If your company has a mobile workforce, you know just how difficult it can be to connect with them while they are out on the road. They could be in your town or they could be in some remote part of the state or country. When you have something of importance to communicate with them, even with the speed of the internet, it could take more time than you have to spare. Why not let your web or network development team use one or more Application Programming Interfaces, APIs, that will work with or overlay the screen they are working with as you plug in new data? Actually, there are several kinds of APIs every mobile workforce should take advantage of and here are just a few of them.
What in the World Is an API?
Before getting into some of the more important APIs you should be using, let’s take a moment to look at exactly what they are. To name just a couple of the most common ones you have probably seen without knowing what they are, consider Google Maps or Outlook Calendar. How many times have you picked up your cell phone to access Google Maps to turn on the GPS for directions? That ‘connection’ is an API, an interface between Google Maps and your GPS app on the phone. Or, what about when you’ve ordered something on Amazon when an email appears in your inbox that a package is about to be delivered that day.
Those are very basic explanations about how an interface communicates with a website or an app. APIs bring information down to the user level with very little interaction on your part. In other words, they make life easier. It’s really just that simple, but so much more complex on the development end. Now let’s look at some of the more common APIs you might want your developer to customize for your company’s mobile workforce.
Best APIs for a Mobile Workforce
Bear in mind that the following APIs are not all-inclusive. There are so many more, many proprietaries to an industry, but if you have a mobile workforce of any kind, these are ‘must have’ APIs. They would include:
- Census API – Provides huge sets of databases which are especially useful for a mobile salesforce. Information in an API like this might have overlays of demographics, regional economics, and population. This type of interface pulls info from the .
- Weather API – Another extremely useful tool for a mobile workforce would be a . No matter where your teams are located, this interface will work with local weather forecasts and current conditions, so they can steer clear of dangerous weather. What comes to mind would be those instant tornadoes that crop up in the Midwest, often without any warning.
- Dropbox API – What business couldn’t operate without Dropbox? This is a place in the Cloud where files are stored and anyone given access can pull information from those files as needed. Much more efficient and certainly much faster and economical than faxing, traveling teams could scan hardcopy contracts, leave them in Dropbox to be pulled up and filed at the home office.
So, there you have just a few examples of the kinds of APIs any mobile workforce must use. In fact, you are probably using several of them each and every day without knowing you are doing so. Why not have your developer code one specifically for your company based on your needs? Wouldn’t a job-specific API make life so much easier on everyone involved?