Unless you’re an IT expert, you probably don’t think twice about how your smartphone and other personal devices can literally put the world at your fingertips in the blink of an eye.
With a tap of a touchscreen, you can instantly order a late-night pizza, summon an Uber, or check the weather for next Wednesday. Yet none of the amazing things our devices can do would be possible without their ability to talk directly to apps and websites that can connect us to the things that we want and need.
Enter the API.
So, what exactly is an API?
API stands for Application Programming Interface. It allows two applications to communicate with one another to access data. Every action you take on your phone, like sending a text message or checking a baseball score, uses an API to access and deliver that information.
Why are APIs being good for business?
Simply put, APIs can bring a great deal of value to an organization. Using APIs can create new channels, help organizations to expand a company’s presence into a complementary business or as an add-on to a company’s service offering. Most importantly, APIs can inspire innovative companies and developers to create new business opportunities and even improve existing products, services, and systems.
The COVID-19 API boom
The Coronavirus pandemic has changed the world in so many profound ways. Most notably, it has required us to work, shop and communicate in ways that put us close to the people and information we need while keeping us as far away as possible from a dangerous virus. To meet these new needs and challenges, APIs have been developing at a rapid pace.
A recent study by technology company Postman showed that nearly a third of respondents say that APIs are playing a role in their organization’s ability to respond to the pandemic for customer communications, powering remote work options, and quickly responding to regulatory changes and government initiatives.
Key areas where API use is accelerating
In the area of healthcare, new APIs have come into use that allow wide access to COVID-19 information, tracking and contact tracing. The need for social distancing has also led to the development of APIs that enable remote doctor visits and health consultations.
Home shopping and food delivery APIs have come into existence to help struggling stores and restaurants make the shift from serving customers in brick-and-mortar establishments to creating take-out, pick-up and home delivery options to comply with health guidance.
In government, municipalities have been using solutions such as General Code’s eCode360® API to help keep officials and citizens connected to vital community and code-related information housed on the company’s proprietary online code platform. It can also save municipalities the time and effort of importing the code manually. The API has been important in helping General Code’s partner governments stay up and running and functioning smoothly in a time of crisis.