What is the collective term for all objects in the physical world? In 1999 Kevin Ashton chose to use the word ‘Things’. He coined the term Internet of Things (IoT) to convey the connection of all physical objects.
It also includes anything that sensors can be attached to. Like animals, humans, and plants. Where there is a sensor there is data. This data can be connected to the internet. Really it’s the internet of everything.
The Internet of Things has revolutionary potential. Mainly because of this easy access to data. It also is the foundation for increased automation. This in turn allows for:
- Improved productivity and reduced labor;
- Efficient operations, resources, and assets;
- Improved safety;
- Business insights that lead to new opportunities.
But what creates the connection between these ‘things’ and the internet? The answer: APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). Let’s explore how APIs are the unsung hero of the Internet of Things (IoT).
First, let’s look at how IoT operates to better understand APIs role.
How does the IoT work?
The simplest way to break down IoT is by its 3 main components: inputs, analytics, and outputs.
The input comes from a device that gathers information from ‘things’ in the real world. This information comes through sensors or detectors. The information then needs to connect to the internet for analysis and output.
The heart of IoT is the ability of these diverse and varied components to communicate. By communication we mean the movement of data from an endpoint of a device through a network connection. APIs are the core of this technology. They create the ability for devices to connect to the internet.
The growth of IoT has greatly added to the growth of APIs. Equally, APIs are responsible for the growth of IoT.
Examples of IoT supported by APIs
While the focus of IoT was originally for business and industrial applications, now personal applications are rapidly growing. In 2021 there are an estimated 35 billion IoT devices, with an additional 11 billion expected by the end of the year. IoT has an impact on every area of our lives.
In our personal lives, IoT is used with our devices, smartphones, wearable technology, fashion, and household appliances. The availability of this data allows us to create a quantified self where we will have a deeper understanding of every aspect of ourselves through data.
IoT impacts organizations through applications like remote monitoring and notification systems. This can improve security for staff and physical assets. More recently IoT is being used for smart cleaning and occupancy reporting in support of staff returning to offices during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Industrial uses of IoT are supporting equipment monitoring and predictive maintenance amongst many other things.
Finally, huge infrastructure changes are underway due to IoT. Our urban and rural environments are becoming increasingly ‘smart’. From our roads to railways, and from energy to water supply.
With the ability to reduce costs and increase quality, there is nowhere IoT is not being applied.
For APIs to support this rapid IoT growth, the management of these APIs needs to be carefully considered to create flexibility, scalability, and most importantly security.
How APIs benefit IoT
The success of IoT depends on the efficiency of connecting data. APIs done well are the most efficient way to connect data, thereby enhancing the overall IoT value.
APIs provide a standard architecture for diverse applications and devices to communicate over the internet. They improve reliability and allow for effective ingestion, storage, and processing of the information received.
This requires your APIs to be structured and managed thoroughly.
On the other hand, if you do not manage and build your APIs correctly you risk creating an inefficient and insecure structure.
Effective API management should consider gateways, security, and access management.
Blobr’s developer platform is the best place to effectively manage your APIs. APIs can be uploaded in minutes with autogenerated documentation. You can customize access and pricing for your API. Most importantly the platform enables a secure connection.
Your APIs will be under constant surveillance on the developer platform. Blobr’s analytics provides a detailed and granular view of your APIs performance. You will know instantly if there are any anomalies or failures of your API.
Equally, if a developer creates a security breach or a customer behaves unexpectedly this will be easily detected. You will have increased control over your API endpoints. These endpoints can be dynamically modified to reduce the exposure of your entire business. Investigations will be conducted for any abnormal API calls.
On top of the advanced security features, Blobr's developer platform will enable high performance of your APIs providing near-instant communication between your devices. Finally, we have the infrastructure to scale with you as you find increasing ‘things’ to connect.
How to set up your IoT APIs for success
IoT is predicted to change every aspect of our lives and IoT devices are only going to grow. The success of IoT relies on the successful management of APIs.
Without good API management, the growing number of connections will quickly lead to chaos. With every area of our lives being connected to the internet, security and reliability are crucial.
APIs should follow a standardized approach, and their use should be monitored closely for security breaches. At the same time APIs need to be flexible and scalable to adapt to the growing use cases. We can support your API setup and operations.
Our Blobr development platform will provide all the tools you need for successful management. Speak with us to find out more.