API is an acronym for “Application Programing Interface”. This interface “enables companies to open up their applications’ data and functionality to external third-party developers, business partners, and internal departments within their companies. This allows services and products to communicate with each other and leverage each other’s data and functionality through a documented interface.”. Simply put, an API is a connector or bridge that allows for two different programs to communicate with each other. So, what does this have to do with control systems? well, everything. Modern controls systems like Argus and Johnson Controls use APIs to increase their functionality for the end user.

Looking deeper into real world examples, the Argus Controls API, it allows for a user to access real-time data from external sources like sensors, air handing equipment and other control systems. For example, the Argus API could pull temperature data from other manufacturers sensors and bring that data into its system, so the user can understand trends. The user can essentially gather data from countless, separate sources and then view it all on one computer interface.

Additional features include:

  • “Efficiently manage your system’s data in ways unique to your operation
  • Gain access to real-time information about your system
  • Dive deep and perform further analysis
  • Enable programmers and expert users to build and manage their own tools for analysis and decision making
  • Authentication for added security”

Now that you have a basic understanding of APIs and why they are useful, you should absorb one more point; each time you buy a new mechanical system, computer, or software ask if it is able to communicate via an API. If the answer is no, look elsewhere.

The latest technology is outdated tomorrow if it’s not able to learn today!

Contact TC Controls if you are interested in incorporating a smart automation system that utilizes robust, widely compatible APIs.