Having gone from being a bit-part player to the mainstay of businesses in just a decade, APIs are pivotal to the processes that make companies tick and generate growth. In our previous posts, the team at Universal Adapter has gone into detail and explained how APIs work and what they do.
However, as with most products and concepts, seeing real-world examples of APIs in action is a good way of demonstrating what they can bring to the table. In this article, we identify some of the leading implementations of APIs and how they do it right:
Perhaps it’s not surprising to see the world’s foremost tech company make this list. Google has been leading the way in innovation for the best part of two decades, and its map app is one of the best examples of APIs in action.
Not only it processes the data inputted by users for its own app, but it also offers customized services for business clients. Those embedded maps you see on company websites are possible because APIs serve as a connector between Google and its clients.
The APIs enable businesses to customize their Google Maps with routes, geocoding, and other interactive features. For instance, retailers can place multiple locations on their embedded map and automatically direct the visitor to the nearest store - all made possible through APIs.
The world’s premier payment processing platform uses REST APIs to integrate with multiple businesses, whether B2C or B2B. A cornerstone for e-commerce stores, PayPal facilitates billing, invoicing, and order tracking.
Other platforms include Stripe, Adyen, and Pomelo Pay - each offering embedded payment processes within websites and mobile apps. By using API, companies can seamlessly utilize the advanced features of these platforms, delivering customers an efficient, smooth, and secure checkout experience.
While many of our travel plans might be on hold right now due to the pandemic, Skyscanner has been the dominant player in the airline booking market for a decade. Like other comparison sites, Skyscanner works by searching far and wide to find the best available deals for flight tickets.
The site connects to different airlines using third-party APIs to deliver the most relevant results to the customer. Once the customer selects their preferred option, these APIs kick in again to track the journey to the airline’s checkout and completion of the purchase.
At each stage of the process, APIs facilitate the searches and transactions, providing a seamless experience between multiple platforms. Other travel sites like Booking.com and Agoda work in the same way with hotels and resorts.
Weather is an ever-changing beast, bright sunshine one minute, torrential rain the next. It can be notoriously difficult to predict, and those morning forecasts may not be entirely accurate by the afternoon. Weather apps, like AccuWeather, have gained popularity due to their ability to deliver the weather forecast in your area in real-time.
For example, an event organizer might want to check the weather before deciding to provide an outdoor area or focus on keeping it indoors. The data that feeds those forecasts are fed through to mobile apps and other devices through APIs, which also track locations and further relevant details.
The combination of powerful technology and intelligent UX design is bound together by APIs, making it possible for the user and tech to effectively “talk” to each other. The tech has all the weather information around the world, while the user has the location stored in their device. APIs act as the funnel for this information to combine and deliver localized forecasts.
In the B2B world, integration is essential, and as a world-leading CRM solution, Salesforce uses APIs to slot into the ecosystems of businesses seamlessly. The purpose of Salesforce is to generate leads, increase conversion rates, and drive up sales - which is obviously a core component for any business.
However, a company may already use accounting software, like Netsuite, to process payments and fulfill orders. As with most other reputable software providers, Salesforce can integrate with external platforms to help smooth transitions between the multiple processes.
Using an advanced API management solution, companies will be able to maximize the benefits of each platform by utilizing APIs to support key integrations.
APIs Driving Connectivity in the Digital Era
The internet of things (IoT) era is driven by data and humans’ ability to harness the data. APIs are a critical component in organizing and directing the data to the right places. Much like oil refineries and power grids, APIs act as a management platform for data fueling the digital economy.
As these five examples demonstrate, APIs have proved pivotal in the emergence of interactive apps, delivering the most relevant content, services, and products for the user. By digesting the data that comes in, APIs provide B2C businesses a prime opportunity to personalize and improve the customer experience.
In B2B, APIs have been integral in the automation of processes that make these companies tick. Whether in manufacturing, supply chains, or services, integration is essential for digitized businesses to optimize performance levels. APIs are often at the heart of those integrations.
While data is the lifeblood of the digital economy, APIs serve as the valve.