Fraunhofer FOKUS event – IMS 2009 – Open APIs panel

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On Nov 11-12, I will be chairing a session at the Fraunhofer FOKUS IMS workshop in Berlin organised by Dr Thomas Magedanz, Niklas Blum and team at Fraunhofer FOKUS.

Fraunhofer FOKUS events are always informative and are a part of my yearly agenda which I very much look forward to. This year my session about APIs and I am trying to create a discussion about the topic here.

A couple of weeks ago, when I chaired the mobile appstores event at CTIA , there was a discussion about APIs based on the talk by Mike lurye of Amdocs and others. The discussion raised some important questions which I list here from my notes.

Why the sudden emphasis on APIs?

APIs are about leveraging Operator assets and they have been discussed for some time now. There has been an attempt at standardization from the GSMA Open APIs initiative which I have blogged about before. So, what has changed?

In a nutshell, it is apps .. I.e. apps provide a use case for APIs.

Some notes about synergies between apps and APIs which I hope to discuss in Berlin(these are derived from the discussions at CTIA)

a) Operator assets include access to network resources which include Billing, Customer insights and location

b) For the Operator, the goal is to reduce churn, attract customers and gain revenue from their resources. Given a choice more than 80% of customers will use Operator billing(Nokia)

c) Apps provide the customer with a multi sided business model and the facets of that model include Marketers, consumers, carriers, devices and developers

d) The idea of a smart pipe is related to the idea of monetization of the API. However, Some APIs are becoming commoditised or free. Also, the same function can be implemented at different layers of the stack. Ex: Location APIs can be implemented at the application layer(as opposed to the network layer) as cell id databases. This implementation may be imperfect(for instance the network layer implementation of location may be more accurate) but it is cheaper(or worse – free). So, the monetization of APIs is an issue

e) Various business models could be possible: Freemium(free until a certain point), subscriber pays, a la carte – pay as needed, pre pay(API access bundles), post pay among others

f) APIs can add value through providing usage history, personalization, recommendations, reviews etc for apps.

I will blog more about device side APIs as well – but seek views about APIs, their renewed significance and emphasis for the session in Berlin.

If you are at this event, happy to meet up! I very much recommend this event


  1. Don says:

    Good article on the growing use and importance of Network APIs and the role of GSMA OneAPI. Two of the keys to success are which parts of the standard carriers actually support and how quickly they commercially launch them. The carriers are in a race and are presently behind. They have a lot of opportunity, and a lot of work to do.

  2. Ajit Jaokar says:

    yes .. I agree carriers have a lot of work to do .. but previously .. they did not have the commercial motivation .. Apps now provide the commercial motivation .. thats my point(ie thats whats different) .. I think!