Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Telco API Standards? Our view

We are following up a controversial debate about the need of standards for Telco API. You can find a poll and an interesting debate in the Telecom API group in linkedin.
We saw how both GSMA & OMA worked for creating standard API for network telecommunication enablers. GSMA One API is a clear example.
The problem comes when the standard arrives too late and developers either just looked for other APIs to use the telco enablers or worse for the telcos, directly gave up and try to create their own communication capabilities as the global reach telco enablers were not exposed with affordable API in terms of cost and "usability".
RCS-e/RCS need of exposure API was included from the beginning and it will speed the market adoption, Solaiemes already has REST and SOAP WS API exposure of RCS-e independent of the selected IMS and Instant Messaging vendor (as it is UNI exposure).
OMA recently published the RCS-e API standard specification and Solaiemes will offer also this flavour in August.
Our view is that standard is good but should not sacrifice the time to market. It is more important the language (REST) that having exactly the same methods. Developers customed to work with REST API from internet world (Twitter, Facebook, Google, etc) know and accept that periodically some methods are changed to introduce new paremeter, additional call are added, and it took few hours to adapt their solutions and test them. Then, it is not problem for the developers the telcos need to address not having a fully static and pre-standardized API, the problem is not having the API itself.
Developers need REST API (event more methods or some of them changing along the time) and a web portal to sign and start testing with telco enablers. It's all. Voxeo & Twilio had proven that with legacy telco enablers as voice and SMS.

The conclusion that standards are welcomed but it makes no sense to delay the commercial offer of telco enabler exposure until a standard comes. The cost of opportunity (fragmentation and recoding) of not having an standard for APIs is less that not having an API.
Solaiemes has now a full commercial implementation of the RCS-e/Joyn API working today and being implemented in telcos, and will offer the standard API implementation in the same platform, with a one click smooth transition when required.