APIthon, Pakistan’s first API-based hackathon, to happen in January in Lahore

By Shaoor Munir on
December 22, 2017
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Abacus Consulting has opened registration for APIthon, Pakistan’s first-ever API-based hackathon. Being held from 13th to 14 January in Lahore, the hackathon will focus on mentoring startups how to integrate APIs in a practical business environment to improve upon existing services or to come up with new and innovative ideas. Apigee, Telenor, Momentum and JS Bank are the partners in the hackathon, helping startups use their APIs to better understand the working and benefits of using this technology in their platforms.

What are APIs and why should you care?

An API, or an application program interface, is used to allow the capabilities of one computer program to be used by another program. Think of how an application runs on an Android phone, it makes use of different APIs provided by it to run its functions, makes different threads, open files, launch activities and what not.

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Image Source: gepardenforelle

This same concept is now being applied to web-based applications. Have you ever come across an application which shows a destination or address through Google Maps? That application uses an API by Google Maps service. You can find endless uses of APIs around the Internet if you know what to look for.

How does an API work?

APIs work in a number of different ways. It can be used to expose internal data to other programs. An example of this is Uber using the Google Maps APIs. So instead of having to create their own maps and wasting valuable time and resources required for the whole process, Uber just plugs in Google’s API with their own algorithms and are able to provide their customers with the latest and greatest Google maps right in their own application.

Another approach which APIs take is exposing processing power and computational resources. Take the above example of Uber and Google. On one hand, where Uber uses Google’s map data to show their customers the real time location of drivers, Google Maps also make use of Uber API to provide their users with some nifty little features. Whenever a user selects a destination, Google tells the Uber API information regarding user’s current location and their destination. In return, Uber does all the processing at their end and return the cost of a ride from user’s current location to their destination, along with information about how far is the nearest Uber driver. All the processing is done at Uber’s end and Google Maps can simply show the result in a neat little window.

APIs are going to be the future

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Using an API-driven business model, a number of different companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter have experienced tremendous growth in their revenue streams.

APIs provide newcomers in the industry a great starting point to kick off their enterprise. While making use of currently available APIs, they can build on the work previously done and do new and exciting things with it. Rapid progression of knowledge and quick advancements are dependent on making proper and effective use of existing APIs. Using an API-driven business model, a number of different companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter have experienced tremendous growth in their revenue stream, have helped the developer community, and are significantly improving the customer experience through encouraging cooperation between different online platforms.

Role of APIthon in Pakistan’s economy

APIthon

Identifying the importance and need of APIs in the booming startup industry of Pakistan, Abacus Consulting has come forward with a number of partners to launch the first API-based hackathon in Pakistan. In addition to Momentum Tech Conference, Telenor, Apigee and JS Bank are also coming on board as partners. The two-day long competition will focus on 12-15 different tech startups, who will be tasked to use the Open APIs provided by the partners to build innovative products. Through this hackathon, the startups will get the first-hand experience of using openly available APIs to construct new and meaningful applications.

With the world moving towards a digital economy, connectivity among different services is a key and no company wants to be left alone in the new digital world. Talking about the importance of this hackathon in teaching new startups the concept interoperability, Abbas Khan, Managing Director of Abacus Consulting said:

“Nearly 25% of the world’s economy is now said to be digital, and, the digital wave is spreading faster than ever before. In the digital economy, companies MUST connect directly with partners, suppliers, customers and the community at large. Anyone who fails to establish connectivity will be simply not transacted in the digital world.”

He further added,

“Abacus and Google are working with customers to connect through transforming their approach to API Management. We are proud to launch our first APIthon which we hope will be a showcase of the endless possibilities of building value through API’s. We hope to bring together large enterprises with small innovators, unveil the magic of digital connectivity and inspire many others to embrace the digital opportunity.”

Partnering up with established companies like Telenor, Apigee and JS Bank opens up the doors for new entrants in the startup ecosystem to learn the proper and effective use of their Open APIs, thus allowing them to coordinate and work on advancing the entrepreneurial scene in Pakistan. Shoaib Khan, VP Financial Services and Digital, Abacus Consulting, threw more light over the efforts of APIthon to bring startups in contact with such established companies by saying:

“By harnessing the power of open APIs coupled with intelligent, secure API management system, startups and corporations will have endless opportunities to mutually design and explore an ecosystem focused on disruption and experimentation – an ecosystem that will continue to grow long after the APIthon.”

Competition details and registration

APIthon will be held from 13th to 14th January in Lahore. The hackathon is targeting startup teams with 2-4 members but you can also apply individually. The teams will use the open APIs provided by the partners and use them to improve any existing service or come up with new services. Top three teams will get winner prizes and will take part in the Momentum Tech Conference being held in February 2018. The competition will be judged by various business leaders from the industry. It will also include speeches and chance of getting a mentor-ship from the best in technology.

Interested parties can visit APIthon’s homepage to register right now. Registration is completely free of charge and open to anyone interested in the competition.

TechJuice is the media partner of APIthon.

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