Feature Article

March 28, 2013

Apigee Launches an Ambitious Mobile App First - the API Exchange Platform

Apigee is a very interesting company - or perhaps we should say it’s a very helpful company - especially if you happen to be a developer in need of quickly understanding or getting to know the API set from a variety of Websites. Need a Facebook or Flickr API reference? How about the New York Times? Or maybe Salesforce? No problem!

Apigee (you get bonus points if you spotted the API in Apigee) is there to help and deliver on many of the key online references you need - complete with details through its very detailed console - which shows both the code for using the APIs (requests) and what the APIs return (responses).

Apigee will also allow developer teams to own their own API references. Does your development team have a unique in-house set of APIs? With Apigee Console-to-Go you can accomplish exactly this. Or perhaps you are an enterprise that wants to expose a certain API set to outside developers so that they can build apps around your business. Apigee makes that happen as well. The scope of the offerings is impossible to summarize - you will need to visit the website to really appreciate the wealth of services it offers. In any case, shown below is one of the company's elevator pitches.

Having just noted the scope of Apigee's offerings above, early this morning the company nevertheless managed to expand on that scope. How so? By launching the Apigee API Exchange - with the intent to drive mobile app API ecosystems within any industry. The API Exchange platform - which is now open and ready for business as we write - has an ambitious set of goals.

First, it seeks to deliver seamless API interoperability, so that businesses operating within an industry or industry vertical are able to easily collaborate and extend the reach of their apps to the broadest possible markets for their businesses. It breaks down the barriers to data accessibility in industries affected by fragmentation and facilitates industry-wide consumption of data and services.

Second, the company is taking an extremely broad view for its offerings. It wants to deliver that interoperability across numerous verticals and industries. As we noted, it's ambitious. It cannot possibly do so all at once however, so the company will take an industry by industry approach.

With that in mind, Apigee also announced today that the telecommunications industry will be the first to be honored by the API Exchange so to speak. The company believes that it will be able to deliver API interoperability that in turn will provide operators and developers with newly expanded capabilities to deliver new, telco-enhanced mobile app experiences for consumers.

Apigee's CEO Chet Kapoor makes clear his ambition: "APIs are the 'nervous system' of our new digital world. Being able to share services and data through interoperable APIs is crucial to establishing modern, digital ecosystems in any industry. This is especially true in industries where competition or regulation has created fragmentation, such as in telecommunications, healthcare or travel. The API Exchange will let consumers use apps and APIs seamlessly across disparate businesses within an industry. Think of it as being similar to roaming across wireless networks on mobile phones."

API Exchange Defragments Fragmented APIs

In today's rapidly evolving world of mobile apps, developers must engage in the costly and time-consuming process of working with multiple API providers in order to provide broad access to the services and data in any specific industries. Within the telecommunications industry for example, mobile app developers must work with many different operator API sets in order to ensure that their apps can be accessed by consumers worldwide. The inevitable and inherent fragmentation that exists within these large scale verticals slows down innovation and creates numerous headaches not only for original mobile app development, but for maintenance as well.

In an API Exchange-powered ecosystem, application developers are empowered to build apps with APIs that can be consumed by a broad range of users across different businesses in fragmented industries. It's a uniquely flexible solution that allows businesses to share data and services through industry-standard APIs or their own customized APIs.

Powering the Telecomm Mobile App Ecosystem

Although the API Exchange is launching today, Apigee partner the GSMA has already launched the GSMA OneAPI Exchange, a solution that is built on the Apigee API Exchange and that specifically targets the telecommunications industry. Major mobile operators that already participate in the OneAPI Exchange include AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefonica and Vodafone.

Through the API Exchange, operators are easily able to expose network APIs for services such as mobile payments, identity and messaging, which in turn are federated to provide cross-operator reach. Both mobile app and Web services developers can easily integrate these APIs to enrich app functionality and to improve user experiences. The API Exchange includes state-of-the-art APIs for onboarding app and API providers, validation and federation of app usage, metadata management, logging and rating of app usage and cross-provider billing for financial settlement between providers. The API Exchange will allow operators to easily build new distribution channels and will allow developers to work directly with operators to expand their reach to the global pool of subscribers; and consumers.

"Openness and interoperability are at the core of our approach to innovation, which is why we’re actively collaborating with Apigee to develop APIs that empower developers to easily integrate AT&T network services and intelligence into their apps more quickly than ever before,” notes Abhi Ingle, vice president of Ecosystem and Innovation at AT&T. "The Apigee API Exchange now delivers important API interoperability that we believe will extend network innovation and reach for operators worldwide." 

Kapoor adds, “With the introduction of the API Exchange, Apigee is further extending its API leadership with a solution that enables businesses to seamlessly share data and services through apps. The API Exchange is positioned to dramatically simplify and accelerate the development and use of API-powered apps within the global marketplace.”

That says it all - what's left is to get those developers on board and get them started with the API Exchange.

Edited by Brooke Neuman

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