STUCK in API-Hell
“APIs APIs APIs!! That is the future!!!!” – is what everyone is saying right now. Is that really true? An API is basically like defined handshake. I have my defined handshake, you might have yours and if we were to shake hands, we’ll face a couple of different options which are described here.
The Handshake-Problem with the API-economy
The definition of an API is an Application Programming Interface. Let’s say it is a defined handshake which will make the process of making handshakes into something that will at least be easier than without a defined API. But it won’t solve everything, far from it. It might actually make things worse. Let’s go through a couple of scenarios.
We don’t have any defined APIs
If we don’t have any defined APIs it will be difficult for us to shake hands because we don’t even know how we could shake hands. And if someone else wanted us to shake hands they would have a really hard time figuring out how we could shake hands because they might not have a good idea to what languages we are talking or if we even want to shake hands.
So the first step would be to get APIs = the possibility to shake hands in a defined way.
- We have a APIs but they are not the sameWe now have our own handshakes but they are not the same. Who wan’ts to initiate the handshake? Let’s say that one side wants to shake hands, then they will have to figure out how to do it. They can change their handshake to fit the other one’s handshake or also create something in between where the handshaking will take place. This might be anything but simple or difficult, and it adds complexity and it will take time.Let’s say you walk into a room with 20 different APIs. 20 people with different handshakes, and for every person you need to figure out what is in their handshake and how you should approach it. That will take time, effort and as we’ll describe later, it will only be 1% of the possible effort.
- We have a APIs and they are the sameWe now have our own handshakes and they have been defined in the same way as our counterpart. We can now rest assured that things will be easier moving forwards. However, the handshake is only the first part. It doesn’t mean that we speak the same languages. It doesn’t mean that we have the same values. It doesn’t really say much of how we can talk to each other, the effort it takes to talk to each other and also what language we should use in talking to each other.Imagine this in scale. We are in the same room. We all want to talk to each other, but we have different definitions of the same things. Or we have different definitions of different things. We speak in different languages. And everything about what we do, how we do it, is totally different. We come from different worlds but somehow, someone came up with the idea that we are going to act as one just because we share the same definition of a handshake. And someone else out there expects that it is the outcome of us working together that is the amazing thing.
A handshake (API) is just a handshake.
Thinking that the outcome of the API economy will lead to amazing results, is exactly the same thing that is happening right now out there in the world of IoT. If I say tree, what do you think of? I think about a christmas tree. And when I say christmas tree, what do you think about? Is it a huge one outside, is it indoors, does it have a start at the top, what’s the color of the star, the material, etc etc? It doesn’t say anything else about anything really.
Artificial Intelligence and Machine learning needs more than a handshake
Not having the definitions set is a huge problem for the ones that want to do analysis on the data. It is again the same thing as all of these individuals send their reports to Headquarters somewhere. And the information comes from different departments, in different languages and everything is different. Hence, it is extremely difficult to make sense of the data and the majority of the efforts out there today are spent on 80-90% cleaning of data, the sense making part. And 10-20% on the part where the value actually gets derived. So this is an immediate problem that needs to be solved. Because leveraging data with Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is crucial for us to really make sens of the data and to achieve results never before possible. But before that will happen, we need to come up with a way to make sense of data much faster than we are doing today.
The solutions to all of these problems
As discussed, APIs are a good start, but don’t get fooled in thinking that the API economy is the end of all of our problems. I might actually be the exact opposite and the beginning of a whole new set of problems as depicted above.
Want to get started in bridging the gap between buildings and IoT? Let us know!
Go-IoT is on a mission to take buildings to the cloud in an easy, secure and scalable way, creating open future-proof ecosystems for smarter buildings and cities. The challenges often arise that system integrators / property owners and even users are locked in to the products and suppliers in the building. It is difficult to create customized solutions in other companies’ ecosystems and it is always costly and complicated. We solve this with a combination of hardware/software and cloud solutions as well as IoT consultancy and hardware development if needed. Modernizing buildings in a sustainable way has never been easier than it is now.
Contact: Nicolas Waern, CEO, mobile: +46 703 47 87 44, nicolas@Go-IoT.io