Welcome!

@ThingsExpo Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, William Schmarzo, Ed Featherston, Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

Related Topics: @ThingsExpo, Microservices Expo, @CloudExpo, @BigDataExpo

@ThingsExpo: Blog Feed Post

Rise of the Thing - Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) is giving rise to a whole new set of protocols for API access

Here are some predictions for the API space for 2014:

Rise of the Client
It's generally agreed that an API is only as good as the clients which use it. An unused API is a failure. So that's why it's odd that so much attention has focused on the server side of APIs, with comparatively little attention paid to the client side (there are exceptions though, like Runscope's handy Request Editor and hurl.it, to help developer API clients).

If you ask an API provider about how their API is going to be called by clients, often you are met with a hand-wavy answer along the lines of "It's REST, so it's easy". While it may be true that it's easy to hack together a client to call the API that "just works", the problem is that that's all it does. It "just works", but doesn't provide the high-level benefits such as:
- Ensuring the API is responding according to your expected service level
- A broker layer so that you're not locked into any particular API provider, or:
- API orchestration

At Axway we've seen that our API Gateway is frequently used at the Client Side, adding a layer of visibility and control to API usage from the client's point of view, as well as providing an independent audit log of API usage, separate from the logs provided by the API provider. All of this points to the rise of the client.

Another major factor involving the rise of the important of the API client is raft of new protocols associated with Machine-to-Machine API access, used in smart-meter or "connected car" environments for example. Which leads us nicely on to the next prediction...

Rise of the Thing
(hat-tip to Zahid Ghadialy from EE for this title, taken from his excellent recent presentation)

The Internet of Things (IoT) is giving rise to a whole new set of protocols for API access. Until recently, it was taken for granted that JSON is all-conquering and predominant. In my view, the popularly of JSON for APIs is as much to do with the widespread usage of dynamic languages on the client side (JavaScript in particular, of course) as it is to do with the smaller size of JSON relative to XML.

In the word of IoT, with embedded devices on the client and greater bandwidth constraints, it's not the case that clients will always be JavaScript based and expecting JSON. In IoT, we see MQTT, CoAP, and AMQP. All different, but all existing to deal with the low-latency and message size constraints of IoT devices. In this case, it isn't possible to simply throw together a REST client with JavaScript on the client - the result would be hopelessly inefficient since even JSON is too verbose. Ironically, with the IoT standards we are back to binary encoding, something I wrote about (BER encoding for XML) way back in 2002.

I would also watch Google's Protocol Buffer, which with protobuf.js provides JavaScript without the JSON size overhead.

Going Meta
In the world of SOA, we saw that each Web Service could be associated with metadata expressed using WS-PolicyAttachment with WSDL. The mention of any WS-* specification is enough to make anyone cringe, but in the case of SOA, at least there were standards for attaching meta-data to services.

In the case of APIs, we have sites such as ProgrammableWeb which provide human-readable information about APIs. But this is not the same as machine-readable information which a client can consume, conveying information how to call the API, security tokens (e.g. OAuth 2.0 Access Token) required, and expected response times.

Ole Lensmar wrote a great round-up of the API metadata options, back in the summer (now you would add RAML to this list). For Enterprise APIs, with security and quality-of-service requirements, I expect API metadata to grow in importance in 2014.

Traditional and API-based Integration continue to converge
Axway got a jump on this trend back in late 2012, with the acquisition of Vordel. In fact, at the time of the Vordel acquisition, Kin Lane foretold that "I predict in 2013-2015 we are going to see more of these types of acquisitions occurring. Large software companies are going to need a robust set of API tools to bring legacy systems into the modern, API driven economy." And how right he was! 2013 saw a slew of further acquisitions. I would hope that my predictions could be as accurate as Kin's.

There is clearly a need to take advantage of API-based integration, but in tandem with more traditional integration technologies. It's not a case of "either/or". Here at Axway, with API-based integration incorporated into our portfolio, we provide customers with a single suite solution covering B2B, APIs, managed file transfer, and even email security. In 2014, APIs will not be an isolated "new new thing", but will be working in tandem with traditional integration technologies.

