Orange Business Services has promised that its customers will in future be able to control services through the use of APIs as it looks to boost revenues from the digital transformation of business activities.
The enterprise arm of French telco Orange (NYSE: FTE) this week announced ambitious plans for the global launch of network-as-a-service (NaaS) offerings this year. By using a self-service portal, NaaS customers will be able to order, set up and monitor security-based network services in a way that has not previously been possible. (See Orange Plots Mass Network-as-a-Service Rollout.)
The ultimate goal, however, is to ensure that customers can manage a whole variety of network functions from IT applications, the operator revealed in Paris this week during meetings with reporters.
"Customers will be able to modify their networks and drive network functions from their applications and this will be done through APIs," said Pierre-Louis Biaggi, the vice president of sales development and partnerships for Orange Business Services . "The end game is that everything will be managed by applications and the network will be completely invisible."
Such capabilities would allow customers to configure bandwidth requirements or ensure networks can cope with heavy use of ERP systems at certain times of the year, said Biaggi.
"This is what customers are asking for in terms of application performance," said Biaggi. "Today we are not fully there, but it is a target for us."
Responding to questions from Telco Transformation, Orange said the TM Forum 's Open APIs initiative would help to speed up developments in this area.
The TM Forum, an industry association, believes the use of APIs that are open and standardized will simplify the process of developing different service and IT platforms, allowing operators to re-use a set of common "catalog-based" components.
Orange was one of nine high-profile network operators that announced support for the Open APIs initiative during a press conference at the TM Forum Live! event in May. (See 9 Global Telcos Back Open APIs Scheme.)
"This is very important -- we are working a lot on open APIs and standardization to make the adoption go quite fast," said Biaggi.
The TM Forum hopes to attract support for Open APIs from a total of 200 operators by 2018 and Biaggi told Telco Transformation he sees growing momentum behind the initiative.
During an interview with Telco Transformation, Franck Morales, the vice president of connectivity marketing for Orange Business Services, said the operator was being forced to respond to customer demand for more "agile" service capabilities.
"We do need to be more agile and give customers the capability to adapt bandwidth, adapt security -- this is something they are requesting," he said.
— Iain Morris, , News Editor, Light Reading, Editor-in-Chief, Telco Transformation