At least once a week someone says they wish a business partner would create some application or feature to address a specific need they have. Unfortunately, that idea generally falls by the wayside because the person with the idea knows that business partner doesn’t have either the will or the capacity to execute.
Alcatel-Lucent, a leading global communications solutions provider and the parent company of ProgrammableWeb, has introduced a suite of nine “New Conversation APIs” that provide developers with easy access to IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem) capabilities such as high definition voice and video, audio/video conferencing, interactive voice, messaging and call control. In addition, Alcatel-Lucent has launched a Developer Portal that allows access to the New Conversation APIs and a sandbox for developers to build and test their applications.
Businesses are using a voice over Internet service to address a common problem: The gap between online users and customer care centers. A 2011 TeaLeaf survey found the abandonment rate for online shoppers reaches 41 percent when these customers encounter a problem. One way companies are addressing the problem is by integrating VoIP APIs within their websites so customers can click-to-call for help, according to a SureVoIP blog post.
Most people are familiar with the critical role customer relationship management (CRM) applications in the cloud have come to play in terms of managing sales organizations. But what most organizations have yet to fully appreciate is how a critical a role those applications could play as a front end to any number of business processes across the enterprise.
While adoption and usage of APIs tends to vary widely across different vertical industries, the one segment that has benefited most from APIs is online media. Thanks to APIs, the cost of distributing online content has dropped significantly thanks to online properties that need to content to attract people to their sites.
One of the things that not many IT people fully appreciate is how much scale really matters when it comes to cloud computing. The more applications that run on a particular cloud computing platform, the more the cost of running those applications is distributed across an increasingly larger number of servers and storage systems. Eventually, a cloud service provider reaches enough critical mass that every new application winds up helping the cloud service provider to drive infrastructure costs down, while at the same time increase overall performance.
While some folks tend to think about APIs are being little bits of arcane code that only developers care about it, the truth of the matter is that billions, possibly even trillions, of dollars are at stake in what will soon be a series of API wars. In no place is this more important than in mobile banking, where companies ranging from Google, the PayPal unit of eBay and lesser known entities such as MineralTree are all vying to usurp the role of traditional financial institutions.
APIs are not only critical when it comes to extending the digital reach of an organization; they can also provide tangible brick and mortar benefits as well. Walgreens, for example, recently announced that it has developed an API and software development kit that allows developers of mobile applications to include the ability to print out photos within their applications at any one of 7,907 Walgreens locations.
What comes first, the API or the Application? This is a question that companies are grappling with as they set forth their product strategy. Many companies prefer to release their mobile applications first and if it gets popular, developers automatically start asking for theAPI. In some of these cases, a private API already exists under the covers. In recent times, we are seeing an increasing number of products that release the API first and much later, announce their mobile applications. Great examples are the Aviary API and the musiXmatch API.