SOA and APIs no longer adversarial
Paolo Malinverno from Gartner likes to say that "When people talk about APIs and Services, 99% of the time they are talking about the same thing". One of the big take-aways of the recent Gartner AADI conference was that we've gotten over the adversarial talk of "SOA versus APIs" and now there is a realization that they are linked. The linkage goes both ways. For example, APIs can be built on SOA principles (loosely-coupled, abstracting underlying implementation details), and SOA architecture itself can be used to manage APIs. Ideas from SOA, such as management of service meta-data in a repository, find new life in API Management with customizable API Catalogs in API Developer Portals.

In 2014, I expect to see more healthy realization that SOA principles are complimentary to API Management,

More API Breaches
Finally, on a less positive note, I believe we will see more successful attacks on APIs. In 2013 we had the attack on Buffer's API and, just last week, the attack on Snapchat's API. Earlier in the year we saw DoS attacks on banking websites which also brought down Web APIs (resulting in some banking mobile apps becoming unusable). One of the key things which API Gateways do is to protect APIs from attack. Of course, they also provide more positive advantages like API Quota Management, caching, and REST-SOAP transformation. But, with growing awareness of API breaches, the security factor will grow in 2014.

Happy 2014 everyone!

More Stories By Mark O'Neill

Mark O'Neill is VP Innovation at Axway - API and Identity. Previously he was CTO and co-founder at Vordel, which was acquired by Axway. A regular speaker at industry conferences and a contributor to SOA World Magazine and Cloud Computing Journal, Mark holds a degree in mathematics and psychology from Trinity College Dublin and graduate qualifications in neural network programming from Oxford University.

