The API Between Us And Everything

I was doing some research on a video camera API platform that I'm keeping an eye on, and Google, Nest and the $3.2 Billion API by Roberto Medrano of SOA Software popped up in my curation system. The Nest is currently the best known example of APIs being placed in between us, and everyday objects in our lives. The enhanced objects, and the applications that emerge are the obvious value, that end users see, however as Robert says:

These decisions will be strategic business and financial ones, but they will all be enabled by the use of APIs. Without the API involved, the work required to connect products such as Google and Nest would be too complicated or costly.

When I think about devices like the Nest, in our homes, the obsessive compulsive geek in me gets excited for the potential of such a platform. However after I apply a little critical thought, I get very concerned. Then I immerse myself back into what is possible when cameras have APIs, security camera, street cameras, webcams—all have APIs. Then I get very, very concerned.

After this roller coast I come back to a balanced view, that smoke alarms, thermostats and cameras equipped with APIs are neither good, bad or neutral. That cat is out of the bag, and we have this technology. It isn’t going away. We might as well enjoy the positive, but we also need to keep an extremely close eye on how things are being deployed and managed behind the scenes.

There is a lot of room for logging as part of the regulatory process, democratizing access of resources, and generally injecting transparency into how things work with these Internet enabled, API driven “things”. However there is also a whole lot of room for exploitation, surveillance and hijacking of data via these Internet enabled, API driven “things”.

We can’t freeze up with fear or lash out against this coming wave of Internet enabled things, we have to keep a level head, ask hard questions and make sure there is a healthy balance in all of the API driven, Internet enabled nodes where hardware manufacturers, platform providers, developers and user’s best interests are kept in mind.