Walter
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Ten-cent API an activator of trillion-scale economy?

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More Posted time:Apr 24, 2017 13:30 PM
In the cloud era, API becomes the best carrier for service delivery, ability replication, and data output. Numerous enterprises provide services and data in the form of APIs. These API services allow for a greater creative space for the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and mobile application fields and endow them with more endless opportunities and possibilities.
The combination of API and the IoT means that companies digitalize their internal manufacturing plants, products and other physical assets and their products and capabilities can reach a wider audience and more consumers as a result.
It is foreseeable that internet services in the future will be directly backed up by API services. The tide of the API economy is approaching.

In 2020, the overall scale of China's Internet of Things will exceed 1.8 trillion yuan. API is a connector to achieve interoperability among all things and form new value networks. By 2018, the API economy is expected to become a global market worth US$2.2 trillion. How should we understand the API that plays a role as the "technical glue" and the resulting API economy?
For example, an app wants to send red packets to attract new users, and the red packet feature requires real-name authentication and bank card verification. If traditional approaches are adopted for the launch, these features are time-consuming. Now with just a few APIs such as the bank card four-element authentication, and ID card avatar certification, as well as a few lines of commands, and the functional innovation will be achieved.
As another example, a company making lawn-use sprinkler heads in the United States is faced with very fierce competition. It is only capable of developing hardware, but it found the product wastes too much water. As a result, they simply call the weather query API, and its sprinkler product will stop watering on rainy days, saving a lot of water usage and fees for users. As a result, users naturally tend to choose their sprinkler products, and the company ended up making windfall profits.
No one in the hardware company mentioned above writes weather APIs, nor does the company have skilled software staff. But instead of spending hundreds of thousands yuan to hire a team dedicated to the development of weather APIs, they invested a "little sum of money" to query the API of a weather company. When the interface is called by millions of sprinklers, apparently the API manufacturer earns the money and the market.
In an application, you can call N APIs (N> = 1), depending on what APIs you need. For example, during a trip, you may need to call: 1. Weather API; 2. Road conditions API; 3. State query API for idle vehicles nearby; 4. Query API for gas stations along the road; 5. Query API for restaurants or hotels at the destination.

As a developer, what kinds of service APIs do you look forward to? Or what are your views and innovation advices on the idea of API Economy Innovation Competition? Let's talk together.

Charlene
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1st Reply#
Posted time:Apr 25, 2017 13:55 PM
API competition seems like a carnival for developers on the surface, but it is actually a Serverless impetus at the roots. Through the form of API, various capabilities are exposed. For the follow-up developers, they can develop new products at a lower cost and in a more efficient way, to unleash unexpected power and promote the industry's reform. But we should also take into account that the API itself is provided by third-party service providers and subject to changes caused by the statuses of the third-party service providers. To this end, we suggest you use APIs provided by trustworthy agencies to avoid interruptions to your businesses.
From the developer's point of view, encapsulating some complex business logic will help us to develop projects faster, but the black box effect should also be considered. We enjoy the convenience brought about by API, but shall also take into account the possible problems.
Back to the competition. If the competition events are incubated after the competition is over, the Serverless promotion process may be accelerated.

Elizabeth
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2nd Reply#
Posted time:Apr 26, 2017 11:29 AM
API is the stepping-stone of small and medium-sized enterprises to become SaaS-oriented. For entrepreneurial enterprises and traditional enterprises which have limited development budgets and are eager to form MVPs, API is the most efficient development tool.
For the 3D digital manufacturing industry that I am in, I would like to make brief analysis on the advantages and existing difficulties for API application in cloud manufacturing platforms:
[Advantage 1 - lightweight]: 3D printing, CNC and other processing activities need three-dimensional data models as data sources, but this invites several problems that require different API solutions: data formats are not uniform (format conversion API), online storage and encryption (cloud storage API), real-time rendering (3D scene display API), model modification, repair and calculation (3D modeling and collaboration APIs), and control of processing equipment (IoT-related API). If all the APIs are self-developed, the workload will be no less than the development of an entire set of online 3D modeling software, with an enormous engineering workload. However, the distributed computing of APIs slashes the cumbersome development challenges and workload.
[Advantage 2 - modularization] Through the superposition of different APIs, we can increase, decrease or iterate features at any time according to customer needs. More effort can be invested in business processes and service experience, without being confined to technical details.
[Dilemma 1 - API richness] Although the future of API is very promising, its development is still subject to the supply-demand relationship. Many "unpopular" industries look forward to enjoying the technical benefits of APIs, yet few of them are within the applicable scope of APIs, or the API application in their industries is cost-prohibitive.
[Dilemma 2 - API reliability] Despite the lightweight advantage, API's black-box-like service model requires more support from the underlying facilities, such as cloud storage security and reliability, and the processing power of cloud computing resources. All of them require maintenance from API developers. After all, we do not want our sensitive data to be leaked or mistakenly transmitted.
[Dilemma 3 - API ease of use] API should be as simple as possible, while providing detailed integration guides and cases to help more companies with less development experience to build their own SaaS.
In summary, API development needs the support infrastructure to be provided by giants like Alibaba. Alibaba has powerful cloud computing infrastructure and is able to help all API developers to gain a firm foothold.
At the same time, like in the case for apps, the development of APIs also calls for a sound commercial promotion and distribution model, similar to the developer platform and API store. Alibaba has made a good attempt and hopes to explore more motivating models for developers in similar activities.

