& cplSiteName &

TM Forum Crowdsourcing Open APIs

Carol Wilson
12/19/2016
50%
50%

The TM Forum today announced 13 new open APIs as part of its ongoing effort to enable telecom operators to expose digital assets as services, without the encumbrance of legacy back-office systems. And this time around, the global standards group is taking a crowdsourcing approach to a process it once tightly managed, with hopes of working much faster.

The Open API program has been in the works for three years but was publicly unveiled last May at TM Forum Live! in Nice, where the original nine service provider backers were on hand. Today, 17 service providers are on board, but the Forum is expecting a couple of hundred to sign on by 2018, with mounting pressure on operators to find new revenue in the digital services realm. (See 9 Global Telcos Back Open APIs Scheme.)

Today's announcement was part of a broader upgrade to TM Forum 's Frameworx standards and best practices that include updates as well to Agile IT and Internet of Things initiatives. Continual upgrades to Frameworx is not a new thing, but the way these Open APIs are being created is different, says Joann O'Brien, vice president of Collaborative R&D at the Forum.

The Open API program itself was born of recognition within the Forum that it needed both shorter lifecycles for its API development and more lightweight REST-based APIs if it was going to help its network operator members more rapidly expose digital assets within their networks, and capture digital services revenues in the process. In the first two years of the program, the TM Forum developed what O'Brien calls "crisply defined APIs like trouble-ticketing and catalog management" covering well-known functions. (See Mapping Open APIs With TM Forum.)

Beginning last summer with its Action Week in Vancouver, the Forum focused on "being able to crowdsource APIs and then govern and manage the scaling up of that effort," O'Brien tells Light Reading in an interview. "We have put that in place and the APIs that come out this week are the first proof point of that effort."

That means that any member company can propose an API in a particular space or bring their own management API to the forum as a suggested industry standard.

"They propose it and then it goes through a process to make sure it is not bespoke to that company, but genuinely fit as a generic API that will work for everybody," she tells Light Reading. "And then we build out the Swagger and the Postman and the other complimenting assets and make it a package, which fundamentally makes it usable."

For those not fluent in app-speak, Swagger specifies the RESTful contract for a given API including the details of its resources and operations so it can be used in developments and integrated into other assets as well. Postman is a toolchain for API developers to make it easier to document, test, monitor and share APIs.

As part of this process, the TM Forum has its own specs for documenting, describing and defining the API.

"Then we build the reference implementation which is executable, and we also now create what we call an API conformance profile that tells you, for every feature of the API, if it is it mandatory or optional," O'Brien says. That last step is critical because it informs decisions by operators on how they can modify or extend what they do with that API, while maintaining interoperability.


Want to know more about NFV and Open Source strategies? Check out our dedicated NFV content channel here on Light Reading.


Interoperability is an ongoing theme for TM Forum, but in the digital services world, it is taking on new meaning. Network operators know it is not enough to develop their own services faster -- they need to be able to interconnect with other operators to deliver new services over a global footprint, beyond anything a single service provider can offer. Thus, specific carriers have some efforts underway to connect -- AT&T and Colt for example -- but most want to see that process done on a broader scale. (See AT&T: MEF Could Catalyze Key Specs, AT&T, Colt Claim Major SDN Advance and MEF, TM Forum Unite With Open Source Groups on Network Vision.)

The TM Forum is one of the groups stepping up to that challenge, along with the MEF and others, and hoping to approach it in an open source manner. This week's announcement includes the first of what O'Brien calls conformance test kits that can be used in automating API testing. (See TM Forum Wants Role of Open Source Glue.)

"We are also building what we call a conformance test kit -- so they will be able to execute the server side of API against that," O'Brien says. "And if we automatically generate a report for them, it will state 'pass' or 'fail', or where it passed or where it failed against the conformance profile. The first of those is in the Frameworx release going out this week and we are currently running pilots on those."

Vendors with whom the Forum is working till be rolling out conformance test kits over the next few months. The organization is also working to make product and service APIs more generic, for re-use with virtualized network functions.

O'Brien says the Open APIs being announced this week include "some less obvious ones" such as a new loyalty management API, as well as major new features such as a change management API and a new service program management API.

The response from the industry has been very strong, she maintains, with service providers pushing to see this work get done sooner rather than later -- thus the expectation of rapid growth of the program in coming months.

