Sasha Kamenetska | Contributor
April 18, 2013

Machine Sensor Data, APIs and Productivity


Exposing data through APIs is a well-worn topic.  At Mashery, we talk about it literally all the time.  But we usually focus on a company exposing its own data sets through APIs to inspire innovation.  What we don’t talk about as often, is how whole industries can use APIs to increase productivity and efficiencies. 

In the last few years there has been a spread of low-cost sensors that have made it possible to monitor a large variety of machines and machine-handled processes.  There are now sensors tracking everything from jet engine turbines to fruit shipments. 

According to a report by IDC, “The Digital Universe in 2020,” published this past December, machine-generated data will make up 42% of all data by 2020.  As of 2005, machine-generated data only made up 11%.  That is quite an increase.

What this means is that there is a great opportunity to use all this machine-generated data to improve productivity in industries such as manufacturing.  The problem is, with so much data and so many different sensors collecting it, there needs to be a standard so that data can be shared between machines.  What a perfect place for APIs to come in.

Anywhere there is lot’s of data, APIs should be involved.  One of the big problems facing “Big Data” is having a common standard to make sharing and analyzing that data across platforms and sources easy.  APIs can solve that issue by exposing data in a uniform and easy to consume way.

And a coalition of manufacturers seems to agree.  Last week, the Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition is building an ‘Open’ platform to make manufacturing plants more efficient.  Their goal is to pool data from factory sensors to create a uniform platform to analyze data from any sensor.  The idea is, the more data you analyze, the more inefficiencies you can find and subsequently fix. 

A platform like this should surely include APIs so analyzed data can be easily passed back to machines (or apps) that will use the data to improve efficiency.  The power of the API is that it can make data available to any machine.  Once there is an API standard for machine-generated data, apps and other machines can analyze the data and determine ways to create more efficiency.  This is great not only for businesses, which can save money by making their manufacturing (as well as other) processes more efficient, but it is also great for the environment.  Greater efficiency means less energy used and fewer green house gases produced.  That is a great benefit to us all.

Want to learn more about how APIs can benefit your business? Contact us today!