Rules that help build a new 4G/5G ecosystem
The football world championship is finished when I write this blog. Watching the games back play out, I wonder what makes this sport so successful and popular that it is played everywhere around the globe? How is it that the best football players are exchangeable, playing well wherever they are placed, from anywhere in the world?
As a technologist, I see a phenomenon and look for its root causes. So why is there a world-wide ecosystem of football? I say the most important root cause is common rules - we play the same football everywhere, abiding by the same rules of the game.
Even football training, and the preparation for games, follows common procedures. Training is increasingly professional, producing better players, making football even more popular worldwide.
My football root cause is a useful analogy for building a new ecosystem of innovative services and applications. Just like in football, telecom’s players can succeed by abiding to common rules.
All stakeholders’ business interests must match
When building a new ecosystem, it is essential that application providers, CSPs (Communication Service Providers) and network vendors adopt a common, open way of collaborating. There must be common procedures to develop, test and commercialize new applications. As with football, if all players know the rules and play together, the game can start, and the telecom industry can create new successful commercial services.
Common method for API exposure
This is imperative! The application developers want a common, consistent method for any network’s APIs. It enables “build once, run anywhere” applications to use with any network because of common, consistent APIs. Nokia Network Exposure Function (NEF) fulfils these mandatory requirements, making the 4G/5G network programmable while also keeping the network fully secure.
Access and usage of a specific network’s APIs has its own rules that are set by the CSP or Enterprise, and the NEF acts as the referee, regulating what the application can and cannot do.
A global ecosystem needs global rules
Many 4G and 5G networks exist across the world. To realize their full potential, we need to synchronize the open API market so that application providers can partner with any network as a programmable asset.
How can this be accomplished? I look to the new Linux open source project, named CAMARA (kah-mar’-ah). It is a global alliance that harmonizes and abstracts network APIs to services APIs. In does so through rapid creation of working code, based on developer-friendly documentation. It is designed to give a seamless experience, ease commercial implementation and support application portability.
Let’s start the game! Players are ready!
Players in this game all have the same goal - to establish a great, well-functioning, worldwide telco ecosystem. Nokia shows the common way – already CAMARA uses our NEF software as a reference platform for testing API definitions, applications implementing these APIs on top of NEF, and applications built using the CAMARA APIs. This is a major achievement for our Network Exposure Function, which will help developers using network APIs.
Rules help overcome diversity and encourage innovation. In the same way that football’s rules helped the game become a worldwide success, we must also have a set of rules governing 4G/5G and other APIs, allowing to build an ecosystem of new services developers on top of networks.