I'm pretty skeptical about many of the reasons behind why companies are connecting devices to the Internet using APIs — I am just not convinced this is the best idea when we already have so many security issues with the standard and mobile web. Regardless, I'm constantly working to understand the motivation behind a company's motivation to do APIs, as well as what they are telling their customers.
I published a story last week about defining the industrial programmable automation controller (PAC) strategy using an API, which focuses on the approach by Opto 22. To support their efforts, the industrial automation provider offers up a dedicated page to educating their customers on why you would want to use REST, providing some bullets:
- Archive I/O and variable data from the PAC directly into Microsoft SQL Server using Microsoft's T-SQL — no OPC or ODBC required.
- Read or write PAC data using your favorite programming language—C, C++, C#, Java, PHP, Python, and many more.
- Build a mobile application that directly accesses data on your PAC—using Java, Swift, or Xcode.
- Build a data flow application for communicating with cloud platforms and cloud APIs, using Node-RED and our new SNAP PAC Nodes.
Ultimately I think using web technology is inexpensive and avoids the usage of proprietary, vendor specific solutions. As the ability to offer up a web server on any physical object becomes easier and cheaper, the usage of web APIs to interact, integrate, and orchestrate around physical objects will only increase, for better or worse.