Welcome!

Mobile IoT Authors: Scott Allen, Pat Romanski, Philippe Abdoulaye, Dana Gardner, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, @CloudExpo

@ThingsExpo: Blog Feed Post

Look Beyond The Mobile or Web Client To The Internet of Things

Ten API Commandments for Consumers

Kin Lane, the API Evangelist, has produced a list of the Ten API Commandments for Providers. It's a very good list, including privacy, security, and documentation. I encourage everyone to read it and comment.
What about the corresponding list for API Consumers? Although I don't want to compare myself to a biblical figure (or indeed to Kin Lane :) ), here is my crack at a list of API commandments for consumers:

1. Protect your API Keys. API Keys are often issued to developers through an API Portal to use in their apps. These API Key allow developers to access apps. Sometimes the keys are used in conjunction with OAuth, or sometimes they are used in a pure API Key based authentication scheme. It is natural for developers to use Github as a repository for their code. But, what if the API Key is baked into the code of your API consumer app? Ross Penham recently wrote about the disturbing amount of API Keys which he found in Github. A good solution is to use an API Gateway to manage the API keys, separately from the API consumer application itself.


2. Understand how APIs affect your client app's performance. If an API call is slow, then your app is slow. Users may then understandably complain. What if the problem is not your app itself, but an API it's consuming? How you can isolate the problem, so that you can see how a slow API is affecting your users? The answer is to have Root-Cause Analysis in place for your APIs. Here is an example of how you can track the response times of the SalesForce.com API. Here is another example, this time from the mobile telco 3 in the UK. In this way, you can point your finger at the problem, and apply root-cause analysis.

3. Apply the "Missing SLA". API Providers often do not provide a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Unless you are a very large corporation, spending a lot of money on API calls, you may not be able to force them to put an API in place for you. Again taking the example the SalesForce.com API, here is a walk-through with videos of how you can apply monitoring and an SLA in place for your outbound API calls.

4. Think about the data. When calling an API, it's natural to think about the security of the API call itself. Commandment #1 above is about securing the keys used for the API call. But what about the data being sent to the API? In many cases, you can think of an API as a conduit for data. If this data contains anything private, in terms of what is called PII (Personally Identifiable Information), then it must be encrypted, redacted, tokenized, or removed by an API Gateway.

5. Plan beyond asynchronous request response - think about WebSockets, AMQP, MQTT, and CoAP. HTML WebSockets are an exciting technology which we're seeing customers begin to leverage for their API consumption. WebSockets brings some great capabilities, such as full-duplex communication with the capability for APIs to "push" data to the client. But, it also brings security questions, and a veritable alphabet soup of new protocols beyond HTTP. The good news is that companies like Axway are thinking about the interplay and security of these new protocols. For more reading, I recommend checking out December's AMQP WebSocket Binding (WSB) which was drafted with help from my Axway colleague Dale Moburg.

6. Loose Coupling. Yes, "Loose Coupling" is something that isn't new - in fact it is a dictum of SOA-based integration from ten years ago. However, it is just as relevant now. Don't hard-code your API consumer to a particular version of an API. In fact, by putting an API Gateway in place, you don't even have to hard-code your API to a particular API (e.g. you can switch between different storage services).

7. Don't hate HATEOAS. HATEOAS is something that some API developers struggle to understand (or even pronounce), but it is very valuable because HATEOAS provides a framework for API calls which describe the "flow" of calls which a client can make. Even if you don't plan on using HATEOAS initially, and are just constructing quick-and-dirty API calls using string manipulation, it is still worth understanding.

8. Look beyond the Mobile or Web client to the Internet of Things. Until recently, API clients were assumed to usually be mobile devices. In fact, if you see a diagram on a Powerpoint slide of an API being called, it is usually a mobile app which is doing the calling. Now, we're moving on to the "Internet of Things" (IoT). IoT raises interesting requirements for API Consumers. For example, how can a low-powered device (like a lightbulb) perform the requisite processing required to access an API? What about devices which have intermittent Internet connections (e.g. a Connected Car, which may not always be online). At Axway, we've produced a Webinar and associated White Paper with Gunnar Peterson on the new security requirements when accessing APIs in the Internet of Things. I encourage folks to check this out.

