Survival is the mother of innovation. As customer behavior, rather than technology and competition, significantly impacts a service provider’s business, threatening the core revenues; the Telco API (Application Program Interface) is one method for operators to foster innovation on their networks. The Telco API enables operators to expose capabilities from their networks such as location, presence, charging, authentication, etc. Based upon twelve studies [Reference 1] performed with operators around the world, the Telco API has the potential to raise ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) by 36% across operator branded, co-branded and third party services.
Just exposing the Telco API is not good enough; operators must implement an application developer community (innovation community). Making it easy for applications to get on the operator’s network, easy to be discovered by early adopter customers, and all within an easy to use community tool that enables continuous application development to get the ‘recipe right’ for the local market. Based upon extensive market surveys on forty developer communities six corner-stones of community success are identified [Reference 2]:
- Known the Audience: identify and build a strong relationship with the innovators;
- Tools and Education: there’s never enough sample code;
- Communications and Marketing: Sell your best geeks, others will follow;
- Metrics linked to business performance;
- Business Model baked into the API; and
- Integration into the operators’ core processes – the innovation community is owned by the CEO.
After building the brand and the network, the application developer community (innovation community) is the next most important leg of an operator’s business.
Full text of the “Opening Up the Soft Service Provider: The Telco API” paper.