Cities need open APIs to be efficient

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The Climate Group has a new report out following up its seminal Smart2020 report, and the team is touting the benefits of open APIs (application interfaces) for creating more energy-efficient and smarter cities. The idea is that there can be a lot more innovation, at a lower cost and a faster pace when developers can use open APIs to create applications like a mobile app for the DMV or a website for the light rail system. Those applications can be the cornerstone of efficiency for cities, using data and networks to reduce driving, paperwork, waiting in lines, and all those other time-consuming annoyances of living in a big city.

The Climate Group says in its Information Marketplaces report that while there’s been a boom in city infrastructure organizations using open APIs, cities needs to take a more proactive approach in promoting and utilizing open APIs for city services. See the growth metrics below:

The report notes that the greatest increase from sectors using open APIs between 2009 and 2011 has been in city-based technologies:

  • Retail, with 550 percent growth in open APIs
  • Utilities, with 185 percent growth.
  • Transportation with 2300 percent growth
  • Government sector applications with 278 percent growth

Other interesting stats from the report include a look at the job benefits from the smart grid for cities. The Smart2020 report says:

  • The smart grid creates 50 percent more jobs than the average infrastructure project.
  • Smart grid initiatives have created over 12.000 jobs in Silicon Valley.
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