Light Reading

Operators Cut AlcaLu Out of API Equation

Sarah Thomas

Alcatel-Lucent has been pursuing application enablement as a top-down initiative from the CEO since 2009, but the market has changed in the past four years, and the vendor is finding it no longer has a role -- or a business model -- for helping operators expose their application programming interfaces (APIs).

In fact, Alcatel-Lucent isn't playing the role of intermediary between operators and developers at all any more. As part of its reorganization, it sold off the API repository it acquired in 2010, ProgrammableWeb, to MuleSoft, noting that its operator customers would rather see it embed its own APIs into its platforms like IMS and SDN than work to expose their own. (See AlcaLu Sells Off its API Repository.)

Cassidy, Shield, VP of marketing for Alcatel-Lucent's platforms business division, says part of the reason AlcaLu changed its strategy was that it was only focusing on telecom, a narrow focus which hurt it as its competitors like Apigee Corp. and Layer 7 Technologies Inc. targeted multiple industries. He says the company knew it would never be a leader in API management while only focusing on one industry vertical.

"On top of that, we heard from customers that API management was important, critical to success, but we don't necessarily need to get it from you, Alcatel-Lucent," Shield adds.

Instead, operators are tackling the API market on their own through industry-wide initiatives like the GSMA's OneAPI and through their own innovation centers and developer programs. Whether or not that has been successful, however, is up for debate. Even Shield admits that innovation labs are typically more for operators to acquire technology for their own business initiatives than to give developers unfettered access to their network APIs.

"Despite the talk of open innovation, we've been moderately successful at best," Shield says, adding that the majority of revenue and investment still goes into building networks as operators struggle to find a business model for APIs.

"The operator issue is not that they don’t want to engage with developers, they just haven't figured out the business model," Shield continues. "Technically, there isn't an issue at all. It's about what services will be launched; what's in it for me?"

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(3)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
User Rank: Light Beer
5/6/2013 | 9:07:21 PM
re: Operators Cut AlcaLu Out of API Equation
Sarah, At first I thought your comment regarding carrier finding a business model was limited to wireline and telco in particular but as I work on carrier network architecture across all verticals (cell, cable, sat, telephone, internet); it is true, they all are are struggling with a go to mass-market app. One internal group says customer treat complex apps as intriguing but fail to create take-up which is true. Another group wants the API vendor to be a customer seeking access to the customer base, essentially another revenue stream (like they use to treat ISPs and cell operators).

AT&T did just post 7 developer positions in mid April. Let's see what happens next fall.
User Rank: Blogger
5/6/2013 | 2:57:10 PM
re: Operators Cut AlcaLu Out of API Equation
Of course! I think APIs are hotter than ever right now, however, it's become clear that operators role in APIs is anything but clear. It seems to me they've moved away from APIs and helping developers (if they ever really did that) to building services they can monetize and charge consumers for. I wonder how much longer their Innovation Labs will stay open for...
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/6/2013 | 2:08:39 PM
re: Operators Cut AlcaLu Out of API Equation
Good to see you still going string on the topic :)

As we've discussed just exposing API's is not enough anymore, but MNO's need to invest in creating a deeper development environment with capabilities that are beyond anything available elsewhere.
From The Founder
The comms industry is rallying to the cause of open, independent interoperability testing.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
CLOUD / MANAGED SERVICES: Prepping Ethernet for the Cloud
Moderator: Ray LeMaistre Panelists: Jeremy Bye, Leonard Sheahan
LRTV Interviews
BT Updates on Plans

10|2|15   |   03:16   |   (2) comments

Peter Bell, CIO at Openreach, the access network division at UK incumbent BT, provides an update on the operator's trials and how Openreach is planning to deploy the broadband technology in its street cabinets.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Sonus Shakes Up SD-WAN

