5G industry news Acceleration & Innovation

5G and an Open API economy

  • 3 minute read
  • Published by Elizabeth Coyne on 8 Oct 2020
  • Last modified 7 Oct 2020
Platform business models are revolutionary especially as the world moves toward 5G networks. They have changed not only how we buy, sell and exchange goods and services, but also how we communicate with each other and live our lives. Open, publicly available APIs are at the heart of these business models, enabling modular, componentized systems to be assembled, disassembled and reassembled quickly and at low cost.

Communications service providers (CSPs) use APIs to enable plug-and-play interoperability of components within their IT systems. They also use them to expose these capabilities to partners using platform-enabled business models. TM Forum has developed a suite of more than 50 REST-based Open APIs that operators are using globally in both ways.

Assessing the market

A couple of years ago, CSPs began asking for a tool to help them compare vendors’ implementations of TM Forum Open APIs. They also wanted to know how their own deployments and use of the APIs stacks up against other CSPs. The Open API Adoption Assessment Reports are the result.

The goal of these biannual reports is to measure the industry’s progress in adoption of TM Forum Open APIs.  The survey also helps companies conduct a self-assessment of their usage of and compliance with TM Forum Open APIs in product portfolios and internal IT systems. The reports are based on the results of voluntary participation in vendor (VAAR) and CSP (CAAR) surveys which ask suppliers and CSPs questions about their use of Open APIs.

In the assessment, the APIs are grouped logically, for example:

  • Customer – APIs that CSPs use to interact with their customers (customer management, shopping cart and bill management APIs)
  • Product – APIs that CSPs use to manage the products they offer (product catalog management and product inventory management)
  • Resource – APIs that CSPs use to manage their physical resources (resource catalog management, resource inventory management and alarm APIs)
  • Service – APIs that CSPs use to manage their logical services (service catalog management, service inventory management, and service activation and configuration APIs)

The assessment tool evaluates maturity of Open API adoption, ranging from presence on a product roadmap to deployment in a CSP environment. It also evaluates the company’s intent or ambition to adopt the Open APIs. Based on these scores, the company is placed in one of four quadrants: experimenting; broad ambition; focused, targeted deployment; or widespread, mature deployment.

Digging deeper

While this assessment tool has been successful and is helping companies understand how their use of Open APIs compares to the competition, TM Forum is expanding its research by looking at not only at which Open APIs companies are using, but also why and how they’re using them – and just as importantly, why some companies are not using them.

We want to hear your views.  Is your company seeing the benefits of using industry-standard APIs, such as lower operational costs and faster time to market?  Or do you see Open APIs as unnecessary because you have developed your own interfaces? To take the survey, click one of the links below: