Web 2.0 has a great creative history of acronyms, pseudonyms and synonyms used to provide a greater insight into the processes of the semantic web. Among these lists, the acronym API stands out as one of the most valuable assets to the web, but goes unheard by a standard internet user. API – an Application Programming Interface, is a platform used by an application program to communicate and facilitate with other similar applications or programs. The web as we know has evolved from, links connecting one site to another to sites connecting through data and functionality embedded in API’s.
The dynamic growth of API’s since 2000 has allowed various web applications to create value simply by assembling them in a novel or effective way or as Tim O’reily defines it “Innovation in Assembly“. This creative assembly to increase the value of a service is much more common these days with integrating different applications and services. The basic idea behind this integration is known as ‘mashups’ where services or applications can be ‘mashed-up’ to improve the quality of the service, hence innovation in assembly.
One of the most recent web applications to build an API to its business model, is OnStar Corporation which is a subsidiary of General Motors. OnStar is a subscription based vehicle communication system which also provides in-car security, navigation and remote vehicle diagnostics.
OnStar has been monitoring the mobile web traffic and trends quite closely to understand the use of mobile apps in vehicle mobility. It was concluded that the number of mobile application will double by 2013, hence the need for an API to improve the value of the application service was highlighted. Consequently, OnStar announced its OnStar API for the creation of vehicle specific and vehicle safe apps for OnStar equipped vehicles.
According to the CIO at OnStar, one of the major reasons to release an API to partner applications is to keep their customers connected to the business model in ways beyond their imagination. This platform would allow OnStar to build customer trust and loyalty, creating a vast community. The OnStar API would also help the corporation to understand customer use and the remix of data services surrounding the applications for vehicle use. Two of the most popular partner applications to develop from the OnStar API are RelayRides and RemoteLink.
RelayRides is a peer-to-peer car sharing (renting) service that allows vehicle owners to rent out their vehicles to anyone. RelayRides will utilize OnStar’s location awareness, navigation, in-car security systems and other remote features through the API. The OnStar API’s supporting platform will allow those renting vehicles through the RelayRides app to remotely lock and unlock the vehicle after the rental.
OnStar Remote link allow users to view real time data such as mileage, fuel in the gas tank, oil life and tire pressure of their vehicle, without being physically present. This creative, outside the box thinking has allowed OnStar to utilize it’s wireless services to control and manipulate vehicle data in new and innovative ways.
OnStar desires to further implement the innovation in assembly and provide advance services such as:
- Automatic Crash Response
- Stolen Vehicle Tracking
- Advance Navigation
- Roadside Assistance
The web has become an intermixed and a complex service provider to its users over the years, increasing the demand for API’s. Big organisations such as Google, Facebook and Twitter have developed more advanced API’s to harness the functionalities of multiple applications together. Although API’s consist of different features and functionality, it is fairly common for developers and business management to evolve business applications into lucrative business services. Consequently, more companies are implementing innovation in assembly to integrate the competition rather than competing with each other.
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