The Basics of an API within the Logistics Industry

APIs are so boring to talk about….yet vital to time-critical shipping.

Even the definition of API – application programming interface – makes most of us want to yawn, and justifiably so. In layman's terms, an API is a set of functions or procedures used by computer programs to access operating system services, software libraries, or other systems.

While that doesn't excite most people, the engineers at Airspace Technologies find APIs exciting because, in simple terms, they enable machines to talk to both machines and people. This communication eliminates the chain of phone calls, which eliminates the risk of human error — therefore allowing people to handle higher-value tasks, like assisting customers with some of their most critical needs.


Transporting shipments as fast as possible can be really difficult without APIs

The difference between "as fast as possible" and "trying hard to get it there on time" is enormous. In the former, there are no excuses. Multiple moving pieces must mesh perfectly. In the latter, the idea is, "we hoped it would go as planned." That's not good enough, and that's one of the reasons we utilize APIs today.

One way to think about APIs is by comparing them to Lego bricks. Who doesn't love Legos? These bricks have a universal and straightforward way to connect through multiple round studs on every piece, which can be compared to an API. This provides a simple and structured approach to allow pieces to be built together for different purposes. Similarly, our software connects together through APIs to create efficiencies and accuracy on every shipment.

In time-critical shipping, APIs enable the sharing of real-time information. An API means you can get critical information, in real-time, on your laptop, your desktop, your phone, your handheld device … pretty much anything except a chalkboard. Secure link, Amazon Alexa, you name it. Imagine this: "Hey Alexa, let me know when my package gets off the airplane .. and then when it's five miles away." It's not a dream; Airspace is doing this today.


HubSpot Video


APIs are also more secure

Most shipping companies use a technology called electronic data interchange (EDI), which was developed in the 1960s. This used to be the most technologically advanced way to move digital information. Now EDIs can be compared to the telegraph. It works, but it's slow and very insecure, and of course, it only works if you have a telegraph machine on both ends. API is far more secure and puts the information you want on any device. Plus with EDI you're never really sure if your data ever got there. It's like mailing a letter to someone versus sending and an email with a read receipt.

Does it make sense to trust your critical shipping needs to archaic communication methods that are slow, insecure, inconvenient, and haphazard? If you want technology that makes a difference, including advanced APIs, Airspace Technologies is your only choice. Bring us the impossible – and watch us work!


Want to learn more about APIs? Reach out today!



Subscribe to Blog