Picture this: What if the new LRS pagers you just purchased worked with your restaurant’s existing guest management system? What if your new table management solution integrated seamlessly with LRS trackers, giving you one system to manage orders, bump orders when ready and indicate where the guest is located?
Today’s B2B devices are becoming more connected and open to integrations with other services, giving business owners options for how they want to run and manage their business. Consolidated tools can also allow for an integrated back-end where data is combined for more in-depth analytics.
Creating a custom, unified solution may be simpler than one would think, given today’s tools are often built upon an open architecture that may be extended when connected with other tools via an application program interface (API).
APIs are the key
Connecting APIs from disparate systems can unite LRS devices into a cohesive “ecosystem of things.” Say, for example, you use a waitlist system that could be enhanced with the option of offering pagers to customers as a means to alert them when their service is ready. By connecting LRS’ paging API with your separate waitlist service, pagers may be assigned to a waiting guest, activated to page a guest and recognized as ‘returned’ and ‘seated’ all from that single waitlist application without needing to interface separately with the paging system’s transmitter panel. Now, the business has one system to manage a guest list, provide paging as an alternative to SMS texting, seat guests, record wait times and response times – all without having to swivel between multiple systems.
Connected systems can provide greater efficiency, help improve service, enhance analytics and provide new insights into how the business is running. When seeking to integrate solutions together, look for services that provide APIs. Think of an API as a language that allows one system or device to communicate with another, even when the two come from different vendors. APIs allow you to read or control attributes of a system or device from an outside application, such as an LRS paging system and a POS system.
Some APIs require a bit of programming or database updates, others do not. But either way, an API allows you to:
- Extend an existing solution with new device technology
- Utilize existing hardware and software in a new or different way
- Bridge existing and new solutions to harness the combined power of both
How APIs can extend your solution
LRS has always worked to support its hardware tools with application solutions, and adding the power and control of APIs to allow for flexibility in how you integrate LRS tools into your operations is the next big step.
That’s why we’re providing device-level APIs for our new guest pagers and table location devices. To integrate these devices into an existing ecosystem, customers can use the device APIs to operate a pager, initiate a guest page and retrieve important data. By invoking the API, another solution has the ability to send commands that LRS pagers understand.
Another scenario is if a business wants to leverage the powerful new analytics in LRS’ cloud software, but integrate that data into their own existing data repository. For example, the business may have data analytics software for tracking activities across many systems such as paging, POS, temperature systems, lighting systems and others. By adding LRS API calls, paging or tracking data may be added to that consolidated data tool, allowing it to be combined and analyzed for trends and insights.
The possibilities – and combinations – are endless
With APIs, customers can extend the life of their existing systems with an injection of new technology. Imagine…
- Integrating the latest LRS pagers into an existing point-of-sale or kitchen-display solution by using the LRS device API
- Connecting your kitchen display software with LRS location technology to expedite tableside delivery and increase speed of services
- Control the status of a table within a restaurant table management application remotely through an LRS table updater tool
- Analyze metrics from all operational systems in one place by using the cloud reporting API to retrieve data collected from LRS devices
These are just a few examples of what you might do, if your solution vendor provides device and reporting APIs. With such APIs, you can:
- Integrate new devices with existing systems
- Control multiple solutions from one dashboard
- Combine and compare data from devices almost anywhere
The result is a centrally-controlled, yet distributed solution with back-end monitoring and data analytics that provide real, actionable operational insights. That leads to efficiency, cost savings and a better-served customer.
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Michelle Strong is chief marketing officer at LRS and an advocate for meaningful customer engagement.