Application Programming Interfaces

Application Programming Interfaces: The Unsung Heroes of a Connected World

Enabling businesses to embed software capabilities of other platforms within their own websites and applications, APIs or Application Programming Interfaces have facilitated new business models across almost every industry. It allows companies to link to and customize existing platforms, resources and algorithms to create new services and gain new customers. Here are four ways that you can use APIs to your website or apps:

  1. API as the Product. An API becomes your main product when it is your primary source of revenue. It means it is not merely an extension of what you are offering. Two great examples are Skype and Amazon Web Services.
  2. API Projects the Product. Through this API integration, your partners, mobile applications and third parties can get to experience your product. Take for instance Spotify and eBay.
  3. API Promotes the Product. Application Programming Interfaces can also be used to advertise your product through various channels. It allows third parties to access data used to generate interest in your offering. Some examples include Vimeo, Netflix and Amazon.com.
  4. API Powers the Product. APIs can be used to power products by serving as a channel to get new value into the business. It continuously receives new content that makes up part of your service. Popular APIs for this include Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Connected digital platforms improve our daily lives in many ways. Social media profiles are used to log on websites and applications and share activity data from Smart devices like Fitbit. APIs make all these possible, including powering third party payments while shopping online. Essentially, they deliver a request to the provider you are requesting from and bring back a response to you.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) offer a number of benefits, including:

  • Increased revenue
  • New partnerships
  • New business models
  • Improved time to market
  • New distribution channels
  • Access to new markets
  • Reduced costs
  • Improved control over resources
  • Competitiveness
  • Improved brand recognition
  • Distinguishable from competitors

How do Application Programming Interfaces work? Say you open up a weather application on your Smartphone. The apps need to get information from a source, right? Apple or Samsung could scrape off the data from a weather site, but APIs has a more standardized approach for requesting information. They are the heroes that fetch your weather information for you! Learn more about API integration here.

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