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
From The Founder
Cisco's Conrad Clemson, recently promoted to head up the company's Service Provider Apps & Platforms developments, talks to Light Reading's Founder and CEO Steve Saunders about how he's bringing cloud video, mobile and virtualization together to empower network operators.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei's Pre-MWC Analyst Briefing 2017 Highlights

2|22|17   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei shares its vision for this year's MWC.
LRTV Interviews
MWC17: 5G, Cloud RAN & More

2|21|17   |   04:35   |   (0) comments


Ovum Senior Analyst Julian Bright talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about all things MWC, including Cloud RAN, Huawei's pitch to the industry and the road to 5G.
LRTV Interviews
MWC 2017's Key 2-Letter Terms

2|20|17   |   08:29   |   (1) comment


5G, AI, VR... these are just some of the two-letter terms that will dominate show-floor chat at MWC 2017 in Barcelona, according to these two blow-hards (a.k.a. Scott Bicheno of Telecoms.com and Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre). And then there's PB...
LRTV Interviews
Key Trends for Mobile Operators in Developing Markets

2|20|17   |   06:37   |   (0) comments


Ovum's Matthew Reed talks to Scott Bicheno from Telecoms.com about the challenges and opportunities facing mobile operators in the developing markets of Africa and the Middle East.
LRTV Documentaries
YouTube Takes on Facebook Live-Streaming

2|17|17   |     |   (0) comments


Popular 'YouTubers' will be the first to get the new service on their smartphones. You have been warned.
LRTV Custom TV
Open Source NFV/SDN Automation

2|17|17   |   05:54   |   (0) comments


AT&T ECOMP (Enhanced Control, Orchestration, Management and Policy) code is transitioning into the Linux Foundation for placement into open source. In this video, Carol Wilson provides an update on the maturation of open source ECOMP and meets with industry leaders from AT&T, Bell Canada, Orange, Linux Foundation and Amdocs to discuss what this means for the ...
LRTV Documentaries
Uber & NASA Collaborate on Flying Car Project

2|16|17   |     |   (0) comments


Is Uber for real? Well, it's hired NASA engineer Mark Moore to lead the project, and he wouldn't come cheap.
LRTV Documentaries
Zuckerberg Tries Out the Oculus Rift VR Glove

2|15|17   |     |   (0) comments


Facebook CEO shows off a new way to interact with the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset: an Oculus glove.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Digital Transformation Forum 2017

2|10|17   |     |   (0) comments


Here's a preview of the upcoming Huawei Digital Transformation Forum taking place in Barcelona with trending telecom topics like cloud, IoT, 5G and much more!
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Dan Sahar of Qwilt on Open Edge Cloud Platform

2|8|17   |   08:38   |   (0) comments


Dan Sahar, Qwilt's co-founder, sits down with Steve Saunders of Light Reading for a conversation about Qwilt's Open Edge Cloud platform and the new role of service providers in application and content delivery.
LRTV Documentaries
ZeroStack's 'Self-Driving Cloud'

2|7|17   |   01:09   |   (0) comments


Its Z-Brain tech automates day-to-day management and long-term planning for hybrid clouds.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Nominum's Craig Sprosts on DNS & Cybersecurity Trends

2|7|17   |     |   (0) comments


Nominum's Craig Sprosts talks about the fast-changing landscape of cybersecurity with Steve Saunders of Light Reading. Sprosts touches on the trend of the rise of ransomwares, rivals of IoT base attacks, and mobile network security. He also discusses the realization of the importance of IoT security after a recent cyber attack that paralyzed several major ...
Upcoming Live Events
March 21-22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
March 22, 2017, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
May 15-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
May 15, 2017, Austin Convention Center - Austin, TX
June 6, 2017, The Joule Hotel, Dallas, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Broadband Has a Problem on the Pole
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/21/2017
Is the Time Right for a Cisco/Ericsson Wedding?
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 2/17/2017
Verizon to Start Fixed 5G Customer Trials in April
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 2/22/2017
Nice to See at Least One CSP Taking My Advice
Mitch Wagner, Editor, Enterprise Cloud, 2/17/2017
Charter Launches 5G Field Trials
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 2/16/2017
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading founder and CEO Steve Saunders chats with Sportlogiq CEO Craig Buntin about sports data analysis.
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Animals with Phones
No One Likes This Click Here
Take a hint!
Live Digital Audio

Playing it safe can only get you so far. Sometimes the biggest bets have the biggest payouts, and that is true in your career as well. For this radio show, Caroline Chan, general manager of the 5G Infrastructure Division of the Network Platform Group at Intel, will share her own personal story of how she successfully took big bets to build a successful career, as well as offer advice on how you can do the same. We’ll cover everything from how to overcome fear and manage risk, how to be prepared for where technology is going in the future and how to structure your career in a way to ensure you keep progressing. Chan, a seasoned telecom veteran and effective risk taker herself, will also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air.