TM Forum and MEF align open APIs to ease automation, integration

News

Backed by Orange and Vodafone, the two trade organisations want to bring consistency and ease-of-use to standardised Open APIs.

The rationale is that this alignment will improve operators’ efficiency and remove barriers to new business growth because APIs foundational to automating B2B services.

The ambition is to make the experience of buying operators’ services similar to buying public cloud services.

TM Forum and MEF have long collaborated, including on APIs. TM Forum said this latest development reflects its commitment to making APIs a universal digital standard across telecoms and other industries.

The plan is to make integration faster and easier, and enable automation in support of new platform-based business models, for example.

TM Forum and MEF have agreed on measures that enable MEF LSO Sonata inter-provider APIs to conform to TM Forum Open API standards.

Shortening time to market

TM Forum’s own research, Time to kill the RFP?, published in May 2019, found that telcos collectively spend $90 billion (€76.42 billion) a year on IT. In addition, the procurement process and software costs about another $1 billion.

The Forum argues that by simply by demanding the inclusion of open APIs in their RFPs, operators could speed their time to market and lower costs.

Laurent Leboucher, Vice President, Customer Relation Solutions and Architecture, Orange, said, “We are changing the way we procure software solutions, and APIs are a key part of that procurement process. If you plug a solution into our software stack, TM Forum Open APIs are a must-have. With MEF and TM Forum now aligned, it’s a win-win for us and vendors alike.”

Speeding procurement

Dr Lester Thomas, Chief Systems Architect at Vodafone, added, “When it comes to SD-WAN and Ethernet products, they must be MEF- and TM Forum-compatible. By having the two organisations working together to ease the process, we are able to speed our procurement, transform our IT and roll out services faster and more cost-effectively.”

Aligning the Open APIs 
TM Forum’s suite of more than 50 REST-based Open APIs has been collaboratively developed to streamline operators’ internal operations and enable them to expose services and applications to third parties.

They can be used to automate business-to-business transactions between service providers for address validation, site queries, product offering qualification, product inventory, quoting, ordering, trouble ticketing and more.

Carrier Ethernet and more

MEF’s Sonata LSO (for lifecycle service orchestration) APIs enable automation of MEF 3.0 Carrier Ethernet services.

They can be expanded to orchestrate MEF 3.0 SD-WAN and secure access service edge (SASE) overlay services from the network’s edge to the subscriber site.

This approach can be combined with automating underlying connectivity services like optical transport, IP broadband, IP MPLS, dedicated internet access and 5G.