This year at APIDays in Paris I joined 1000+ developers, architects, and innovation managers to talk about the API and microservices economy. I gave two talks, but before I get to those I wanted to touch on some of the interesting things I saw there.
Key Takeaways From APIDays Paris
One of the most useful tools I learned about was Shippo, which is a logistics and shipping API that makes shipping cheap and easy for e-commerce stores. I enjoyed VP of Engineering Sin-Mei Tsai’s talk, the Benefits of Logistics.
The biggest insight I walked away with is that one of the hardest things to do is get certified to print labels, which is to say the US post office (and other shipping vendors) isn’t really set up to effectively address the needs of small businesses. So even if you’re not using Shippo (or similar APIs) for the technology aspect, utilizing it to streamline the legal certifications alone is worth it. Beyond that, Shippo unifies every headache-y part of implementing shipping APIs into your product and it was fascinating to hear them solve those problems.
A Social Robot
Among the most technophilic and interesting things I saw was a ‘Social Robot’ named Pepper (@PepperTheRobot), which is essentially a programmable robot powered by REST APIs and SDKs. It uses machine vision, machine learning, and sophisticated hardware to look at, recognize, and distinguish faces. It speaks and understands natural language, and if you’re talking to it, it will look at you and track your movement. It’s completely programmable, which means it can easily run workflows from Built.io Flow.
Current marketplace use cases for Pepper are live at the equivalent of Best Buy in France, where they’ve deployed a couple of them in-store to perform demos that use connected light bulbs to engage consumers. While that’s fun, I immediately think of workplace scenarios where these robots could really shine.
- Connected Hospitality Pepper would be perfect in a hotel setting as a concierge, the ultimate addendum to our connected hospitality experience we put together at API World / Integrate. Imagine it walking you to your room and serving you your drink of choice. Yes, please.
- Digital Enterprise Imagine giving Alexa a body. You could promote your RL personal assistant and get them to handle financials and instead have the Social Robot answer doors, get mail, and serve lunch. Or more likely, it could sit in on meetings, set up calendar invites and spit out analytics and metrics.
A Brief Recap of my Talks
AI is my CoPilot
We as an industry spend a lot of money on integration. Just this past week alone there were 43,600+ jobs available on Indeed for an integration engineer. Close to 38,000 of those have a minimum salary of $75,000, which means we’re at a combined salary of about 2.8 billion dollars - And that’s just for jobs that are posted on Indeed. This does not include the cost of productivity and technology required to build and manage integrations.
If we as an industry started to add AI to the way that we build and manage integrations, we might be able to save ourselves a ton of money in the long term. Imagine talking to a computer and saying, “I need you to integrate Salesforce, Email, and Cisco Spark to set up live reporting.” What could you do with all the time saved?
See my slides here.
How Tesla Could Bring About The Downfall Of Civilization
In 2014, there were approximately 1.2 billion cars on the road in the world. The potential for all of those cars to be threat vectors for hackers to infiltrate is pretty big and potentially devastating.
Remember the DNS hack a few months back? It occurred because 150,000 Internet-connected closed-circuit televisions were compromised to create a bot net. Then they were used in the largest Distributed Denial Of Service (DDOS) attack in history. The attack took down Twitter, Spotify, Box, Github, PayPal, Airbnb, and Pinterest (to name a few). For a little while, in a way, the world seemed to stop spinning. If that happened with just 150,000 CCTVs, think about what could happen if you take the 1.2 billion cars on the road that are largely unprotected? That’s a much bigger bot net that could contribute to a lot more harm.
See my slides here for more info and my thoughts on what we can do to prevent the end of civilization.