"That's, I think, the essential part of open innovation," De Boer said. "You open up, but in a fair away -that's the first thing that we learned."
The other lesson is to "make it as easy as possible" to use the APIs he adds: Providing guides and example source code that software developers can use as a jumping-off point.
Ease of use on a technical level is also a concern, De Boer said. When TomTom first began its API journey, it relied exclusively on SOAP to expose functionality.
"Along the way, we quickly found that we had to move into RESTFul APIs and work with JSON because the younger developers would not really enjoy making a software application based on SOAP standards," De Boer said.
("Of course we also need to still use SOAP because we have these big customers with traditional integrations and they can only talk SOAP," he added.)
Finally: The reliability and security of a service must be up to scratch, he says.
"If you look at the availability of the API, it is 99.99 per cent, and sometimes even higher. If you compared it to the industry standard of 99.6, and if you compare that to Google Maps with 99.8, that's really an API you can build a business around."
The WEBFLEET API adheres to the ISO 2701 standard, he added. "The ISO 2701 standard is today the hardest standard to comply to, security and privacy standards, and that helps especially for governmental agencies and emergency services, but also for the larger companies which don't want their information about, for example, which companies they visit gets on the street," De Boer said.
Source: Computerworld AU
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