BBVAOpen4U: What is the API Hour?
Jose Manuel: The API Hour is a pioneering event in Spain which was launched in 2012 due to growing interest around the world in APIs, a new technological concept which is rapidly changing the way business is done in Internet, launching disruptive startups and consolidating emerging technologies such as big data, Internet of things or the development of multi-platform apps which can be adapted to all existing devices and channels (smartphone, tablets, web, TV, wearables, etc.).
The API Economy is now a reality, and having an API has become a necessity both for start-ups and also for tech companies and large traditional companies which see Open Business as an excellent opportunity to reach customers with less effort and economic cost.
Carlos: In Spain, we also needed a meeting point, a community, an open forum for exchanging ideas where companies and professionals (CEOs, CIOs, CTOs and entrepreneurs) might be able to tell their experience and share it with other reference points of the API Economy or anyone who is starting off in this field.
In the API Hour, we have had excellent presentations and first rate speakers. It is the debates, however, and the networking spaces, in particular, which have done the most to enhance the event, and gain so much from the people taking part: The API Hour community. In total, over 30 companies have taken part, including Amazon, Telefónica, Tuenti, Idealista, Google, BBVA, PayPal, 11870, Ticketea, Nvivo, iZettle, Carriots, Minube, Beeva, and many more.
BBVAOpen4U: How did the API Hour come about? Why focus on APIs?
Carlos: The first of the 5 previous The API Hour events was held in October 2012, when the concept of API was not so well known outside the area of ICTs, and when Spain did not have any events which specialized in this sector. We thought it was a good opportunity to publicize a technology which was going to change the way businesses, services and products were carried out in Internet. We were the first to talk about the Programmable Web and Everything as a Service, and today we can safely say that many of the future projects which we presented in the initial events, have become true.
We have focused on APIs because they are a universal technology, and one which sustains most of the major technological trends of our time: apps, Big Data, Open Business, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, contextual apps, wearables, multi-channels/omni-channels, and, naturally, technological exponentiality, etc.
BBVAOpen4U: Who are the people behind the event?
Jose Manuel: Carlos Kuchkovsky, of Open Platform IT is the initial event promoter, along with José A. Gallego, from Open Innovation and, like Carlos, an essential part of the Digital Banking area of BBVA. It was awesome to spend time with them and to have the opportunity to get involved in The API Hour when really all we had was a gut feeling that these kinds of events could work. Now it is a reality with an important community made up of developers, tech specialists, companies, API providers and startups who encourage us to carry on year after year.
BBVAOpen4U: Looking back on previous The API Hour events…What do you think has been the most interesting thing so far and what is your opinion of the way the event has developed?
Carlos: The most interesting thing, and that motivates us most to continue with the event, is seeing how the APIs economy has matured in our country and how startups which we saw taking their first steps in the earliest events, have become big business success stories in which the APIfication strategy has played a crucial role.
BBVAOpen4U: What should attendees expect to see in the next event? Why is this year's event focused on Fintech?
Jose Manuel: After last year's event, which was focused on showing the potential of APIs as a driver of the technological revolution, we realized the important role they had to play within another type of revolution and one which is equally important: the financial revolution. Mobile payments, investment tools, financial apps, expense and saving tracking apps, digital banking: they are concepts which we hear about every day and in which APIs are always there playing a supporting role. We didn't want to wait any longer to address such an important subject, and we have had a lot of feedback.
The most important points of reference in the world of technology applied to finance will be with us on March 5: Kantox, TechRules, Fintonic, Bankimia, MyTAdvisor, Strands, Digital Origin, Beeva, Esri, BBVA, Redbooth as well as some of the best API hackers and digital entrepreneurs, who will explain how to take the best possible advantage of the power of APIs from a startup.
BBVAOpen4U: What do you expect in this year's event?
Jose Manuel: We expect a lot. It has been so well received by Fintech companies and by the general public, social media and sector professionals, that for the first time The API Hour is going to be held during a complete working day (morning and afternoon). This will offer all visitors the chance to attend talks and debates and to take part in the lunch-networking which we will be held at midday in the BBVA Innovation Center to exchange impressions, have a laid-back talk and get to know each other. We also want this special event to be full of interesting surprises – which, for the time keeping, we are keeping secret. We hope to see you all on March 5 at the BBVA Innovation Center.
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