Nokia unveils software to expand and simplify APIs

In what represents the first implementation of the Operator Platform from worldwide mobile trade association the GSMA, comms tech provider Nokia has introduced Network Exposure Platform to expand and simplify network API exposure.

The GSMA Operator Platform is a standard that operators can look to for operational guidance and reflects the telco industry’s need for solutions that satisfy the requirements of an array of API models. It is designed to bring together developers, operators, platform providers and the broader ecosystem to transform operator’s exposed edge and network services and to create the level of commonality required to achieve global, interoperable scale. 

The Network Exposure Platform (NEP) software offering aims to expand and simplify the number of APIs available to enable the creation of network-powered applications for enterprise and industrial customers.

The first implementation of Nokia NEP has been built to be deployed with each service provider’s network, will support Linux Foundation Camara APIs, TM Forum Open APIs, edge-based APIs and other APIs for connecting networks securely to a broader B2B digitalisation ecosystem.

Nokia NEP complements and integrates with Nokia’s Network as Code platform with developer portal, which aligns to the GSMA Open Gateway aggregator concept and provides a cloud-based platform to connect and monetise service provider networks with application developers worldwide.

APIs can provide access to deep functionality and data within networks, allowing application developers to utilise those network capabilities to build new use cases. Given the software functionality for creating new APIs and enhancing existing ones, Nokia said the NEP can provide a unified, scalable and secure solution for operators that facilitates seamless API service delivery and interoperability across one or more network environments.

The NEP expands on and is designed to work closely with Nokia Network Exposure Function (NEF), another API-exposure related solution, which is based on 3GPP specifications. Nokia NEF provides a process for interfacing with well-defined functions in the core network.

It also enables API mashups to combine multiple APIs from different core functions into new simplified APIs, which are easier to integrate with partner and customer channels. Existing Nokia NEF customers can also upgrade to a combined NEF and NEP solution to simplify their API ecosystem.

“Standardisation of APIs and aggregation across telcos will be crucial to scaling the network API opportunity,” said Amy Cameron, research director at consultancy and research firm STL Partners.

“Alongside development of their own direct models for API monetisation to drive initial developer engagement and adoption of network APIs, telcos must work towards a more federated approach with their peers and technology partners/aggregators.

“Nokia NEP can help telcos achieve this with tools to organise, control and secure the way their networks integrate to developer ecosystems and platforms, ensuring choice and flexibility for customers in creating new network exposure use cases.”

Shkumbin Hamiti, head of network monetisation platform, cloud and network services at Nokia, added: “Exposing and simplifying access to 5G and 4G network capabilities for channels connecting developers requires a sustained and collaborative effort by all industry players on a variety of technical fronts.  

“Nokia NEP is another meaningful part in that work of enabling operators to organise, control and secure the way their networks integrate into developer ecosystems and platforms, and driving choice and flexibility for creating new use cases and value for the end customers.”

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