The network has become more and more programmable, containerized, and dynamic.
This evolution of 5G, edge, network slicing, and network-cloud convergence is driving major investments by communication service providers (CSPs) – but it requires a new approach to operations and monetization of the network as a whole.
In comes network exposure
This is where network exposure comes into play. Exposure enables CSPs to achieve this goal with open APIs that transform the network into a programmable platform that makes network services and capabilities easily accessible by third parties.
Being able to expose network assets and offer them as a service represents a huge monetization opportunity for CSPs.
In fact, it’s the key to profoundly expanding the service provider’s offering and generating new revenues from previously untapped market segments.
Sounds great indeed. But it’s not that simple.
The hurdles on the path to monetization
In just about every discussion we are having with our customers, it was noted that while they recognize the strategic role of network exposure, capturing this opportunity will not be a trivial task. In fact, a basic need to advance on this track lies in standardization.
With so many players involved – customers, connectivity providers, hyperscalers, and experience providers (such as for gaming, AR/VR, and more) – standardization is key to engage among them all. Exposing, ordering, and fulfilling services, accessing performance insights, monitoring services, resolving impacts when needed, and (of course) monetization – all these interactions (and more) require standardized APIs to make them commercially viable.
Without such standardization, the network monetization opportunity would remain out of reach.
But this is simply not an option.
This is why we set off with multiple partners on three “TMF Catalyst projects,” that is – projects that are developed collaboratively by TM Forum members to solve common industry challenges, and which are championed and validated by communications service providers and industry stakeholders and presented at the TM Forum’s DTW industry conference .
Let’s take a closer look.
Simple hyperscaler integrated network experience (SHINE)
The idea here is that the existing process for purchasing network services from service providers is not aligned with customer expectations for a digital-first experience.
Enabling such an experience requires service providers to make their network assets available as API-enabled products.
This is where SHINE comes in – standardizing how network services will be exposed in the hyperscaler marketplace. Let’s say I’m a gaming company, for example. If will need to purchase network services (e.g. QoS on demand) from multiple service providers around the world to offer my product to customers. Having these available in hyperscaler portal will make this process much more streamlined – and as a result offer a new channel for CSPs to sell their network offering. Without standardization, I just won’t be able to do it.
So, together with AT&T, Orange, Telefonica, Microsoft, Prodapt, Infosys and ServiceNow, Amdocs worked to establish an industry standard for exposing a product catalog in hyperscaler portals as native services, using the TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture framework to align a common set of standards for network-as-a-service capabilities and hyperscaler integration.
Exposing network insight for customer experience (NICE)
In addition to how services and apps are exposed for ordering and fulfillment, it is also critical to have on-demand access to data and insights about the experience the network is delivering with these services and applications.
So, with AT&T, Telefonica, TIM, Ubiqube, and Invosys, Amdocs identified which network and application performance data and insights should be exposed. We abstracted them, identified their limitations, and standardized them by anchoring to the Open Digital Architecture framework. Moreover, we created documentation to promote and support industry-wide alignment to standard process APIs.
Private optimized connectivity (POC)
Complementing the NICE catalyst, we looked to explore a way to order optimized connectivity, in response to a service degradation. Let’s say a service provider’s business customer is engaged in providing security services for special events at stadiums or public venues. This customer requires access to high-quality on-demand video.
The development of a new TM Forum API will guarantee that a cloud-based application deployed by a third party can reliably access the most optimal broadband connection in real time.
So together with AT&T, TIM, Brillio, Cognizant, HCLTech and TATA, Amdocs is enabling the ordering of specific connectivity from a service provider’s network through exposed APIs.
In other words, we are bringing a process API to support the real-time activation of private optimized connectivity for an application hosted on the cloud, ensuring a path to local customers through the best broadband connection possible.
We are very excited about partnering with these industry leaders on bringing much needed solutions to the network exposure challenge.
By aligning the ecosystem of players to a set of standards that can be used across the industry, we are enabling CSPs to increase the total addressable market and accelerate network monetization.
Working towards network exposure that is seamless, efficient, and frictionless – is an ongoing industry effort - and we are proud to be part of the team that’s making it happen.
To learn more about how standardization can help you maximize network monetization, and hear more about Amdocs at DTW, visit our event page.