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What is an API and why is it useful in my properties?

You may have seen or heard the acronym API, which stands for Application Programming Interface. But what is an API exactly, and what use is it to you in your property? We take a look at these questions in this blog post.

In today’s properties, there are usually a number of systems installed that continuously collect a great deal of valuable data about how your property is used. This may include, for example, details about which rooms have been used during the last twenty-four hours to optimize cleaning or information about how the use of the premises can be controlled to save energy. This kind of data is valuable, provided it can be extracted from systems and used correctly.

However, at present, it is quite common that the data remains in the systems. You may even invest in a separate system for measuring, to collect data about occupancy, temperature, air quality, etc., even though the data is actually already available in the property via the indoor climate system.

In the construction industry, we have been familiar with communication protocols such as Modbus, BACnet and KNX, which are used to connect the property’s systems to a master system, for some time. These communication protocols are not always the most efficient to manage large amounts of data that will later be used by another type of application other than a traditional master system.

In a connected society, even the buildings we occupy are connected and the expression “smart buildings” is now the norm rather than the exception. When we create these smart buildings with these intelligent applications, programmers suddenly start to take an interest, who perhaps are not used to our traditional communication protocols. They expect to be able to extract data from the building’s many systems in a straightforward way.

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APIs makes it easy to use data from different systems

API is a type of protocol that enables applications and programs to communicate with each other. Choosing systems in the building with open, standardized APIs, such as a REST API, you can ensure the systems are prepared to deliver data in a way that is well known to most programmers. It is easy to understand and uncomplicated to build applications for, and it is simple to use data from the property’s different systems in the same application.

By choosing indoor climate systems with APIs as an alternative or supplement to the traditional communication protocols, your property will be prepared to deliver data to all the smart applications you may want to develop. You can use all the data the property’s indoor climate system gathers to create added value in the property. This may be a question of applications for monitoring and optimizing the property or individual control of the indoor climate, only your imagination sets the boundaries

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