The Internet of Things and API's
If you have been paying attention to the technology press in 2016, it’s likely that you will view the impending arrival of the Internet of Things (IoT) as an inevitability. The IoT, coupled with the rapid global adoption of robust cloud-based technologies, has seen whole industries being developed for a time when homes, workplaces and modes of transport are all connected and sharing information to make our lives easier. Pundits estimate that this new industry will generate billions of dollars, create thousands of jobs and transform our lives.
While it is certainly true that more and more devices are able to connect to the internet, it remains to be seen whether they can all be connected to each other in such a way that they complement each other and deliver on the promise of the internet of things. The problems of interoperability are a major stumbling block and are the driving force behind CloudRail, a company which was started in 2013 in Mannheim, Germany that seeks to bundle multiple API’s into one single SDK to integrate cloud services and devices in one fast and simple setup.
Founding partner of CloudRail, Felix Kollmar noticed that developers were spending an inordinate amount of time working on integration for various services, rather than focusing on their core product offerings. “CloudRail has been working closely with our developer community to understand their needs and requirements,” he explained. “Multiple standards, data structures and interfaces from numerous vendors prevent true interoperability. The idea of the Internet of Things is that devices, software and cloud services communicate effectively, efficiently and securely across multiple ecosystems, but as of now this is just a dream.”
There are multiple benefits of having a single API to drive interconnectivity. Chief amongst the benefits is the convenience and the speed of development. Customer reach can be expanded exponentially with easy integrations to more services, developer maintenance costs are eliminated as the API updates automatically, and because it is a peer-to-peer connection, the need for middleware conversion is eliminated.
Poor documentation is another major stumbling block when one is dealing with multiple API’s. It can be enormously frustrating spending time trying to decipher the instructions and understand the internal logic of different API’s developed by different people. One universal API, one SDK to integrate and one manual to read eliminates all of those problems. There’s a growing set of ready to use cloud services and smart devices for integration and, if there is something missing, then its API can be added in minutes. And because the whole data transition is happening within the SDK, with no date being passed through a CloudRail server, there is no change of security breaches or the threat of server down time.
“The number of devices and appliances coming online will expand exponentially over the next years and software developers will need to connect and integrate them to drive value for users,” says Marc Langner, Investment Manager at Leonardo Venture, one of the early seed investors in CloudRail. “CloudRail has the chance to become the leader in this Interoperability space.”
If the Internet of Things is going to work as seamlessly in the years to come as it is envisaged, then it’s companies like CloudRail who can take the credit for laying that foundation.
By Jeremy Daniel