Ysera
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3rd Reply#
Posted time:Apr 27, 2017 9:22 AM
API, if well utilized, will trigger a great interconnection reform. Take the air conditioning industry for example. At present, the school air conditioning and municipal enterprise air conditioning in the society are mostly very complicated in management and no dedicated personnel are responsible for maintaining the air conditioning service life status. No one is accountable as to when the air conditioners should be turned on and when the air conditioners in the school cafeterias can be turned off, all these are reasons for the waste of electricity. Using APIs to achieve interconnection and data interoperation, an app can be developed to achieve one-stop responses, so that air conditioners can become intelligent without wasting more time, manpower and effort. I am in a bullish mood about API future. Editor I want a doll.

Charlene
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4Floor#
Posted time:Apr 28, 2017 9:39 AM
I first learned of APIs on Alibaba Cloud. Not a technician, I felt very happy to suddenly find so much data ready and available. Just as the moderator said, I could not help but give in to my imagination. After I went through the APIs on Alibaba Cloud, I found them far from enough – how nice would it be if there were 10 times more APIs. Because I am engaging in a traditional industry, I could only imagine how marvelous it would be if location information of means of transportation in the traditional industry can be collected and provided for those in need, just like in the case of current buses, and if the information of idle facilities in the neighborhood can be available during the construction process so that procurement will be not necessary. As I'm in a non-technical role, I do not know what is needed to implement these features, but we are eager to see the implementation of these practical APIs, and we are willing to provide a broad application space, at least personnel in our industry will love to use these APIs. We also hope to see more great API companies incubated as a result of the competition.

Blanche
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5Floor#
Posted time:May 2, 2017 10:22 AM
It will be very exciting if we can use the artificial intelligence API one day. It will greatly improve our life, travel, medical services, education, clothing and food and so on.
Big data + cloud + artificial intelligence
A lot of data information is generated every day. But small enterprises are not capable enough to tap into the potential value of the data. When a third-party service provides the API service, it can share the data of some fields and analyze the data via artificial intelligence. For example, regarding the pathogenic factors of a disease, we can collect the data nationwide for processing, and provide the data through an API to each hospital. The hospitals can then apply the artificial intelligence processing results, and provide clinical feedback to correct some deficiencies.

Kenan
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6Floor#
Posted time:May 3, 2017 15:44 PM
API does play a role of data integration and efficiency improvement. But it also has several issues:
1. Uniformity. For similar implementations, different vendors will have different implementations and call methods.
2. Stability. When a certain type of interface only has one supplier, the stability of the service will become a great challenge for the business side.
3. Accuracy. For similar data, such as IP query, different suppliers require different precision levels.
I once talked about this issue with a senior internet developer and agree very much with his online API + offline API concept.
That is, to provide services online to attract customers,
and deploy offline APIs on the intranet of the business side, so as to ensure precision while improving stability.

Gordon
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7Floor#
Posted time:May 4, 2017 14:43 PM
I developed a product recently and found that many API companies have a rich variety of APIs, with the prices ranging from a few cents to a few dozen yuan. From the technical development perspective, I feel it is an inevitable trend as it facilitates data access for developers and it is a big market. For example, if various major supermarkets open their own APIs, you can view the prices, pictures, quality, and sources of goods, so that there will be a platform for comparing the goods offered in various major supermarkets. With the help of logistics systems, residents can stay at home to buy inexpensive goods or goods with better quality. Of course, there are currently some tools which achieve comparisons through capturing the goods pages of JD.com or Taobao.com, but it cannot be called an API yet. I think the government should open up more data, as big data includes data on the people's basic necessities such as medical care, education, economy, traffic, weather, tourism, government affairs, taxes, and agriculture. (Sorry, I think too much…)
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