all businesses should join the technology revolution. The Internet of Things is accessible via APIs, built on REST. APIs make up the new open platform that enables the connectedness. RESTful interfaces are scalable, easily understood and allow for the encapsulation of legacy interfaces. Intel’s Expressway API Manager (EAM) provides data format and protocol transformation for quickly creating REST services. With the exposure of content through APIs, businesses become part of the open platform. Partners and third parties can easily integrate.
Amazon Web Services is a famous early example of the success that can come from embracing the open platform. Amazon Web Services billion dollar business started when Jeff Bezos mandated that all IT services be exposed as APIs. The online book seller opened up their platform and reaped the benefit in business expansion.
We can see IoT increasing opportunities in the open platform. For example, monitoring devices used in the Healthcare industry provide information that can now be exposed through APIs. Healthcare businesses like Carepass share personal health and wellness APIs and are making partner APIs available for easy integration. Add data from a device like Fitbit to a medication scheduling reminder API and healthcare applications emerge to coach patients into improve their well-being.
APIs are designed to allow for the breakdown of the data in atomic chunks of data. The API fields are defined to use standard data types. In the healthcare world, where legacy reports have included large volumes of data, the availability of small chunks of data opens up healthcare to innovation.
The increase in data available on the internet due to IoT ripens the climate for innovation but we don’t always know where the market will move. APIs allow businesses to follow the wisdom of the crowd. API Management portals like Mashery will track the usage of APIs and show who is using your APIs in what applications. Seeing what works through API analytics enables crucial business agility. The usage statistics will point to where adjustments need to be made. API Consumers are showing that Smart Homes are a priority. Four of the top 10 IoT APIs help monitor and control devices in the home.
Nest Learning Thermostat API boasts utility savings of $180 a year for consumers, Ninja Blocks API connects security, thermostats and motion sensors in the home, pvSense API monitors solar power installations and IoBridge Data Feed API manages smart power meter usage.
With so many household devices enabling external connectivity security becomes an issue. The Wall Street Journal recently reported Smart Homes are a hacking risk. TVs are being built with cameras that can be hacked into for looking right into your living room. Automobiles connected to the internet and can be started and opened remotely which is a nice feature for owners but is not something that car owners would want to be compromised.
Organizations that are opening their “things” to the internet will need to implement proper API Management strategies to protect their customers and their brand names. API security through the provisioning of API keys or OAuth certificates ensures that the proper users have access to the APIs. Intel’s API Manager will audit and alert when API usage is compromised. The security that comes with API Management will protect the assets being exposed in the new open platform.
IoT opportunities are just beginning. Start experimenting now. Expose your APIs and the wisdom of crowd will provide the direction for the future.
Read the Intel Expressway API Manager data sheet
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