NetAPI la parola a... Pierre-Henri Gross, Vice Chair OMA Architecture Working Group

How long have you and Alcatel-Lucent been involved in the API space?

Alcatel-Lucent's involvement in API developments started in the early 2000 with Parlay APIs  defined within  3GPP and later moved to OMA in 2

008.  We were pionneer with Application Enablement concept in 2010 and more recently we launched the New Conversation APIs program in 2012.
We are actively  contributing to the RESTful Network APIs in OMA and in GSMA.  We chair and champion several groups and I am proud to be part of this as Vice Chair of OMA ARC working group.
Additionally, we contribute to client side API standardization in ATIS ORCA and W3C to enable WebRTC interworking with IMS networks. 

What are the opportunities enabled by Network APIs?

APIs  help Service Providers reach out to the broader developer ecosystem to unleash innovation. By tapping into developers’ creativity, Service Providers can run a 2 way strategy: launch new retailled services developed by trusted partners or expose APIs to enterprise developers or long tail developers and explore new wholesale business models.
As an example, a service provider is selling the API capability to a 3rd party application developer to connect ecommerce parties (e.g. rideshare taxi drivers and riders) using short lived phone numbers without revealing identities of either party. The SP has revenue from both  API usage charges, virtual number subscription fees as well as from the additional traffic terminating on its network.
To complement network APIs, operators can use WebRTC client-side APIs to deliver communications in any device with a suitable browser, such as a tablet, laptop, television, and bridge web and telecom words.

What are the Operator Benefits to expose  Network APIs?

Acceleration: deliver new carrier branded applications faster by reducing time to market from years to months,
Adaption and differentiation: differentiate beyond IR.92 and IR.94 standard communication features and adapt the user experience to meet the constantly changing needs of customers,
Simplification: completing cloud that eases the  deployment and scaling of services, APIs allow reducing both the development and integration costs.
Monetization: by transforming IP-communication features into an asset that can be built into any internet mobile application, web page or connected object, APIs enable exploring new markets (integrating with enterprise IT business process, internet of things, mobile internet provider etc.).

Which is in your view the role of standardization for API?

Clearly our Customers and developers want to see that any API fits in a long term standardisation path  and avoid vendor lock in. Of course we still want to keep extensibility to allow for innovation and differentiation.
From groups like OMA ARC we also get  valuable Best Practices from capitalizing on years of member contribution expertise.

Can you tell us a bit what Alcatel-Lucent expects from API strategies?

Alcatel-Lucent strategy aims to help our customers to rethink their comms strategy and get a slice of the incoming 4th wave of telecom revenues.
In opposite to the first 3 waves of revenues - mobile voice, messaging, 4G LTE data-driven services - the 4th wave of valued added services (VAS) marks the evolution of standalone services towards a portfolio of 3rd party contextual applications that embed IP-communications features into any mobile application, web application or the internet of things.
APIs are the integration point to leverage  voice, messaging and video features and offer them as an embeddable  and sellable “à la carte” IP-Comms features for developers and enterprises..
With APIs and simple software development kits developers can easily insert their app into any conversation, using subscriber’s existing phone number and enterprises can embed communications capability into their business process.
The competitive landscape of the 4th wave of VAS is tough as the barriers of entry for developers and OTT players are low and not only require a more agile Service Provider’s organization but require as well vendors to offer the tools and enablers for carriers to open their network to the developers community.
As  a company we are committed to  consistently  open up the capabilities of our network products with client and network APIs and continue to support our  Service Provider customers in changing how communication services are delivered and consumed shifting the focus to service innovation and growth [For more information, please see http://developer-ims.alcatel-lucent.com/].

 

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Pierre-Henri Gross

holds an engineering degree in telecommunications from ParisTech Telecom. He joined Alcatel-Lucent in 1989 and held various technical and management positions in R&D for wireless and wireline network products. He later joined the IP Platform CTO Group and participated to several Service Standard working groups, in particular OMA and GSMA contributing on IMS and RCS, Web Technologies, WebRTC and APIs. He is currently Vice Chair of the OMA Architecture Working Group

pierre.gross@alcatel-lucent.com