1) APIs (application programming interfaces) will change the face of global enterprise telecoms. Service providers using APIs exposed by network operators will be able to deliver innovative integrated comms and IT solutions, around the world, without having to engage in complex integration projects. At the same time they will be able to transform their business models, with telecoms usage becoming a revenue generator, rather than being a cost to bear.
2) Telecoms operators (and particularly those in the US, Canada and the UK) have started using APIs to create totally new business markets. In a report I recently wrote for Heavy Reading entitled: Opening the Door to Web Developers: How APIs Can Generate Billions for Operators I observed dozens of new enterprise service markets that carriers have already started to open up. They are generating billions of API calls already (each one leading to a call, or message, or a look-up fee, or some other chargeable event), and opening up new business opportunities for ICT service providers, application providers, resellers and enterprise customers themselves. The figure demonstrates a very simple scenario for API exposure by network operators.
3) APIs can help you reorient your channel strategy from a push model (where you have to create all the services and packages for your channel partners to use) to a pull model (where your channel partners and customers create the solutions, embedding your network, billing and customer service capabilities with little or no custom creation requirements on the part of your developer teams).
4) Those ICT solution providers opening up APIs can offer enterprise, public and third sector customers a much richer set of services than those who don’t; and can achieve much faster time to market for innovative services.
5) If you are an operator, you don’t have to do it all yourself. In fact you shouldn’t. APIs are a global play, and aggregators have emerged with API links into operator networks in many markets. They understand the technologies, and they are geared up to support developers and operators to drive this market forward. By working with them you can fast track your own market entry. White labelled solutions are available.
6) Operators are just starting to realise that connectivity is not the only asset they have to offer their customers. The genie is out of the bottle. They will be using APIs to win share of wallet in logistics, health, M2M, consumer electronics, consumer and business services, content and a variety of other industry sectors. Incidentally, APIs will also be critical to software defined networks (SDN), which have the potential to change the way networks themselves are operated.
If APIs are not on your radar, they need to be.
If you want to know more about my report, let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can put you in touch with Heavy Reading.
By Simon Sherrington