The tale of two Silicon Valley cities leads to APIs

By March 28, 2017ALL, APIs

Whether scientific, social, or administrative, it is safe to say that APIs make the world work.

Two nearby California cities, San Jose and San Francisco, recently hosted two of the tech industry’s premier conferences at the same time, API World and TechCrunch Disrupt.

In the tech world, an API is a computer programming term that means application programming interface. APIs are used to facilitate connectivity and functionality between applications; thus, APIs are truly the building blocks of collaboration. API World is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to the API economy; that is to say, the developers and enterprises who build and use APIs.

Let’s be clear, we all use APIs. You produce a document in Microsoft Word, save it as an Adobe PDF, email it to a client using Outlook, and the client opens your message with Google Gmail and views the PDF using Acrobat. From there, it is modified and sent back to be stored in an Amazon Web Services AWS cloud folder and distributed to remote members of your team using Safari, Explorer or Chrome. APIs make every step in the process possible.

“API World is about collaboration,” said Scott Allrich, co-managing partner of LNQ Systems, who also planned to duck into TechCrunch Disrupt. “Just about everything we use today involves an API. There are over 2 million apps in the App Store alone. When you see an app that allows you to register or sign in using credentials from another app, such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, you’re seeing an API at work.”


API World exhibitor Progress Data Direct offers standards-based data connectivity solutions. Pictured here are Progress Data Direct team members Aaron Brongersma, SaiKrishna Teja Bobba, Suzanne Rose and Dipak Patel.


“Everything I do requires APIs,” says Brandon Dunmore, manager of university laboratories at California Northstate University. “In the modern laboratory, nearly every instrument generates data that has to be exported and captured in a laboratory information management system (LIMS). Information from the LIMS has to be shared with larger enterprise resource planning (ERP) software that allows for budgeting, scheduling, supply chain management and other things critical to our operation. Every department has unique needs, so we need solutions that can connect with our ERP and with our learning management system, Unit 4‘s CAMS Enterprise.”

Whether they’re scientific, social or administrative, it’s safe to say that APIs make the world work. This, of course, is no surprise. As TechCrunch contributors Matt Murphy and Steve Sloane clearly point out in “The Rise of APIs,” APIs have been a key part of software development for decades. Furthermore, programmers understand that there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.

Through carefully embedded inter-reliance increasingly focused on a narrow field of micro-services offered by third-party API developers, APIs can reduce cost, burden, time to market and other aspects of development and deployment. In point of fact, the API economy is itself what is called a disruptive innovation.

The working world, however, is ever-changing. Markets and value networks come to exist based on available technology. That technology is the result of innovative effort from some of the world’s brightest people. More and more, in the digital age, we see disruptive innovations changing the landscape and giving us newer, better and different technologies.

Disruptive innovation is distinguished as being an innovation that disrupts an existing market and value network by way of a new network that it has created. This new network tends to be more scalable and efficient, less costly to operate, and often capable of generating more revenue. Done correctly innovation is the bane of user manuals, and the friend of consumers.

While experts were discussing APIs and collaboration in San Jose, others were in San Francisco exploring the technologies that create and represent new markets and value networks. As these groundbreaking technologies and market-transforming enterprises were being showcased at TechCrunch Disrupt by some of the industry’s leading innovators, many — if not all of them — will rely on APIs at some point in their value chains.

“Disruptive innovation is the heart and soul of technology,” says Scott Allrich. “My new venture is looking to disrupt a few things, but look at what these guys are doing. VeriApp, for example, helps artists connect with their fans while continuing to be in control of their IP. They’ve got a booth here. And check out Sqreen! Their automated real-time security shield technology smoothly monitors and protects web applications. I’m taking a good look at what they’ve got because with all the data breaches and information theft today, every developer and business needs to take every step available to ensure safety and security, especially where customer information is involved.”

“The working enterprise itself is a disruptive innovator,” says Neil Manning, agile scrum master and manager of professional services at a large company that returned to the Fortune 500 this year. “Whether it’s social sharing of rich content (Snapchat), aggregation of news from multiple sources (Smart News) or the digitization of our contacts (LinkedIn), everything we see and use today has a disruptive characteristic. The key is how you support the disruption: Minimize the risk of service interruption while simultaneously growing your market share and generating revenue.”

Manning hit the nail on the head: APIs and disruptive innovation go hand-in-hand because APIs are, by their very nature, disruptively innovative. In today’s increasingly mobile application-driven economy, integrated collaborative connection technology is essential for enterprise success.

Nowhere in the world was this more apparent than in the Bay Area last week. From San Jose and Silicon Valley, through Palo Alto and up to San Francisco, the conversation was clear: How can we collaborate to create a breakthrough in the way we do what we do? The answer is most certainly disruptive, and it requires APIs.

Without them, nothing works.

Co-authored by Ahsan Awan.

Images used with permission. © 2016 American Presswire. Twitter: @ampresswire.

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