Data on the internet continues to grow by leaps and bounds. According to the Cisco Virtual Networking Index, IP traffic is expected to triple over the next five years, reaching 4.8 zettabytes per year by 2022. That’s great news for service providers...or is it? Unless they can monetize this data growth by offering new services, they risk becoming nothing more than the dreaded commodity “dumb pipe” over which other companies' services travel. 

Service providers are faced with myriad challenges in today’s convoluted communications landscape: 

  • Revenues are stagnant and they need to create new revenue streams.

  • They are losing data center and colocation market share to public cloud providers.

  • Over-the-top (OTT) competitors, such as Netflix, Amazon, and others, use service provider networks to deliver value-added services directly to customers.

  • Legacy operations support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS) aren’t being used effectively to drive new services and new revenue.

Application programming interfaces (APIs) can be a saving grace. They can deliver both short- and long-term benefit, helping service providers efficiently and effectively build new ways to monetize their assets and create new revenue streams, leveraging their OSS and BSS.

API-centric Agile Integration

Telecommunications service providers have valuable assets that can be exposed, secured, and monetized via API-centric agile integration. They can derive additional value from new assets, developed internally or through partners and third parties and integrated in a similar way with OSS and BSS systems. 

Service providers can open new revenue paths if they enhance the value they deliver to customers and to their partner- and developer-ecosystems. APIs can help them accomplish this goal. Services that providers can potentially offer with APIs include direct carrier billing, mobile health services, augmented reality, geofencing, IoT applications, and more. Mobile connectivity, for example, is key to powering IoT applications and devices, giving service providers an inside track to provide APIs to access network information for IoT services. In mobile health, APIs can serve as the link between the customer and healthcare partners through the user’s smartphone. 

Embracing this API-centric approach, service providers can realize increased agility by treating OSS/BSS building blocks as components that can be reused again and again. They may also innovate faster by giving partners controlled access to data and services, expand their ecosystem by improving partner and third-party collaboration, and generate more revenue through new direct and indirect channels. 

API monetization plans should be approached strategically and not as short-term fixes. For long-term success, strategies should: 

  • Provide an outstanding developer experience to promote developer adoption. A key element is having the tools developers need, including testing capabilities, and documentation. 

  • Share APIs with identified developer communities to accelerate innovation.

  • Focus on growing a strong partner ecosystem.

  • Contain customer-friendly revenue models beneficial for both the service provider and partners.

  • Use data from operations and the partner ecosystem to drive additional application development to add even more value.

  • Embrace agile development practices to drive new services to market quickly.

Red Hat’s API-centric agile integration solution for OSS/BSS processes and systems provides the glue for legacy systems, OSS/BSS, network systems, and internal and external end-user applications throughout the entire telecom stack, laying the foundation for exposing and monetizing these assets via API management. To learn more about how Red Hat is helping service providers monetize assets with API management, view the brief.