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OMA's Alan Hameed Discusses APIs and the GotAPI Framework

By Alicia Young
July 14, 2016

Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), a not-for-profit organization, is the industry focal point for the development of mobile service enabler specifications, and delivers open specifications for creating interoperable services that work around the world. It aims to be the catalyst for the consolidation of standards activity within the mobile data service industry.

In preparation for the All About the API event next week in Las Vegas, DevsWorld interviewed OMA’s healthcare device & standardization consultant Alan Hameed, who will be leading the Addressing IoT Development Challenges session on July 19. Hameed has 25+ years of telecommunication experience and has worked for major international telecommunication companies, focusing on product planning and standardization with attention to all aspects of wireless. The complete interview is below.

 What new business opportunities are being driven by the growth of the so-called API economy?

New business opportunities are being driven from the ability to evolve the application independent from the hardware and the underlining technology as well as the ability to separate the hardware from the software.  

Is there a market for APIs you would consider the low-hanging fruit?  Which markets are the next to leverage APIs extensively?

 The markets set to leverage APIs surround IoT, wearables (external sensors) that talk to the mobile platform, and many healthcare applications that use same sensor—e.g. the heart rate monitor, supplying data to the exercise application and the medication application, allowing also for vital sign collection, and so forth. There are many devices in the market that have multiuse APIs which will help in pushing the adoption.

What are the major challenges API developers face?

Challenges surround standardizing APIs and if developers truly have open APIs that can evolve. Developers need four things to succeed:

  1.  Access to a standardized API developed by an open organization so everyone can contribute in consensus driven environment
  2. The ability to evolve the API specification as the market grows, i.e. the need to have a road map so they can see what’s coming next and plan accordingly
  3.  A neutral organization that promotes and supports the work, i.e. having an ecosystem that supports everyone
  4. A stable environment.

 Who, within an organization, should businesses target when marketing their APIs (i.e., business leaders, C-Suite, developers)?

 APIs are related to the overall businesses strategy and technology direction within an organization, so everyone should be targeted.

 How do you measure ROI of APIs?

Measuring ROI is an absolute must for any creation and delivery of innovative products and services. Any successful service must have APIs as part of its offering as APIs on its own or APIs standalone is a difficult proposition. The ROI of APIs is included as a part of the overall measurement of the product or service being offered.

 Who is responsible for security?  Is API security more challenging that securing other applications, hardware and networks?

 Security is part of any APIs design. API security is more involved than other components just because the use case for API is much wider than close application or single purpose hardware or networks element. 

 Which is better, SOAP or REST?  Why?

 REST. The industry has settled this question already.

How often are APIs changed or updated?  How is this accomplished while ensuring minimal disruption to users and their customers?

APIs, in their development, should be designed to be future proof. APIs should be flexible enough to be updated and maintained with backwards compatibility for a reasonable amount of time.  

What kinds of standardization are still needed to drive successful mass development and adoption of APIs across verticals?

For standardization to be successful, APIs standardization needs to be built on top of other standardization work. For example, in the personal healthcare area, we need to standardize the data collected for the devices, the communication to the mobile platform collecting the data, e.g. BLE, the machine code associated with each service for machine processing, and the middleware that expose the data to the APIs. And finally, packaging the data in a way that APIs can be used by Application. In summary, we need to standardize at all levels, including APIs, which address each vertical, to have successful mass development and adoptions of APIs.

 How important is building an ecosystem around your API(s)?  Can your API(s) be successful without it?

 It is very important to build an ecosystem around your APIs and one of the main components in making your API successful. APIs cannot be successful without this ecosystem built to support it and must keep the developer in mind when doing so.

 What differentiates one ecosystem from another?

 What the API ecosystem must have and must maintain is that it must be open and consensus driven.

Why should attendees at All About the API make sure to attend your session/booth?

During OMA’s session on “Addressing IoT Development Challenges” on July 19 at 10:30 a.m., we will present a solution known as OMA Generic Open Terminal API Framework (GotAPI) and demonstrate how GotAPI is addressing a real world problem. The audience will also hear about the open source projects associated with the solution and how they are focused on developers in order to create applications compatible with a variety of devices.

It’s sure to be a great session. All About The API is taking place at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas from July 19-21. There is still time to register if you’re interested!

Edited by Stefania Viscusi
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