IBM Ushers in API Economy With New Products, Services

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2015-11-05 Print this article Print
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To help clients begin to make the most of the API Economy, IBM will offer workshops and digital transformation services that help clients quickly develop and adopt an API strategy. Starter workshops allow developers to leave with a functioning API after spending just four days in one of IBM's Bluemix Garage venues. Clients will benefit from digital transformation services that provide industry-specific strategic consulting to help organizations with the shift to full adoption of APIs.  

"In essence, the initiative aims to make it far simpler for developers to determine which APIs will work best for given projects by using IBM cognitive solutions, including Watson Analytics, and other resources," King said. "That should help speed application design/development processes and also help enhance the quality of finished apps. Overall, this is a natural focus area that should deliver significant dividends for the company's customers."

IBM's Watson APIs are managed by IBM API Management on Bluemix, bringing approximately 30 cognitive-based APIs and capabilities of ecosystem partners and developers. Cognitive businesses combine digital business and digital intelligence, using artificial intelligence systems that can understand, reason and learn.

"The API Economy opens up new opportunities for innovation in both business model and technology strategy when enterprises participate with digital business services," said Marie Wieck, general manager of IBM Middleware, in a statement. "To succeed in the API Economy and reach new clients, enterprises need an open ecosystem for trusted exchange and a differentiating strategy for how they monetize those services. IBM is helping guide clients every step of the way into this API Economy as they start their journey to becoming cognitive businesses."

Meanwhile, IBM is collaborating with the Linux Foundation and leading industry standards organizations to provide an open platform for building, managing, securing and integrating open APIs.

"As a company, you've got a choice: Innovate with the world or innovate against the world," Diaz said. "IBM chooses to innovate with the world."

Today, the Linux Foundation announced the formation of an Open API Initiative collaborative project to standardize and document APIs in a consistent way. The project's goal, with IBM as a founding member, is to create a shared governance model and technical community for the Swagger specification, which has the largest ecosystem for API tooling in use today.

The initiative will extend the Swagger specification and format to create an open technical community within which members can easily contribute to building a vendor-neutral, portable and open specification for providing metadata for RESTful APIs. This open specification will allow both humans and computers to discover and understand the capabilities of the respective services with a minimal amount of implementation logic. The initiative will also promote and facilitate the adoption and use of an open API standard. 

"Swagger is considered one of the most popular frameworks for building APIs," said Jim Zemlin, executive director at The Linux Foundation, in a statement. "When an open source project reaches this level of maturity, it just can't be managed by one company, organization or developer. The Open API Initiative will extend this technology to advance connected application development through open standards."

Founding members of the Open API Initiative include 3Scale, Apigee, Capital One, Google, IBM, Intuit, Microsoft, PayPal, Restlet and SmartBear.

"While it looks like the initiative starts with Swagger, the collaboration will be most successful if it envelopes multiple communities, including other API specifications, languages and frameworks, to truly find the best common road for API standards," said Uri Sarid, CTO at MuleSoft. "The industry should focus on innovating and challenging each other in a healthy way to make a meaningful difference and to create significant value for the users. This can't happen with just one API language. Instead, it should be about working together to get the best from different languages."

To help facilitate the development of industry standards around open API development, IBM is also announcing its participation in two key standards organizations in banking and health care to ultimately help users quickly and easily integrate APIs into their digital services.

IBM is working with the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) to create common IT standards for the banking industry, including the creation of common banking API definitions that will standardize application components and simplify and accelerate the creation of APIs.

IBM is also working with the HL7 standards organization on a key health care standard called FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources). HL7 member organizations such as IBM bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the Argonaut Implementation initiative, which is a group of private-sector health care organizations collaborating to speed the development and adoption of FHIR. These programs will help shape the future of API interoperability in the health care industry.



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