What is an API?

The acronym API stands for “Application Programming Interface”. It is a software intermediary or a method that makes it possible for two applications or software platforms to talk to one another. You might not realise it, but we are all using APIs daily via our smartphones.

Most digital platforms or apps use the API interface to allow one software to interact with another software. So, every time you use an app like Spotify, send an instant message, or check the weather forecast on your phone, you are using an API.

To describe more in-depth what an API is, here is a great example:

Imagine you are at a restaurant, and you want to order a dish from the menu. You do not go directly to the kitchen and place your order. At the restaurant, there is a waiter who takes orders and delivers them to the kitchen. In this scenario the waiter acts as the intermediary, or the API. The waiter translates your order from a handwritten note, into the ordering system at the restaurant, to the chef in the kitchen, and then ultimately return with the dish you ordered.

Why do we need an API?

The API serves as an intermediary that helps uniform language from different data sources to a common and understandable language for all IT systems. That way, systems can exchange data sources in a simple and easy way and eliminate the technical aspects of data collection. Thereby, using an API gives certain advantages, especially because it:

  1. Increases productivity
  2. Saves costs
  3. Improves connectivity and collaboration between partners
  4. Enhances customer experience
  5. Collects data for analytics

There are many benefits to using an API. But the overall value it brings, is its simplicity and convenience. With an API, customers only need one user interface or system to access their data regardless of who the provider is.

Why does AVK use an API?

By offering data from sensors through an API, data can be delivered in a common and understandable language that is easy to integrate into any other IT system preferred by the customer. That way, we can also ensure continuous updates to communication or security protocols and standards as we implement new versions automatically without impacting the customer. 

We will also ensure that data is persisted (stored in a secondary place) and backed-up on an ongoing basis, so data always is protected against unintentional crashes.


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