Part 1: API Driven IoT & M2M
EMnify has developed its own RESTful API from the ground up to enable you to integrate your existing business management systems with our connectivity management platform. It was purpose built so you can control, manage and deploy your IoT & M2M product and services efficiently.
We want you to get the most out of integrating with our platform, so we’ve developed a four-part blog series that will deliver a detailed overview of the EMnify application programming interface, followed by three technical posts that will further explore integration possibilities and benefits.
What is an API?
An application programming interface, or API, is a software interface that enables backend communication between programs and applications. It enables controlled integration of these programs or applications into your system. It helps businesses run their companies more efficiently, be agile to changes in technology, and helps to maintain oversight and control of products and services. Without APIs, you run the risk of your business becoming stagnant. They help your business remain flexible by allowing you to access and integrate with the latest technologies without disrupting existing, well-functioning systems. APIs enable IoT developers to create a variety of powerful and diverse integrations, including automation for IoT/M2M devices, communication with devices through methods like SMS & USSD, and enables monetization. Each of these three topics will be explored further in technical detail through the EMnify API Blog Series.
What is the EMnify API?
The EMnify API is an abstraction layer for IoT & M2M connectivity, and works in combination with the EMnify SIM.* When you integrate the EMnify API into your existing IT systems, it enhances decision making and enriches user experiences. The EMnify API is built to enable quick integration of IoT & M2M products and services. It is a RESTful API, which makes it easy for any web developer to understand and work with. GSM networks use various communication protocols that require specialized software and developer knowledge to work with them, while EMnify brings an abstraction layer that hides protocol complexity and makes the API integration simple. Since EMnify’s RESTful API was purpose built for IoT & M2M connectivity, communication with the API is done over HTTP(s) requests which can be understood by any HTTP client implementations. JSON is implemented to return all responses from the API, including alerts and errors. For detailed information on the API integration process, visit our GitHub Page.
*For more information on the EMnify SIM, check out our previous blog post SIM Form Factors Explained
A fleet tracking company who supplies GPS trackers has built a customer portal that includes details about each tracking device. With the EMnify API integrated into their system, they can pull real-time device connectivity information, usage and cost metrics for the device. The last location of the tracker is also recorded by cell ID, so the company can pull backup information in case the tracker goes offline or loses GPS coverage (e.g., the tracker is located inside a building with poor reception). This empowers the customer with information they need to make smarter business decisions, track data consumption, and run troubleshooting on devices that may lose connectivity.
The Power of API Integration
After you have integrated with the EMnify API, connectivity information is available for your IoT/M2M device through the EMnify SIM no matter which cellular networks are visited. Additionally, your SIM profile, including IP address and network layout, remain intact regardless of the visited network. Having one carrier for global connectivity reduces operational costs by streamlining network access. EMnify provides unified access to radio networks, meaning that we expand and unify the capabilities of all networks through our platform. With our globally distributed infrastructure for mobile transport, we also enable you to achieve low-latency network access and high quality of service over all visited regions.
Managing all aspects of device connectivity from your own application is a useful, sustainable and scalable resource. In addition to auto-provisioning SIMs, auto-managing connectivity, and auto-deploying products or services, integration enhances troubleshooting and diagnostic capabilities, thereby optimizing your customer support process. Using the EMnify API, you can automate your complete deployment procedure, allowing delivery of IoT/M2M devices with built-in connectivity. Starting from SIM card logistics to factory SIM assembly, to automated connectivity testing, and real-time automated activation of the SIM once the device is turned on by the end user, integration makes streamlining easy.
Payment solutions can also be integrated with the EMnify API. You can activate, suspend and reactivate network connectivity, check usage costs and provision network access in accordance with your customer’s contracts and project requirements.
The same fleet tracking company offers services in both the United States and Mexico. When using traditional mobile operators, the company would potentially need to employ two or more carriers (one or more in each country to cover the network range required) to ensure lower priced data rates and local network access. Each carrier would offer different APIs (if they were offered at all), with different features and functionalities. Information for each of the SIM cards would also have distinct service profiles, meaning service would not be seamless between both countries. Furthermore, API integration for both operators would most likely be complex, and require twice as much time and resource for long term maintenance.
Additionally, with a different provider in each country, the fleet tracking company is bound to localized roll-outs. Scaling to a new market geographically, like Canada, would mean searching for a new mobile operator, testing connectivity, and a new integration process. This puts a further strain on time and resources, increase complexity, and delays scalable deployment.
Now that you have a better understanding of what an API is, and what the EMnify platform can do your for your IoT/M2M product or service, we will continue our blog series with three technical posts. These will describe the integration of several features which are important to many IoT businesses including auto-provisioning over API, how to use communication methods such as SMS and USSD over the API, and how to use the power of an API to monetize your product or service.
Check back soon for parts 2, 3 and 4 of our blog series.