Today in APIs: Oceanleap Plunges Into API Platform for Wearables

Oceanleap builds an API platform for an anticipated flood of wearable devices. The Orwellian side to the IoT. Plus: Marketing firms are mining your selfies, and hackers aim to help stop the spread of ebola.

Oceanleap Offers Plunge into Wearables with API Platform

Oceanleap has just released a platform aimed at integrating data from wearables in sporting, health, fitness, and fashion. It enables developers to create apps that will work across a range of wearables. While Apple has grabbed the lion's share of media attention with its watch, that won't always be the case.

oceanleap

As Ingrid Lundgren writes in Techcrunch, Oceanleap's premise is that there will be not just watches but thousands of wearables flooding the market soon, requiring a platform to make integration a snap:

Oceanleap is built around a REST API, and virtually anything, written in any programming language, which can be constructed around an HTTP request, can be incorporated. This includes JavaScript, data that works across both websites and mobile apps and data for analytics tracking. The Oceanleap platform also lets developers incorporate features that utilise a device’s sensor framework. Developers can also include features to monitor activity types, run leaderboards, add in gamification elements, and generate notifications, with further specifications, such as APIs to sync with Apple’s Healthkit, still being added to the several pre-built functions and code on there already.

Code samples are available at Oceanleap, along with other tools for signup and information on pricing.

The IoT: Utopia or Dystopia?

The IoT is being sold to developers, entrepreneurs and businesses as a digital gold rush. And it's being sold to consumers as the new new thing. Every object will be smart, talking to each other, and serving consumers in beneficial ways we can only dimly imagine. Maybe. But it may also represent a leap forward into a more hyperorganized society, a new step to our current reality where privacy is already disappearing, decisions over creditworthiness and even employability are increasingly and even exclusively made by algorithms. Jon Evans writes in Techcrunch about a few aspects of the dark side, including this one:

The fundamental issue here is that the Internet of Things will not have a standard set of open APIs for consumers. (Well, there’s ThingSpeak, but it’s not exactly widely supported.) You can’t get your Tesla to dump all of its data to a server you specify. While Nest has a public API, they maintain gatekeeper control over it. (You may think: “Of course!” — but imagine being told that you can’t use Safari to access any Google services without Apple’s explicit consent and approval.) When you buy a Smart Thing, you get locked into its software ecosystem, which is controlled by its manufacturer, whether you like it or not.

It's not hard to create a list of problem types: Some expensive smart things, like current expensive things (cars, houses, etc.) will be partially owned by creditors, and their ability to repossess them by halting their function when you miss a payment will constitute a new level of power. (What happens if your furnace doesn't turn on in January in the Northeast because you have missed a mortgage payment?) Second, those IoTs will watch and record your every move and routine; we may reach an entirely new and ominous meaning to the famous concept, the power of habit. Third, who is responsible when things go wrong, when a self driving car kills someone, for example? This is just a beginning list, where we could ask basic questions: smart in the service of whom? Smart under what conditions? And what vulnerabilities is society exposed to as our smart IoTs are subject not just to individual hacks but to hacks across massive numbers of objects (such as thousands of cars suddenly unable to work, for example)?

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Greg Bates A writer for Programmableweb since 2012, Greg is a freelance writer and a maniacal editor of dissertations and term papers. - Follow me on Google+

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