The Value in Leveraging API Power
Custom programming or system configuration is the key variable in the overall success of the system, as fittingly stated in an old proverb, “a chain is only as strong as its weakest link.” In order to get the most out of existing equipment, device users need to be able to leverage the devices’ external API (Application Programming Interface). An API provides the commands and responses that allow third-party entities, such as control systems or software applications, to communicate and exchange information with the device. Along with upgrades to device features, firmware updates may also reveal added integration opportunities via API enhancements.
More often than not, the go-to solution for a system that is not satisfying users’ needs is to purchase new equipment and start over with a new installation. Tapping into an API can provide the ability to repurpose existing equipment to address new needs through cost-effective software upgrades in lieu of discarding functional hardware and incurring design, installation, and procurement costs. One example can be seen in leveraging the capabilities of hardware codecs.
With the move to software conferencing, an installed codec along with accompanying cameras seems to have diminished in value. However, the opportunity to maintain the existing video infrastructure and camera control through the codec hardware is possible, despite the codec seldom being used for its primary function of video calling. Rather than purchasing new cameras and switching equipment, camera control and source routing can be supported via the codec’s API with the codec output connected to PC or unified communications appliance supporting software conferencing.
The value of buildings upon the existing hardware solution is realized not only through the cost savings of avoiding new equipment purchases and accompanying installation but also by maintaining familiarity and consistency with the established user interface and functionality standards.
The ability to implement an integrated system from a single device that can be programmed or configured to support both audio and control is a seemingly efficient and cost-effective way to get more from existing hardware and minimize the effort and expense of additional equipment, design, and installation.
The relevance of these ideas brings to light the value of control, programming, and the power of an API. In addition, creative software solutions help effectively address clients’ needs without unnecessary cost, offset the impact of hardware backorders (caused by increased demand, difficulties in supply chain, chip shortages, etc.), and protect manufacturers’ brands.