Sunday, 16 December 2018

Middle Man Between your App and the Piggy Bank

by Chilan Mevinda Perera, Apigate Tech Evangelist

First of all, let me recite a period of time you, me and all our fellow developers went through. I don't have to know you, I just know we've all "been there, done that".

"While the entire neighborhood is engulfed in darkness, there's one small bright window at this ungodly hour. Stare through it you find our guy, toiling away at the keyboard, on caffeine, looking for that one missing comma, one semi-colon or one simple line that makes the program tick. Even they themselves have lost the count of the hours that went into the own little spark that happened in the head. After all the blood sweat and beers... I mean tears, you finally have your brain child! What then? What will justify the toil that went into this undertaking?"

Just sit back and think for a moment the options you have to address the dilemma. Obviously, a payment gateway but which one? Why not credit cards? They've been there forever and very secure for online transactions for the past few years. But put yourself in the shoes of a person who's just about to enter the credit card details into the little text box; that small moment of indecision could even lead to a change of heart. And today, where a street merchant selling rambutan has a QR code for accepting payments, you'll look like a typewriter next to the latest Alienware squinting for the CVV code.

So what technology addresses this problem? An API based payment gateway that allows you to monetize your services with flexibility, expose your app to a vast array of interconnected merchants, localize, tap into international markets, foreign exchange procedures and even tighten security with tokenization.

If you need to know the tech industry and the status APIs have built for themselves, you should read how Amazon went from great to greater under the leadership of Jeff Bezosaround year 2000. He issued a mandate where ALL service interfaces must be designed from the ground up to be externalized. To put it in simple terms; have APIs for every interface. And how did he make sure it was implemented? The end of the mandate reads, "Anyone who doesn’t do this will be fired.  Thank you; have a nice day!" You've seen for yourself the success of Amazon.

If you're still looking to justify the use of API based mobile payments, the game Clash of Clans made $1,118,457.00 in aSINGLE DAY just with IAP (In app purchases). Enough said?

APIs bring in standardization, decoupling and innovation to an organization. Richard Im has written a brilliant article regarding the value they create. Please check it out here.

Even if you have your mind set on utilizing an API gateway for payments, in this day and age, you're spoiled for choice! Each claim to be better than the other or offer some unique feature or higher security. Here I'll make an introduction to our DCB API. I wouldn't say it's better; that'll be too cheesy eh? What I'll do is tell you factually what it is, how it works and all that. I'll leave the comparison and judgement to you. If you want to save the time and the hassle, take my word, go ahead with ours, it's much, much better :D

For our coder younglings who haven't much experience with APIs, DCB (Direct Carrier Billing, the payment API) does what the name states, precisely. It charges the Carrier (the mobile service provider (Celcom, British Telecom, etc.)) directly on to the end-of-the-month mobile bill. If you integrate the DCB API service to your app, the users of your application have the option to tap a button and make micro payments on the amount you require to download; or pay for in app services (really the payment possibilities are endless) via the bill if you're a postpaid user. Hold your horses pre-paid users, because you can pay through your mobile credits as well.

What's honestly going through your head now? If I were you and I'm reading this as a 3rd party, I'll be thinking, "Yeah so you say, it's easier said than done". So how difficult is it to integrate Apigate APIs to your app? To understand that you'll need to understand our platform.

Our centralized platform, let's call it the "hub" has a global presence across four continents, thus many, many MNOs (110+ on this day and growing) are connected to this hub. On the other side of the hub, Apigate has again, many, many (200+ and growing) merchants, who have integrated their APIs to be utilized by anyone connected to the hub, again big number: 3.1 billion!

If you've integrated any simple RESTful API to your application and found it easy to use, it's the same in this massive platform. All you need is a DCB API request to be sent to the platform. You'll need to define subscriber messages (MT) and you're live!

It's not just the platform, we do on-the-ground activities so that our developer community gets hands on training on utilizing our services. If you've not heard the term RESTful APIs before, don't fret, we'll help you out. We also have a global developer/customer reach. Want to monetize through the MNOs in USA, typing away your code while in Malaysia? By all means. So, what's all this going to cost you? What would you prefer? Onetime payment or a subscription fee? No, forget all that; we provide our services to our developers at ZERO upfront costs with ZERO running/subscription costs. Our business model is B2B2C you see. We're the first B, you're the second, the C are the users of your app. When they're charged you get money, we get a smaller portion. The percentage really depends on region, hovering around 60-70% for you.

Have you seen a more financially fail-safe payment gateway?

