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IPA or API – so what is the difference anyways?

Service Tracking Systems

What exactly is an API?

You may have heard them referred to as “digital handshakes” or “building blocks for development”. You might think it’s some new type of beer, or maybe you’ve never heard of them at all. The reality, though, is that with somewhere between 15,000 and 50,000 of them floating around the universe, the need to understand how APIs benefit the parking industry grows day-by-day.

An Application-Programming Interface (API) is a set of programming instructions and standards for accessing a web-based software application or web tool. A software company may choose to release its API to the public so that other software developers can design products that are powered by its service.

Why is that a useful feature?

For one, it opens possibilities that may have otherwise been limited. You may be able to move into markets that weren’t previously considered, and at very least, you’ll get a glimpse into how those other markets function. The existence of a large pool of APIs also allows for rapid innovation, and a level of scalability that wouldn’t exist otherwise.

Certainly, the future of API development lies with the Internet of Things (IoT), and product strategy for development and release. We’ll put it this way: If you were a company in the early 2000s trying to “make it big”, you wouldn’t have a chance if you didn’t have a website. Similarly, not having an API today is like having software that can’t communicate with the internet.

What does that mean for the parking industry?

Anything and everything you could imagine! Recently, a client came to us and asked if we could build an app: when a customer requests their vehicle, a shuttle bus would be dispatched to pick them up at their specific location, while also showing the location of the shuttle bus on a map for the customer to track as it moves along. For that project, we ended up using two different APIs: 1) the ability to request a vehicle with CVPS through their API, and 2) the ability to view where on a map the bus is at any given point, using the Google Maps API.

The possibilities for API usage within the parking industry are growing every day, and now make it possible to:

  • Easily integrate with parking reservation platforms
  • Request vehicles from a property app
  • Send data to a virtual warehouse for reporting

Along with many, many others.

About Service Tracking SystemsSTS Logo

Service Tracking Systems (STS) is a hospitality service technology company focused on solutions that increase productivity, reduce liabilities, track inventory and elevate the customer service experience. The company's fully integrated product line includes proprietary first-to-market applications such as today’s high-tech valet parking, bell-desk, vehicle inspection and room service management systems.

For more information, please visit: http://www.servicetrackingsystems.net/#Home

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