September 21, 2012

APIs In The Mobile Information Age


After listening to the DreamForce 2012 Keynote address earlier this week it dawned on me that what the world has been experiencing in the last few years is nothing compared to what’s about to come.

Most people think of Facebooking or Tweeting is merely just a fun hobby or activity. For others it’s a business that is really still in its infancy.

All those questions about why is social media relevant are going to be answered. During the next two to three years, the relationship between customers, consumers, employees and machines will continue to develop in an impressive and in some cases a shocking way. Barriers are being stripped away as business will no longer be able to lean only on SEOs to steer customers to their product. APIs have become essential for businesses to grow in the age of mobile information.

The sophistication with which businesses integrate and use information will continue to grow.

It’s no longer about people being social with people, but machines being social with both machines and people. Here are two examples:

Virgin America: Your flight is running late and you could miss your connection. While en route, your inflight screen informs you that Virgin is aware of the relationship between to your flight and your connection. They send you a map with directions from your arrival to departure gates, alleviating the stress of a last minute scramble.

Coca-Cola: Coca-Cola’s new Coca-Cola’s new Freestyle machines contain over 100 Coca-Cola products and allow you to create your own personalized soft drinks. Using your mobile device you program a recipe consisting of two thirds Coke, one-third Barq’s Root Beer, and a splash of Sprite. You can name it, share it on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. Then every time you walk near the machine it contacts your mobile device asking if you want your favorite drink.

Gone are the days where you could just send out generalized information to a specific demographic or customer. Now we are in an age where specific information has to be tailored to a specific individual. This is the business of APIs.