APIs: a business issue for 2013?

by bold-lichterman

Complementary elements to a service or the heart of the monetization of startups, APIs are a trend to follow this year. What about business modelpublic / privateTop 10 innovative applications… Focus on a growing market.

[h4]What is an API?[/h4]

An API (Application Programming Interface) is a programming interface that allows third-party developers to access the data or functionality of an application in a controlled manner (such as the Facebook “like” button, for example). The choice to open an API becomes strategic since third-party partners can more easily enrich the service offering, and therefore the user experience.

An API can be public or private. The first exposes the data to any developers who want it, while the second is only accessible by internal developers or selected partners. The latter generally allows smaller companies to interact with their suppliers or customers.

There are many reasons for providing an API to your web service: source of income, savings, increased awareness of the service, creation of an ecosystem, innovation, etc. We remember Twitter, which last summer clearly restrict its interface to developers.

[h4]APIs in figures[/h4]

  • Today there are several thousand public and private APIs.
  • Nearly 60% of Twitter activity is done today via its API
  • 50% of Salesforce transactions are made through APIs
  • Booking a hotel or airline ticket on Expedia is done exclusively through APIs

[h4]API business model[/h4]

There are 3 major models of API monetization, as explained Olivier Ezratty, FrenchWeb expert and consultant in new technologies.

The first, freemium, provides access to features that meet the expectations of most users. However, it contains advertisements or elements unsolicited by the user, and should prompt the user to quickly turn to a more efficient version of the service, this time paying.

The second, paying, consists of billing the API user who uses the provider’s web service, according to the frequency and volume of use of the service. The API user can either pay a package (containing credits, consumed according to the use of the service provided), or pay for the use of the service according to the consumption made of it, with decreasing prices when the volumes increase, or pay a subscription (unlimited use over a fixed period of time). The paid model meets requirements in terms of security, and generally corresponds to services bringing together data in volume.

The third, affiliation, allows you to perform paid transactions between application user and API provider. The application developer, playing the role of intermediary, will receive a contribution from the API provider. He will thus receive either a commission on sales, a commission per visit, a commission per lead or a fixed commission.

[h4]Top 10 APIs to follow[/h4]

FrenchWeb has selected 10 APIs to follow very closely in 2013:

Recently opened to French developers, the Californian start-up Twilio offers a API dedicated to communications and more particularly to telephone and text messages. It allows developers to create advanced communication functionalities. Among its users: Airbnb, which uses it to allow owners to phone their customers directly via their platform, or eBay, which uses the API to manage the sending of sms to their customers Bank: Axabanque

Axabanque decided last year to open its API to allow external developers to create applications using the banking data of AXA Bank customers who have authorized them.

  • Connected objects: Withings

The Withings connected scale has a API which allows other applications to retrieve the collected data. This is particularly the case with RunKeeper Pro.

SnipShot offers photo editing features through its API. It supports images up to 10MB or 25 million pixels and processes them according to user demand and finalized returns.

Sendgrid is a transactional email sending solution. It integrates many features such as the test of shipments via Spam Assassin, the analysis of results for each campaign or the management of incoming emails. The free plan provides for sending two hundred emails per day.

  • Mobile notifications: Urban Airship

Urban Airship offers tools that allow developers and businesses to easily and cost-effectively add push notifications to enable purchases and subscription subscriptions within mobile applications. Since its creation in 2009, Ele claims to support more than 65,000 applications and the transmission of billions of messages to hundreds of millions of mobile terminals.

Gracenote recently unveiled a number of APIs dedicated to developing new music applications. Developers can then use these resources to identify music through audio fingerprinting and access additional music metadata. Gracenote contains information on almost 130M songs.

TheOpen Data API of the SNCF, still in beta version, follows the hackathon organized with developers and customers around the design of an application that could possibly change the way of traveling. Following this consultation, the portal http://data.sncf.com/ was created to unite a community around these ideas, to expose available data and to feed back developers’ suggestions, for example on data formats and modeling questions.

Youtube launched a new API intended for video game developers. This new interface, the objective of which is to facilitate the process of integrating video on its platform, should allow developers to upload a video stream from a game in progress, the platform taking care of encoding the video in time. real.

The American Gyft, specialist in mobile gift cards, also announced a few days ago the availability of its API. The latter allows developers to embed gift cards into websites, apps, or other services, as game rewards.

Driven by web heavyweights (Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, Salesforce, etc.), the API market is no longer reserved for technology companies today and in each sector, companies are interested in the phenomenon and its challenges. business. A constantly evolving ecosystem, which should not stabilize anytime soon.