The GSMA today announced a new, flexible technical platform, the OneAPI Exchange, which will deliver network capabilities to mobile apps. This latest phase of the OneAPI global initiative, which facilitates closer collaboration between operators and developers, has been undertaken with leading mobile operators including AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone. The OneAPI Exchange will be operated by leading technology provider Apigee.
“The OneAPI Exchange promises to elevate the mobile app experience for consumers,” said Michael O’Hara, Chief Marketing Officer, GSMA. “By supporting closer operator-developer relationships and greater cross-carrier interoperability, the platform will lead to seamless access to exciting mobile apps with enhanced features. End users will benefit from operator services they already know and trust, such as billing, messaging and operator identity, embedded within the apps they choose.”
New Flexible Platform for Operator-Developer Collaboration
The new initiative incorporates the work undertaken by the Wholesale Application Community (WAC), which was integrated into the GSMA in July 2012. The OneAPI Exchange, which is currently in a working proof of concept form, improves that capability by giving operators the choice of providing developers with either their own customised application programming interfaces (APIs) or standardised APIs. This leads to better flexibility for operators to participate in the OneAPI Exchange programme, according to their own business objectives, while also providing benefits of scale and reach to their developers through API interoperability.
When a developer selects and registers with an operator developer programme, they are able to build applications that utilise that operator’s APIs. The OneAPI Exchange also allows a developer to specify which other operators’ networks they would like their app to work with, so services are not limited to the customers of a single operator. The platform seamlessly maps the APIs used by the app onto those used by the consumer’s operator.
This federated approach enables operators to either customise the services available on their own platforms, while still reaching a mass market, or expose their network capabilities to developers through standardised APIs.
“The OneAPI Exchange is a completely new model for API interoperability that will dramatically simplify and accelerate the development of telco API-powered apps in a global marketplace. We are extremely pleased to be providing a leading edge solution powered by Apigee technology to the GSMA and its mobile operator members, and look forward to many successful deployments in the year ahead,” said Chet Kapoor, Apigee CEO.
Globalising the OneAPI Solution
As part of the wider OneAPI programme, the OneAPI Gateway was commercially launched in 2012 with leading Canadian operators Bell Mobility, Rogers and TELUS and operated by Transaction Network Services (TNS) and Aepona. This platform, which has delivered access to apps that use network APIs to 93 per cent of Canadian consumers, will be integrated into the global OneAPI Exchange solution.
Standardised location, messaging and payment APIs are already commercially available in Canada through the OneAPI Gateway. A standardised identity API, which allows consumers to register with applications without the need to share a user identity and password with third parties, will be available across the global OneAPI Exchange in Q2 2013. A payment API will also go live on the OneAPI Exchange this year. There will also be the opportunity for other technology providers to collaborate in technical infrastructure developments going forward.
Opportunities for Developers
Through the OneAPI Exchange platform, developers will be able to create ‘stickier’ apps, enhanced by embedded operator functionality exposed via APIs. Closer operator-developer cooperation will facilitate the worldwide rollout of their apps. Using the OneAPI Exchange, developers can access network APIs using open and standardised web technologies, enabling easy integration across all platform types including Android, BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone as well as WebApps, that run within mobile handset web browsers and the native HTML5 platforms from FirefoxOS, Tizen and Ubuntu.
The OneAPI Exchange further allows developers to maintain a direct relationship with their chosen operator and their development resources. Within this environment, they can then subscribe to an operator network API and choose the additional operators they would like their app to work with. All billing, metrics and usage data is then streamlined through a single operator, eliminating the need for direct and complex multi-carrier onboarding.
“Consumers across the world are increasingly using mobile applications in their business and personal lives,” continued O’Hara. “There is now an exciting opportunity for the mobile industry to provide solutions that simplify the app development process, accelerate time to market and facilitate worldwide reach. The OneAPI Exchange will help take the consumer experience to the next level.”
Network APIs in Action at Mobile World Congress
A range of mobile app demonstrations will show network APIs in action. These include:
- Canonical’s recently launched Ubuntu Phone OS pilots a simple one-click log-in using operator authentication and provides operator billing options for the Ubuntu One music download store;
- A bike hire scheme and pizza ordering service by Apigee;
- MYAndroidProtection that safeguards your mobile data against loss, theft or malware and MYMobileKidsProtection that sets boundaries for children when using smartphones, both by MYMobileSecurity.
Attendees to Mobile World Congress 2013 can experience these demos in the Connected City, Hall 3, Stands 3B2 and 3C2 and also at the GSMA Pavilion located in Congress Square.