9. Take a broad view of APIs: XML is unfashionable but still exists. If you look at some APIs used in business-to-business contexts, you often see the more heavyweight XML-based standards like AS2 and ebXML used. For example, later this week we are running a Webinar about accessing Australian Government "Superfund" services, and this uses an API which heavily XML-based. You won't find "I AS2" or "I ebXML" written on a sticker on the back of a MacBook Pro anytime soon, but if you are writing API Consumer apps which will access Enterprise APIs, you ignore these older types of APIs at your peril.

10. Spread the word. Here I echo Kin's commandment to spread the word - to evangelize - your API exploits. In the case of API Consumers, this is just as important as API Providers. On our API Workshop tours, we've had API practitioners speaking about how they are using APIs. Watch this space for news on our upcoming API Workshops, and feel free to get in touch if you have any great API Consumer stories, or tips to add to these Ten Commandments :)

More Stories By Mark O'Neill

Mark O'Neill is VP Innovation at Axway - API and Identity. Previously he was CTO and co-founder at Vordel, which was acquired by Axway. A regular speaker at industry conferences and a contributor to SOA World Magazine and Cloud Computing Journal, Mark holds a degree in mathematics and psychology from Trinity College Dublin and graduate qualifications in neural network programming from Oxford University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
The cloud promises new levels of agility and cost-savings for Big Data, data warehousing and analytics. But it’s challenging to understand all the options – from IaaS and PaaS to newer services like HaaS (Hadoop as a Service) and BDaaS (Big Data as a Service). In her session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Hannah Smalltree, a director at Cazena, provided an educational overview of emerging “as-a-service” options for Big Data in the cloud. This is critical background for IT and data profession...
"There's a growing demand from users for things to be faster. When you think about all the transactions or interactions users will have with your product and everything that is between those transactions and interactions - what drives us at Catchpoint Systems is the idea to measure that and to analyze it," explained Leo Vasiliou, Director of Web Performance Engineering at Catchpoint Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York Ci...
Ask someone to architect an Internet of Things (IoT) solution and you are guaranteed to see a reference to the cloud. This would lead you to believe that IoT requires the cloud to exist. However, there are many IoT use cases where the cloud is not feasible or desirable. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation, will discuss the strategies that exist to extend intelligence directly to IoT devices and sensors, freeing them from the constraints of ...
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform and how we integrate our thinking to solve complicated problems. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, will demonstrate how to move beyond today's coding paradigm ...
Apixio Inc. has raised $19.3 million in Series D venture capital funding led by SSM Partners with participation from First Analysis, Bain Capital Ventures and Apixio’s largest angel investor. Apixio will dedicate the proceeds toward advancing and scaling products powered by its cognitive computing platform, further enabling insights for optimal patient care. The Series D funding comes as Apixio experiences strong momentum and increasing demand for its HCC Profiler solution, which mines unstruc...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
Whether your IoT service is connecting cars, homes, appliances, wearable, cameras or other devices, one question hangs in the balance – how do you actually make money from this service? The ability to turn your IoT service into profit requires the ability to create a monetization strategy that is flexible, scalable and working for you in real-time. It must be a transparent, smoothly implemented strategy that all stakeholders – from customers to the board – will be able to understand and comprehe...
The cloud market growth today is largely in public clouds. While there is a lot of spend in IT departments in virtualization, these aren’t yet translating into a true “cloud” experience within the enterprise. What is stopping the growth of the “private cloud” market? In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Nara Rajagopalan, CEO of Accelerite, explored the challenges in deploying, managing, and getting adoption for a private cloud within an enterprise. What are the key differences between wh...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...