OneAPI – Canadian Operators Show Us How To Do It!

At MWC 2010 there was a workshop on OneAPI were the GSMA announced the launch of a commercial pilot in Canada with the country’s operators Bell Mobility, Rogers Communications, and TELUS to demonstrate the viability and benefits of providing third parties with standardized application programming interfaces (APIs).

Through the OneAPI initiative, the GSMA is promoting the adoption of a common, lightweight and web-friendly set of APIs to provide third parties with easy access to network capabilities. The Canadian pilot is the first time commercial access to network assets of multiple operators is possible through a single gateway, in a consistent and simple way using OneAPI.  What this means is a third party does not need to worry about which operator the user is with, its a single API framework with common authentication, common terms and conditions, and common charges.  Pricing is yet to be announced, which is a critical issue – I hope they’ve listened to third parties on what they require.

A few examples of what this means.

  • HomeCamera, the world’s easiest to use internet home surveillance service, is one of the services being launched through this pilot; throughout Canada HomeCamera now have a single API to access, making it simple for customers: they just enter their mobile number and can receive motion detection alerts by SMS or MMS as well as clips from their webcams.  So in a matter of a few minutes, with NO modification to the service platform HomeCamera is available to all Canadians.
  • If an Enterprise wants of add SMS alerts to its internal approval process to speed up decision making.  An internal IT developer can add the capability with just a few lines of code.  There’s no complexity of working out which network the employee is on, building three versions of the interface and trying to get the CFO to sign off on three separate charging plans.

This is a critical step in the industry getting its act together and a necessary step in working with third parties, which is a much broader category than simply web developers as discussed in this previous article.  No operator has an excuse in not following the Canadian lead, unless they have decided being a pipe provide is their preferred business model, and are happy to forgo up to 36% of their revenue to OTT (Over The Top) providers.  I show below the slides presented at the workshop to get the message out to the industry – we need to act fast.