Open APIs and Digital Innovation

Open APIs and Digital Innovation

Within the construction industry, digital innovation has lagged behind in the adoption process. One of the reasons for this slow uptake is that the industry has a disjointed culture due to the number of disciplines, design to engineering, involved in the process of constructing a building. Numerous stakeholders being involved in the process, has made it hard to create a set of best practices for digital solutions. A method that can be applied to combat this issue is to use Open APIs for an easy exchange of data between different software applications. 

Open APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) provide a hook for users to access data and services. The API will have set methods that can be used to access data from a specific location that can be used in the development process. If they are ‘Open’ APIs they are accessible without authentication requirements, encouraging third party developers to create unique software integrations. 


Strategically, using an Open API in your application is a positive adoption as they are online products that must constantly be in a state of progress where they change to meet the needs of the business and users. As they are contributing to a feedback loop to make continuous improvements, they can be considered part of adopting an agile methodology.


Value Chain Graphic

Adoption of Open APIs within a company strategy within the built environment, allows for an ultimate level of developer flexibility when designing bespoke software for individual project needs. As well as reducing the friction when integrating between different software applications within the life cycle of a building. Using an API can reduce the chance of human errors, time requirements and increase cross collaboration between stakeholders. 

Jacobson, D., Brail, G. and Woods, D. (2012). APIs : a strategy guide. Sebastopol: O’reilly.