Resilience through innovation : The key to opening up network APIs

Telecom Lead Asia: In response to the challenge from OTT
players, operators must leverage innovation in order to differentiate their
services and rate-plans. To help develop the exciting new services and
applications which will lead to a level playing field, operators must allow
developers to connect to the network and access the information they need to allow
them to create apps. Last week, Tan Kok-Liang, VP of Engagement Practices for
Singapore and Brunei at Ericsson, added weight to the debate by calling for
operators to expose their APIs.


Network APIs provide a distinct interface that can allow
operators to control developer interactions with their core network. API
exposure can enable a variety of different business models for operators and
allow developers to have the ability to create exciting, and margin improving
services, such as branded app stores and web mash-ups, built on the operators’
APIs. However, exposing network APIs must also be done with care. Last year
T-Mobile USA discovered this after its network performance was impacted
following the release of an Android-based IM app that reconnected with the
network so often, it caused network signalling overload in certain densely
populated areas. This is just one example; fraudulent apps that dial or text
premium numbers, without the end-user being aware, have also been launched onto
operator networks.


Jonathan Bell, VP of Product Marketing at telecoms
software innovator OpenCloud, believes that in exposing network APIs, operators
must strike the right balance between allowing app and service innovation and
keeping their network secure and fully functional. Bell believes that the
deployment of a flexible, open standards-based, service layer framework allows
operators to safely expose network APIs to third party development.


Operators should look at supporting independent
innovation by a hierarchy of groups: At one extreme, the extensive global
developer community; at the other groups of in-house developers; and groups of
trusted third party developers in between. Each group should be supported with
a different balance of exposed capability versus risk. Once access to network
assets has been granted, developers can enjoy more freedom to innovate and
support the operators’ service line-up. Offerings can be developed based on the
protocols and connectivity provided by the service layer framework, cutting the
cost of integration and speeding up the time to market.


Jonathan Bell, VP of Product Marketing at OpenCloud, a
telecom software provider.
[email protected]