The Internet of Things (IoT) market could reach $290 billion by 2017—and that could mean big opportunities to improve and grow your product line. But when it comes to smart product design, you’ll need to go beyond hardware.
To launch a connected product, you need a hardware module, a mobile app, a web portal, and cloud services that all work together to collect data and communicate with users. You’ll also need to consider whether or not to use an API to connect with other products and applications.
We’ve provided a cheat sheet of sorts to help you understand how APIs in IoT work. Read on for some helpful definitions.
Application programming interface (API)—APIs are all about compatibility. It’s the technology that allows devices to talk to each other and to cloud-based programs. Think of an API as a language.
In IoT, an API makes it easier to share data and integrate applications. Assuming she has access, a developer can use an API to build new programs. Let’s say you manufacture a smart thermostat. Using the same API your thermostat is based on, a savvy programmer can write an app that lets you see the temperature changes in your home throughout the day.
Open or closed API—However, APIs aren’t always available to developers. A closed API is a proprietary, enterprise-level interface that may be shared only with certain business partners—or perhaps not at all. An open API, on the other hand, is available to the public. Any person or third party can use it to sync up new applications with your product.
IoT hubs—Today, IoT is the Wild West of consumer technology. In an effort to control it, some enterprises have launched IoT hubs that encourage developers to build on one platform. Google has Nest for home automation. Android Wear wants developers to use its API for wearables. The idea is that one of these many hubs will become the gold standard for how devices communicate with one another. However, there’s no clear leader in the field yet.
So why avoid IoT hubs? It’s all about your data. IoT hubs aggregate the data your products collect to the hub provider. By using an autonomous platform, like DADO’s, your data will remain with your company.
IFTTT—This web-based service, which stands for If This Then That, lets users create “recipes” that trigger actions based on specific conditions. For example, one recipe will automatically upload a Facebook photo to a users’ cloud-based archive if the user has been tagged. Recently, IFTTT has begun to imagine its recipes controlling IoT actions—think along the lines of users setting time-based triggers to turn on their coffee pots.
While IFTTT is a fun way to trigger some high-level actions, it doesn’t offer granular control. Plus, consumers are looking for less complexity, not more. DADO ensures users have a simple, focused encounter with their connected devices—and a valuable experience with the brands they already love.
Here at DADO, our IoT platform doesn’t require you to lock your product into a particular API. DADO products are autonomous, fully realized IoT products that don’t rely on third-party hubs or IFTTT-type instructions over the web.
In the future, we expect our platform to offer open APIs, making it easier for developers to create new programs that enhance the value of your product. We’re also exploring ways to integrate our code with third-party developers to better serve OEMs. You can learn more about how we help you develop and connect your products at www.dadolabs.com.