DeviceOps as an API: Ignore this Integration Compass at Your Peril

By Tony Lapolito

With EdgeIQ, you will never have to waste time building undifferentiated device management, integration, and automation software. EdgeIQ is the platform you need to accelerate time-to-market, differentiate against competitors, build stronger customer relationships, discover insights that fuel growth, and enable entirely new “as-a-service” business models. Find out how EdgeIQ can help you Join the Connected Product Economy.

Around 2002, Jeff Bezos issued his API-First Mandate. It went something like this, according to inside sources:

  • All teams will henceforth expose their data and functionality through service interfaces.
  • Teams must communicate with each other through these interfaces.
  • There will be no other form of interprocess communication allowed: no direct linking, no direct reads of another team’s data store, no shared-memory model, no back-doors whatsoever. The only communication allowed is via service interface calls over the network.
  • It doesn’t matter what technology they use. HTTP, Corba, Pubsub, custom protocols — doesn’t matter. Bezos doesn’t care.
  • All service interfaces, without exception, must be designed from the ground up to be externalizable. That is to say, the team must plan and design to be able to expose the interface to developers in the outside world. No exceptions.
  • Anyone who doesn’t do this will be fired.”

It was viewed as “so out there, so huge and eye-bulgingly ponderous," yet it became not only a guiding light for Amazon, but also for many other smart companies. It helped usher in a building- block view of application development (a.k.a. microservices) and cloud computing: the foundation of all digital transformation.

The device is the pasta. The data is the sauce.
Although Bezos’ pronouncement was 20 years ago, his advice still applies, especially when it comes to DeviceOps. Companies typically start out thinking almost solely about device management: the ability to provision devices, update their software, and make sure they are online. As companies mature toward full-fledged DeviceOps, they see they need to automate workflows or trigger events via two-way communications between their devices and their homegrown or commercial applications and services.

Eventually, companies mature to true DeviceOps and come to the realization that the genuine value lies in monetizing and controlling their data and building entirely new “as-a-service” lines of business that leave competitors in the dust. Once they come to this ultimate truth, they can’t wait to get there, so they need a platform that will accelerate time-to-market.

Remember that the device is the pasta. The data is the sauce. (And, yes, I’m Italian). But your data is the real pay dirt.

Choose an a la carte, open platform
The only way to start monetizing your data is to follow Bezos’ mandate and take an open, API- first approach with all the functionality and data associated with your devices available through services interfaces. This requires a DeviceOps platform that supports any device, protocol, or operating system (OS); is cloud-agnostic; and supports open data and communication exchanges among all your applications, embedded analytics and reporting systems, and so on.

The platform also should allow for à la carte usage so your company can progress along the Connected Product Maturity Curve, regardless of your existing infrastructure or business strategy. For example, you may need one solution for software updates, but you still want to take advantage of data orchestration so you can integrate device data with your services from AWS, Microsoft, Google, or any other enterprise application and data service you choose.

You may have an analytics or reporting system that you may want to trigger an event to run workflows or automate tasks. Or, you may want to send alerts and tickets created within CRM and field service platforms using your accounts and credentials. An à la carte system will let you pick and choose what you need — without starting from scratch or being locked into any specific vendor.

Use this compass as your guide
One of the main reasons I chose to join this company is that the EdgeIQ Platform is built from the ground up as an API-first, open platform. API-first is the cornerstone of our strategy; it should be yours, too, so you can do more than just manage your devices. Your priority should be to unlock the value in your data to deliver new products and services as quickly as possible.

What is required is N-S-E-W integration, and here’s how to get there:

  1. Start in the North with your devices — integrate with all of your devices running any protocol or OS, whether it’s a traffic light, a camera, a chip, or a delivery truck.
  2. Move on to the South and integrate with your commercial and customer applications to automate workflows and processes and increase efficiency.
  3. Next, look to the East for open data and communication with systems such as collaboration, communication, messaging, embedded device analytics, and so on.
  4. Think of the West as your foundation and choose a platform that is cloud agnostic. Again, you never want to be forced into vendor lock-in. Choice is always a good thing.


So, remember two things: API-first. Always. And the real value is in your data, not your devices. Use this DeviceOps compass as your guide, because the last thing you want is to get fired.

EdgeIQ is an API-first distributed software platform that provides the infrastructure to manage and integrate virtually any connected product and its data into business operations, infrastructure and customer ecosystems. EdgeIQ provides feature-rich, configurable device management, remote monitoring and orchestraBon soCware so that your organizaBon can focus on building innovaBve and engaging data-driven products at a lower cost and faster Bme to market. Get started on your DeviceOps journey today.

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