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TM Forum Open APIs hit 500,000 downloads

TM Forum members have downloaded a total of 500,000 TM Forum Open APIs, highlighting the important role they play in helping communications service providers (CSPs) modernize their IT systems.

“CSPs recognize that Open APIs contribute to a common understanding of the language and business concepts in the industry, leading to easier integrations and hopefully lower costs,” says Jonathan Goldberg, Principal Integration Architect at Amdocs.

As a result, CSPs are increasingly seeking conformance with Open APIs as part of their RFPs.

“At Amdocs, we see that more and more of our CSP customers are asking for alignment and conformance with the Open API suite,” says Goldberg.

Requests by CSPs for API conformance illustrate just how far the industry has travelled since December 2013 when 150 coders gathered in a conference room in San Francisco to make the first public use of TM Forum’s Open APIs.

They were competing in a hackathon to create the best application using the only Open APIs available at the time: Product Catalog API, Product Ordering API and Trouble Ticket Management API.

On offer for the developers was $6,000 in cash prizes. The stakes for telcos, however, were much higher. They were seeking the solution to a problem that impacted their ability to do business quickly and flexibly: “How do you shift from these massive interfaces which were taking two or three years to develop into something much more reusable and much more dynamic?” explains Joann O’Brien, VP of Digital Ecosystems, TM Forum.

The event’s success lay in illustrating how the telecoms industry could benefit from deploying standard interfaces that enable developers to roll out new IT services much more quickly. It also laid the ground for future business models. “We could also see the future would be about being about partnering and the ability to be able to expose your capabilities with others in your own and other ecosystems,” says O’Brien.

A growing community
BT, Orange and Vodafone Group were early leading champions of TM Forum Open APIs. Today they are part of a much larger community of CSPs and partners worldwide that are contributing to TM Forum’s ongoing Open API development and using Open APIs to create faster and more flexible ways of working. Indeed, a total of 124 of the world’s leading CSPs and technology ecosystem participants have publicly demonstrated their endorsement of TM Forum’s suite of Open APIs by signing the Open API Manifesto. Of these, 23 CSPs have agreed to position TM Forum Open APIs as a preferred requirement in their IT RFPs.

Telstra is one of the signatories to the Open API Manifesto. Ana Ristevski, Product Owner of Converged Service Assurance, Product Enablement Technology at Telstra, explained in an interview how her team is using Open APIs to reduce the time to serve and fix service problems for the telco’s service agents.

And as the industry evolves, TM Forum members continue to innovate and advance Open API usage.

For example, Knut Johannessen, Architect, Telenor, is collaborating on the creation of new tooling workflows for Open APIs.

He says: “APIs are a critical enabler for [TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture] (ODA) and the development of ODA components. The information and operations APIs make available must give the component what it needs to work. So, if you take a customer journey across a number of components and across a number of APIs, the end-to-end consistency of the APIs is important also for the success of ODA.”

Products that comply with standardized, machine-readable software components would help CSPs create differentiated products and services much more quickly, according to Lester Thomas, Chief IT Systems Architect at Vodafone Group.

Standardized components are also an important step towards the goal of making ODA 100% machine readable, as CSPs seek to build agile and autonomous cloud native IT and network systems.

And as the industry starts to roll out 5G services, Open APIs mean it will “now be able to capitalize on this future vision of ecosystems and partnering and the lowering of boundaries across industries”, says O’Brien. “We are well placed to capitalize on 5G because we have invested in this over the last five to seven years,” she says. “If we only do cost reduction inside the business and don’t use it to partner and grow, we’ve only done half our vision. And that’s not the point. The point is to be able to partner at scale.”

CT Bureau

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