Wednesday, 5 December 2018

Why APIs are Important to the Digital Economy

by Richard Im, Regional Director, Asia

From the recent TMForum’s Digital Transformation Asia conference in Kuala Lumpur, there was an underlying theme around APIs and how it was a critical enabler for many of the key topics from customer experience to operational transformation and digital marketplaces. Yet for many businesses looking at Digital Transformation, APIs are still an enigma.  So why are APIs so important?

Firstly, standardisation of APIs is crucial.  Today, in many business infrastructure we typically have many various systems from different vendor technologies all speaking different system languages.  So to enable the communications, we will need do a system integration. Now let’s use a simple analogy like a website that translates documents from English to French which would take lot of time and effort for an organisation to build.  Now imagine if you have multiple vendor systems from Huawei, Ericsson, IBM, Oracle etc all speaking different languages. It quickly become very complex to build this one translation, typically building a middleware layer or Enterprise Service Bus to create this translations for English to Chinese, Chinese to French, French to English and so on.  So with the complexity involved in translating the different languages and business rules etc, it quickly becomes a hindrance to change and agility in your organisations. The ability to adapt quickly is one of the key attributes to be successful in a dynamic digital market.  In my experience, this is the magic of APIs, the creation of a common language which systems across many various vendor technologies can use to communicate, share information and send instructions  creating new ways of doing business and services. 

Secondly, APIs decouple. It decouples applications to infrastructure, it decouples between different vendor technologies and begins to break down the barriers within your organisations across IT, Network, Applications, 3rd party partners, and so on. In doing so, this simple communication and connection leads to transparency and enables a new way of doing business, redefining your operations across a unified IT and Network infrastructure, automating business processes and onboarding your partners quicker leading to new business efficiency and agility.

Finally, APIs innovate. This new way of connecting and communicating across organisations, technologies and industries across different regions of the global market creates a new digital ecosystem, a new way for revenue to flow leading to new service innovations and business models we have not yet imagined. With this new wave of service innovations driving Industry 4.0 and new emerging technologies like AI, IoT, VR AR, Robotics etc we will face paradigm shift never experienced in our human history on how we live, communicate and collaborate in this digital society we are all building together. 

Monday, 3 December 2018

Trends at SMS & Messaging World 2018

by Matija Percan, Regional Director EMEA

SMS & Messaging World in London is the largest annual meeting for the messaging community including MNOs, wholesale carriers, aggregators, firewall vendors and OTTs.

© Capacity Magazine

Messaging & SMS World 2018 is the only forum where you can discuss new technologies and current development plans in AI, IoT and chatbots for SMS with some of the industry’s leading experts. It also incorporates the only awards ceremony celebrating high achievement within the Messaging & SMS ecosystem.

This year Infobip won four awards: Best Messaging API, Best Messaging Innovation – Carrier Solution, Best Anti-fraud Innovation, and Best SMS/A2P Provider for the EMEA region, and two awards took Mahindra Comviva, Yuboto and C3ntro Telecom. The Best global A2P provider this year went to Vodafone Carrier Services.

The event featured many interesting panels about evolution of messaging industry, RCS, AI, Chatbots IOT etc. There were interesting discussions around RCS, and it was not a surprise hearing that RCS is set to be worth $18 billion in revenue by 2023 – up from just $184 million in 2019, according to figures share by Lane prior to the panel. Currently, around 1.67 trillion application to person (A2P) messages were sent in 2017, but this is estimated to rise to 2.8 trillion by 2022.

© Capacity Magazine

Channels like Viber and WhatsApp aren't a direct replacement for SMS because they’ve priced it higher than SMS, it isn’t really a threat so RCS has a potential to become the most important channel in this industry.

© Capacity Magazine

Seeing the trends, Apigate is in line with the industry in offering different communication methods to customers and making their life easier in terms of offering a variety of different communication technologies. In next few years we will be able to do lot more with messaging that will give to customers of our brands much better user experience and better adoption of new technologies.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Tech in Asia '18, Jakarta

by Chilan Mevinda Perera


For those of you who don't know, or for those who are not Asian,  Tech in Asia (TiA) is the largest English language technology media focusing on Asia. They cover tech trends, startups, and big tech titans in the region.

I mean, Facebook co-founder, Eduardo Saverin, who is known to shy away from the limelight made a rare appearance on stage at Tech in Asia Singapore 2016! Need I say more?