@ThingsExpo Stories
The Internet of Things can drive efficiency for airlines and airports. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Shyam Varan Nath, Principal Architect with GE, and Sudip Majumder, senior director of development at Oracle, will discuss the technical details of the connected airline baggage and related social media solutions. These IoT applications will enhance travelers' journey experience and drive efficiency for the airlines and the airports. The session will include a working demo and a technical d...
SYS-CON Events announced today the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp, being held November 1-2, 2016, in conjunction with 19th Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Combined with real-world scenarios and use cases, the Enterprise IoT Bootcamp is not just based on presentations but with hands-on demos and detailed walkthroughs. We will introduce you to a variety of real world use cases prototyped using Arduino, Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, Spark, and Intel Edison. Y...
Fact is, enterprises have significant legacy voice infrastructure that’s costly to replace with pure IP solutions. How can we bring this analog infrastructure into our shiny new cloud applications? There are proven methods to bind both legacy voice applications and traditional PSTN audio into cloud-based applications and services at a carrier scale. Some of the most successful implementations leverage WebRTC, WebSockets, SIP and other open source technologies. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Da...
Data is an unusual currency; it is not restricted by the same transactional limitations as money or people. In fact, the more that you leverage your data across multiple business use cases, the more valuable it becomes to the organization. And the same can be said about the organization’s analytics. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bill Schmarzo, CTO for the Big Data Practice at EMC, will introduce a methodology for capturing, enriching and sharing data (and analytics) across the organizati...
If you’re responsible for an application that depends on the data or functionality of various IoT endpoints – either sensors or devices – your brand reputation depends on the security, reliability, and compliance of its many integrated parts. If your application fails to deliver the expected business results, your customers and partners won't care if that failure stems from the code you developed or from a component that you integrated. What can you do to ensure that the endpoints work as expect...
The vision of a connected smart home is becoming reality with the application of integrated wireless technologies in devices and appliances. The use of standardized and TCP/IP networked wireless technologies in line-powered and battery operated sensors and controls has led to the adoption of radios in the 2.4GHz band, including Wi-Fi, BT/BLE and 802.15.4 applied ZigBee and Thread. This is driving the need for robust wireless coexistence for multiple radios to ensure throughput performance and th...
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
I'm a lonely sensor. I spend all day telling the world how I'm feeling, but none of the other sensors seem to care. I want to be connected. I want to build relationships with other sensors to be more useful for my human. I want my human to understand that when my friends next door are too hot for a while, I'll soon be flaming. And when all my friends go outside without me, I may be left behind. Don't just log my data; use the relationship graph. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Ryan Boyd, Engi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that China Unicom will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. China United Network Communications Group Co. Ltd ("China Unicom") was officially established in 2009 on the basis of the merger of former China Netcom and former China Unicom. China Unicom mainly operates a full range of telecommunications services including mobile broadband (GSM, WCDMA, LTE F...
Enterprise IT has been in the era of Hybrid Cloud for some time now. But it seems most conversations about Hybrid are focused on integrating AWS, Microsoft Azure, or Google ECM into existing on-premises systems. Where is all the Private Cloud? What do technology providers need to do to make their offerings more compelling? How should enterprise IT executives and buyers define their focus, needs, and roadmap, and communicate that clearly to the providers?
SYS-CON Events announced today that SoftLayer, an IBM Company, has been named “Gold Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 18th Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York, New York. SoftLayer, an IBM Company, provides cloud infrastructure as a service from a growing number of data centers and network points of presence around the world. SoftLayer’s customers range from Web startups to global enterprises.
The Transparent Cloud-computing Consortium (abbreviation: T-Cloud Consortium) will conduct research activities into changes in the computing model as a result of collaboration between "device" and "cloud" and the creation of new value and markets through organic data processing High speed and high quality networks, and dramatic improvements in computer processing capabilities, have greatly changed the nature of applications and made the storing and processing of data on the network commonplace.
Digital innovation is the next big wave of business transformation based on digital technologies of which IoT and Big Data are key components, For example: Business boundary innovation is a challenge to excavate third-party business value using IoT and BigData, like Nest Business structure innovation may propose re-building business structure from scratch, as Uber does in the taxicab industry The social model innovation is also a big challenge to the new social architecture with the design fr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Pulzze Systems will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Pulzze Systems, Inc. provides infrastructure products for the Internet of Things to enable any connected device and system to carry out matched operations without programming. For more information, visit http://www.pulzzesystems.com.
IoT is fundamentally transforming the auto industry, turning the vehicle into a hub for connected services, including safety, infotainment and usage-based insurance. Auto manufacturers – and businesses across all verticals – have built an entire ecosystem around the Connected Car, creating new customer touch points and revenue streams. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Macario Namie, Head of IoT Strategy at Cisco Jasper, will share real-world examples of how IoT transforms the car from a static p...
Big Data has been changing the world. IoT fuels the further transformation recently. How are Big Data and IoT related? In his session at @BigDataExpo, Tony Shan, a renowned visionary and thought leader, will explore the interplay of Big Data and IoT. He will anatomize Big Data and IoT separately in terms of what, which, why, where, when, who, how and how much. He will then analyze the relationship between IoT and Big Data, specifically the drilldown of how the 4Vs of Big Data (Volume, Variety,...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists will look at the protocols that communicate data and the emerging data analy...
Video experiences should be unique and exciting! But that doesn’t mean you need to patch all the pieces yourself. Users demand rich and engaging experiences and new ways to connect with you. But creating robust video applications at scale can be complicated, time-consuming and expensive. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Zohar Babin, Vice President of Platform, Ecosystem and Community at Kaltura, will discuss how VPaaS enables you to move fast, creating scalable video experiences that reach your...
WebRTC adoption has generated a wave of creative uses of communications and collaboration through websites, sales apps, customer care and business applications. As WebRTC has become more mainstream it has evolved to use cases beyond the original peer-to-peer case, which has led to a repeating requirement for interoperability with existing infrastructures. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Graham Holt, Executive Vice President of Daitan Group, will cover implementation examples that have enabled ea...
DevOps at Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 19th Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long dev...