Mobile operators, GSMA work to simplify integration of apps with mobile networks

The OneAPI Exchange platform will let developers add network-based features to apps that run on Android, BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone

Mobile operators are hoping to make it easier for developers to integrate network-based features with their applications using a new platform called OneAPI Exchange.

Mobile operators are working on several fronts to become a more integral part of today's mobile applications, instead of just carrying the traffic they generate. An example of this is the OneAPI program, which aims to let developers access network features such as location, authentication, messaging, and payments, according to Marcus Dormanns, senior director at the GSM Association, which is working with its network operator members on the project.

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Using the OneAPI Exchange platform, developers will be able to add network-based features to apps that run on Android, BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone as well as browser-based applications, according to the GSMA. Developers can subscribe to an operator network API and then choose additional operators they would like their app to work with. All billing, metrics and usage data is streamlined through a single point, eliminating the need for direct and complex multi-carrier deals, the organization said.

The OneAPI Exchange will be operated by Apigee, and is currently available as a proof-of-concept.

Functionality will be added in several stages; a standardized identity API, which allows consumers to register with applications without the need to share a user identity and password with third parties, will be available via the OneAPI Exchange during the second quarter. A payment API will also go live on the OneAPI Exchange this year, according to the GSMA.

AT&T, Deutsche Telekom, Orange, Telefónica and Vodafone have all helped develop the platform.

Another example of how operators want to make their networks more attractive is a framework called WebRTC. It allows browsers to perform functions usually confined to mobile phones such as voice and video calls and messaging. At Mobile World Congress, Mozilla, Ericsson, and AT&T have joined forces to show how it works.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com.

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