10|2|15   |   7:22   |   (0) comments

Sonus CTO Kevin Riley sat down with Light Reading to discuss the trajectory of the company, its SDN ambitions and why Sonus is taking a market-disruptive approve to SD-WAN.
LRTV Interviews
CityFibre's Gigabit Vision

10|1|15   |   03:18   |   (1) comment

Mark Collins, director of Strategy & Public Affairs at competitive UK city network operator CityFibre, talks about his company's plans to help build Gigabit Cities.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Automate, Scale & Create With Juniper's vCPE Solution

10|1|15   |   6:34   |   (0) comments

Join Kireeti Kompella, Juniper Networks CTO, and Steve Saunders, Light Reading Founder and CEO, as they discuss Juniper Networks' approach to NFV showcased with a turnkey vCPE solution, which demonstrates how service providers can use automation to rapidly deploy services.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit Europe: Day 1 Takeaways

9|29|15   |   05:47   |   (5) comments

Light Reading's Ray Le Maistre and Iain Morris sup a beer and discuss some of the key takeaways from the first day of Gigabit Europe 2015.
LRTV Interviews
Gigabit in Europe

9|29|15   |   04:24   |   (0) comments

At the Gigabit Europe 2015 event in Munich, Heavy Reading's Graham Finnie talks about the availability of gigabit broadband in Europe.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
AT&T's Band of Women

9|28|15   |   4:36   |   (0) comments

Brooks McCorcle, the president of AT&T's partner solutions divisions and a mathematician by trade, shares stats on AT&T's diversity and advice on how to create your own band of women at work.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
Metaswitch's New CEO Martin Lund Discusses His Role

9|25|15   |   11:36   |   (0) comments

Technology industry veteran Martin Lund joins Metaswitch Networks this week as the company's new CEO. In this interview, Lund discusses his new role and the industry's progress with Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders. Lund believes that the industry disruption caused by SDN and NFV is creating opportunities for companies like Metaswitch – network software providers ...
It's All About That App

9|23|15   |   02:15   |   (2) comments

The long-range goal of service providers is to deliver app-specific network performance and that is showing up in technical developments today.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Verizon's Healthy Approach to WiC

9|22|15   |   2:30   |   (2) comments

If you think there are too few women in comms, you should see the healthcare industry. Nancy Green, Verizon's healthcare global lead, shares ideas on what we can do about it.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
UBBF 2015 Highlights

9|22|15   |     |   (0) comments

Drilling down deeper into the transformation process will provide network operators with a practical look at building new businesses around a digital virtualized network architecture, and lay out some of the transition steps required, particularly in the struggle to enable more dynamic and focused enterprise network services.
Telecom Innovators Video Showcase
ActiveVideo's Cloud Virtualization Technology

9|22|15   |   7:23   |   (0) comments

ActiveVideo's CMO, Murali Nemani, discusses how virtualized CPE functions can deliver applications from the cloud to various devices at home.
Upcoming Live Events
October 14-15, 2015, New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, New Orleans, LA
November 5, 2015, Hilton Santa Clara, Santa Clara, CA
November 17, 2015, Santa Clara, California
December 1, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 2, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City
All Upcoming Live Events
Communication service providers realize that an ICT transformation is critical to their long-term survival, but most haven't yet committed to making it happen.
Hot Topics
Are Sports Next for Netflix?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 9/28/2015
Google Gives Huawei a US Device Boost
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/29/2015
Verizon's Go90 Is Live – Will Anyone Watch?
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 10/1/2015
Following the Bouncing Capex Ball
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 9/29/2015
Good News for NFV Interoperability
Steve Saunders, CEO and founder, Light Reading, 9/29/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With so many new and exciting communications technologies now under development, it's easy to get caught up in the industry's escalating hype cycle. That's why the ...
Last week saw a big day in the 15-year history of Light Reading when Editor-in-Chief Ray Le Maistre and I were invited to interview the Deputy Chairman and Rotating ...
Cats with Phones
Hold My Calls, Indefinitely Click Here