API Days

The university campus  of Paris has been the host of  the 2018 edition of the API Days in Paris. The event gathered some big names of the IT and telecom, as well as some smaller players. A non exhaustive list includes:

  • Red Hat
  • IBM
  • Orange
  • Kong
  • Parasoft

With today’s diversity of hardware and software products and services, the lack of standardization is  one of the bigger issues faced by customers. The good news is that  some companies can solve this problem. Yes, this is about APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). In other words, it is about standardized use of products and services.

A company with a deep enterprise-oriented culture, IBM provides a uniform API for virtually everything. While I am not sure how fast a 3 people team dedicated to the task can cope with ever changing systems as well as with new entrants, there is a high degree of confidence from Big Blue. I suspect there is more than the person I spoke with told me. Maybe it is Watson or something similar. One thing seemed sure: IBM can connect you in a standard way with virtually any database (both SQL and NoSQL). What I liked most was the official position regarding data protection. Without express demand from the customer, IBM stores no data. With the GDPR coming into effect next May, IBM may have positioned as a trusty partner and provider.

A telco with a long history, Orange has a strong position in the IoT market, for both industrial and home market. While the information is still scarce for the end-user,  with no demo portal, the offer has improved significantly. I mean, you need to contact Orange  and/or even pay  first  before seing the IoT portal in action.  From what I saw, the offer includes data communication, specific IoT hardware selling and API provinding. This is a wise move from a company which used to sell only data plans. The strongest part is about API. You can buy non standard IoT hardware from a Chinese company, use data plans from some telco and have Orange translate that non standard information into a conventional API.   Unlike IBM, there was no clear position regarding customer’s data. The meta API could keep intermediary data in caches. however, the user can choose to delete the data.

A less known company, Kong is aggregating APIs from micro services ( REST, Swagger, etc.) into an uniform interface. The solution is platform agnostic and integrates transparently at many levels.

One of the Linux veterans, RedHat has a long history of providing premium services to companies. For example, the company helped Amadeus during its own journey toward the cloud. RedHat is less about API and more about helping reach a specific goal.

Offering an API is good, making it secure is better. Parasoft plays in a different league and it has earned points in the field of software testing. The offer is quite big and covers a good number of languags and and standards.

I tried to write quickly about the event. There were many more companies present and introducing them all would take a much longer article. However, one thing is sure: API standardization is key to the future of IT.  With the advent of IoT, robotics and AI/Machine Learnng, I expect even more players to enter the arena of the API.



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