API Meetup During Mobile World Congress Focuses on Smart Cities and APIs

This year’s Mobile World Congress, to be held in Barcelona from Feb 22 - 25, is set to see much of the agenda expand beyond mobile and address the Industrial Internet of Things, wearables, and smart city use cases. An API meetup event open to anyone in Barcelona at the time will focus on mobile, APIs and smart cities and include speakers from Barcelona City, Built.io, Stripe, and WIP Factory, amongst others.

The APIs and Smart Cities in a Mobile World API meetup will be held on Monday, February 22nd at the Barcelona offices of 3scale. As a regular ProgrammableWeb writer, I was asked to host the event, following a number of articles on smart cities I have written for this site, including research into the developer adoption growth of London city transport aggregator TransportAPI, platform initiatives from Flowthings and FIWARE, and a look at how smart cities are promoting API usage.

The event starts with an overview from Joaquim Alvarez, a Digital Business Strategist for Barcelona City Council. Alvarez has been central to Barcelona’s global recognition as a smart city leader, and is expected to outline the current council’s forward agenda in the smart city space. Following Alvarez’s keynotes, speakers from Built.io, 3scale, Stripe and Twitter will present on how to leverage their technologies to create a new generation of smart city products and services. A panel with WIP Factory, and BeyondCurious will then share ways that developers and startups can participate in the smart city economy, expected to be worth upwards of $147 billion within the next five years, according to Markets and Markets.

The API meetup event reflects a shift in how the Mobile World Congress will need to broaden its remit this year, as mobile is displaced by a widening conversation in which business and enterprise look for solutions that encompass the Internet of Things, smart cities, and wearables. Open source IoT and Smart Cities API platform FIWARE, for example, will be hosting demonstrations at the event to showcase how APIs are driving new mobile initiatives in the agricultural industry. FIWARE’s demonstration will be part of the Innovation City area.

“The GSMA Innovation City will showcase the very latest in cutting-edge, Operator-led IoT solutions,” says Graham Trickey, Head of Connected Living Programme at GSMA, which runs the Mobile World Congress. “Mobile operators deliver value beyond basic connection by offering high quality service management, responsive customer service, end to end service security, billing & charging and big data solutions, enabling them to be the most valuable ecosystem business partners.” The comment reflects the repositioning of mobile stakeholders to own the IoT space as well.

Behind such a move, one thing will be certain: APIs will still be the enabler for mobile, IoT, smart cities and wearable technologies. As industrial and consumer hardware continue to advance at a rapid pace, APIs will become even more essential: the interface and IoT-specific hardware may change, but consistent underlying access to a standard API and its datastore and capabilities will be what allows startups and enterprise alike to take advantage of new modes of communication.

Interested participants can register to attend on Eventbrite. Two free workshops will be held immediately before the API meetup, looking at API management with 3scale and connecting cities into cloud-based workflows with Built.io.

Mark Boyd is a ProgrammableWeb writer covering breaking news, API business strategies and models, open data, and smart cities.

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