Blockchain and IoT: The future of API economy [3/3]
In the previous two series of blogs, I covered the genesis of API economy and then how does an organization roll out APIs faster. While writing, I was stuck with the thought - what else one can do with APIs and how will it power the future. Over the time, APIs and API economy will become pervasive as most organizations will start working with its suppliers and vendors as partners expanding their services to encompass the digital life of the consumer. There are talks about the next revolution in financial services on how banks will turn into utilities and expose their capabilities which can be used by fin tech companies to offer enriched services.
However, what I feel is the two technologies that are already unfolding will shape the world and show how business is done. These technologies will shape the API economy and the mainframe world significantly. In this third series, I will elaborate how blockchain and IoT revolution will enrich the API economy.
Blockchain: Simply put, it is an electronic ledger that is shared between peers and every change is transmitted to the blockchain record with each peer. Hence, everyone can see what changes are happening simultaneously. Also every record is hashed so that no peer can delete any record once it is on blockchains. There are many examples of how business can run faster and made cost-effective as the information is available in each of the nodes of the blockchain instantaneously. Moreover, since each transaction is validated and authenticated, pharma and food manufacturing companies will be able to track the ingredients of the product being supplied to them or they are in turn supplying to the next business in the chain.
I feel that there will be a huge impact on the APIs and mainframes systems. The existing processes will now need to work with the block chain networks to either pass information or receive information. This information exchange will happen through APIs on the mainframe platforms. Many of the mainframe intensive organizations will start running their blockchain networks on the mainframes because of faster hashing, quick encryption, and very high availability / scalability on mainframes. Whether blockchain runs on mainframes or outside, you need a robust set of APIs to expose and consume functionality and provide a link to the existing business processes. New business streams can be uncovered and these can be exposed to further enhance the API economy.
IoT revolution: Of course we have heard of multiple devices that talk to each other online to do businesses and capture and share information such as data on human body, objects, apparels, auto motives, consumer good, etc. We have also heard of connected cars /autonomous (self-driving) cars, refrigerators that can indicate when the food needs to be replenished, and TVs that can sense the audience and roll out appropriate contents. In factories, machinery parts can sense and send out signals for predictive maintenance. Oil and gas companies can remotely monitor and replenish the stock in their storage based on the level of fuel and provide predictive maintenance to critical equipment. Logistics companies can track and monitor the condition of goods in transit. Insurance companies can roll out usage-based insurance. We also know that these processes are typically running on mainframes.
All of this would require hundreds and billions of API calls and since 60 percent of critical data resides on mainframe, quite a significant percentage of it will end up with mainframes. Each device will transmit smaller payload of data, but multiple times. Hence, we need to build a robust set of APIs that can take the load when billions calls end up on the APIs on the mainframe for sending and receiving data. The resiliency of the mainframes and the security it provides will be tested when IoT devices start sending data. Then large analytics workloads will start running on the mainframes to process the data. The insights gained can be exposed through APIs.
I believe blockchain and IoTs will further enrich the API economy and drive more new types of workload on to the mainframes thereby opening up new revenue streams. As an organization, we have to be ready with our business process, technology, and organizations structure to respond to this new and varied type of business.