The value of environmental monitoring systems through application programming interfaces

Sep 21, 2022

What is a REST API and why should I care?

Figure 1: Setra CEMS architecture with REST API client examples.

Figure 1: Setra CEMS architecture with REST API client examples.

Awareness and use of APIs have exploded in recent years. Originally the domain of the software development community, these powerful interoperability enablers are now at the forefront of web, cloud-based, and mobile application development.

Although APIs have been around for decades, their surge in popularity and standardization can largely be attributed to two major game-changing technological and cultural events.

  1. The 2006 launch by Amazon Web Services of its S3 storage service (Simple Storage Service), the first of its cloud computing services. Amazon S3 was offered through a simple interface (a REST API) for storing and retrieving data via the web. This provided developers with an easy-to-use, scalable, and inexpensive storage infrastructure service identical to Amazon’s internal IT. S3 was quickly followed by Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2), which offered compute capacity of varying sizes using a similar REST API approach. These two new web services from Amazon launched the cloud computing industry and, at the same time, created the means by which REST APIs would soon dominate the web services landscape at the expense of a plethora of more complex pre-existing standards.
  2. The 2007 launch of the Apple iPhone. The huge success of Apple’s new class of computing platform has created huge demand for smart phones, mobile applications and the underlying need for access to content and data for this burgeoning new market. . Approaches and mechanisms for distributing content to websites needed to be extended to distributing content to mobile devices and apps.

The result of these developments was the rapid establishment of REST APIs as the de facto industry standard.

REST API – stands for REpresentational State Transfer and provides data using lightweight JSON format. The vast majority of APIs use this standard because it provides fast performance, reliability, and scalability.

No need to reinvent the wheel.

Standardized APIs enable complementary software functionality to interact robustly within and between applications, locally or over the Internet. These applications increasingly come from different vendors, each with specialized expertise and capabilities. API stores are now commonplace, where collaboration and interaction between potential API consumers and API providers occurs, fostering thriving API communities and solution ecosystems. Benefiting from this interface standardization and the enormous variety of services and data sources available, developers and end users can now choose between the best solution components and easily integrate them to deliver new functionality and business value. .

CEMS REST API – The simple, powerful and reliable solution for integration with EMS

A practical example. If you need secure and standardized access to information from a cloud database filled with data from sensors and instruments in critical environments such as clean rooms, Setra CEMS REST API is your answer. Examples of candidate client applications: historians/data lakes, supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems, quality management systems (QMS), manufacturing execution systems (MES), systems Statistical Process Control (SPC), Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS), Distributed Control Systems (DCS), Mobile Apps and a myriad of others.

As shown in Figure 1, parameters such as temperatures, relative humidity levels, differential pressures, air velocities, and particle counts (and any third-party data sources from analog communications, Modbus and BACnet) can be aggregated and sent via the Setra Edge gateway. device to Setra’s cloud-based CEMS platform. This information is encrypted to ensure data integrity during transit.

The CEMS server integrates a rich API allowing duly authorized client applications to access
operations that can be applied to a wide range of resources. These resources are accessible via HTTP
Methods such as GET and POST – see Figure 2.

Figure 2: An example HTTP GET method to trigger a time series data read operation.

Figure 2: An example HTTP GET method to trigger a time series data read operation.

APIs, the workhorse of digital transformation and Pharma 4.0

The adoption and exploitation of such powerful contemporary open software technologies underpins far-reaching industry initiatives such as digital transformation and Pharma 4.0. As the industry evolves to produce smaller batches and personalized drugs, the amount of associated information to manage will increase dramatically. APIs will break down silos within and between organizations by creating bridges between industry, regulators, healthcare and all other stakeholders. In practical terms, this means more connectivity, more productivity, easier compliance, and bringing together production information to respond to issues as they arise.

GET with the program

If you want to test the powerful capabilities of the Setra CEMS REST API by accessing a comprehensive list of resources and operations as well as interactive JSON scripts, click here.

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