Now to what it's really know for (specially among: time of the day confused, Red Bull drowning, eyes glued to the screen tech savvies like you and I); The Tech in Asia Conference. It kicked off in 2015 in Singapore and Jakarta and there's been nothing but success stories since then. That's enough history for a day! If you want to know more, Google is your friend.

Let's get back to the day, the 25th of October, the day after the latest Tech in Asia. Jakarta, well known for its "low-congestion on roads", must have bewildered the policemen over the 23rd and 24th for the unusually high traffic. With over 5000 people heading to the Jakarta Convention center to see the latest in the tech arena, it's no wonder! I was very lucky to be among those attendees.

After a quick registration, I went into the usually array of startup companies thoroughly pitching their ideas to likely investors. There were so many stalls I lost count.

First Impressions

I walked from door to door reading the summary on the banners they have posted. Of course, I was focusing on stalls which could add value to Apigate in the API business or vice versa, but did come across many interesting ideas.
When I say interesting, there were mind bogglingly brilliant pitches that's worthy of the statement "change the world". Do go on and check out the most outstanding of them here.

Apigate and the World of APIs

Brilliant they may be, but they did have to align with Apigate. So I adjusted my TiA name card, put on my Apigate lanyard and went after the people who could take Apigate to the next level. It was not that difficult. You see, we at Apigate address the entire industry from the individual freelancer to the most established enterprises. 
Before getting into a full blown tech description of what we do, let's take an IoT smart switch I saw there by a startup team. Tap a button on your Android app and magical fairies turn the light on your porch on. Fairly simple, right? But what if, you turn the light on using an SMS, permission granted based on where you're located, where there's no internet coverage, or you're all out of data. Still a little too simple you think? Our APIs are not only fully compatible with Android, we have a dedicated team of engineers managing an Android developer platform and providing tech support 24/7 free of charge! 
Then we come to vast array of third party APIs available. How about not only turning your TV on when you're close to home but also playing your favorite program, either your choice picked for you based on analytics in; yes we have iflix partnered with us! That's just the tip of the iceberg, lah! Oh wait, then there's the public APIs available on the market. Yes, they all can be integrated! Boleh, noh? 

TiA Evening Sessions

Getting back to the event, they had four stages with full blown conferences, speeches and panel discussions back to back for two days straight. The topics were mostly Indonesian market oriented but I haven't attended an event in my five year IT career that was so oriented to the present market! See it for yourself here.

So who's going to reap these benefits of APIs alongside Apigate? Well the start-ups, corporations and SME's below were the ones that would be mutually beneficial for both,

Sound the Battle Horn!

After a late, very tasty (and unhealthy!) lunch of a couple of hot-dogs, came the pitch battle at 4:00 PM. Had you wondered what a remake of the movie 300 would look like if it was made with techies? I caught the live show! Potential investors, international media and customers from across the globe were attacked like arrows from the Persians to to the Spartans, just that it was a good thing here!

There was an additional segment this time at TiA Jakarta. The very cheekily named “Speed Dating” zone, was an initiation for startups to pitch their ideas to the array of investors, who if inspired, will sponsor them to make their dreams a reality. Let’s not beat around the bush, startups aren’t a cheap business, especially considering the financial impact if they do fail. An entrepreneur is simply a person who pours his everything into the one venture he truly believes in. That includes his wealth, health, relationships, time and more. It isn’t typically possible to start a business without the dedication of all, notably one of the most emphasized reasons for failures of the masses. The demand for sponsorship was so high the only thing the Speed Dating zone reminded me was of Jakarta roads. On a personal note, I see initiating an entrepreneurship as people see durian. It’s a love-hate relationship isn’t it? You either go all in, or please don’t go in at all. 

Tending to Battle Scars

As I left the Jakarta Convention Center (I would've stayed for the music, but I was too sleep deprived and was slowly zombie-fying) after that adrenaline rush of the Arena Pitch Battle, all I could think about was the immense amount of knowledge that was shared for the past couple of days in the venue behind me. The number of startups, entrepreneurs and teams that got the support they needed to bring their dazzlingly innovative ideas to life must be countless. Who knows, the next Elon Musk might’ve been in there plotting his journey to Saturn. Or the next Mark Zuckerberg planning to interconnect the entire world. Maybe this spark was all that was needed for them. I could not help but feel deep gratitude for the TiA team for a magnificently organized event. Given their track record you probably didn’t need my opinion, did you?


Middle Man Between your App and the Piggy Bank

by Chilan Mevinda Perera , Apigate Tech Evangelist First of all, let me recite a period of time you, me and all our fellow developers ...