Much was made of the GSMA OneAPI initiative.
For sure, this sounds like a good thing. But, it’s going through carefully controlled trials at present and doesn’t seem like it’s going to be available in commercial products for some time. If CSPs continue to deliver services at the rate we observe in the ongoing Moriana research, which is very slowly, that’s probably pushing things out several years.
But, CSPs really can’t wait that long to extend network capabilities out to third parties. Most agreed that they want to do this in our research, but progress has been slow. OneAPI may ultimately help, but it’s still some time away.
What is needed is the wherewithal to recognise that it’s not the specific API that matters, but rather the model through which capabilities are extended.
OneAPI draws on RESTful principles and offers a set of telecom specific capabilities to third parties. Now, this is a significant departure from previous efforts to engage third parties, usually via telco specific API initiatives, such as Parlay. Parlay was too complex, too controlled and too limited to build much momentum. RESTful, on the other hand, is a model that is used commonly within the web domain and is well understood by web application developers.
Different web applications offer different RESTful interfaces, so there’s no problem in not having commonality between them. It’s the paradigm that matters, not the specific nature of each API. Anyone who can programme using RESTful can programme with any RESTful API.
Thus, CSPs should already be thinking about how they can extend RESTful capabilities into the cloud and should not think that they can just wait for OneAPI to come along. There’s no reason why they can’t adopt this in due course, but waiting will surely mean significant opportunity is lost.
That’s why RESTful is such a good model – lots of such APIs can co-exist in parallel and there is nothing to be lost by starting now, but plenty to be gained.
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