April 10th, 2013

It’s All Over-the-Top with Amdocs

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Category Mobile Access, Telco
 

Layer 7 and AmdocsOver-the-top (OTT) applications have long been seen as a threat to telco service providers, who are obliged to deliver on insatiable bandwidth demands without realizing any commercial benefit from either the consumer/enterprise or the third-party app. This needn’t be the case and the limited participation from service providers in recent years really stems from a shortsighted view of partnerships.

Arguing about “who owns the customer” or that “our customers expect a certain level of service” is so far behind the curve it’s laughable and service providers simply can’t derail innovation by imposing expensive and exhausting procedures. But to be clear, this is a competitive market and service providers will lose more ground unless a contemporary model for collaboration is adopted.

The Amdocs OTT Monetization Solution allows service providers to leverage network assets to create value for OTT providers and monetize service collaborations. Layer 7’s API Management Suite of products defines a new methodology for telco APIs, bringing interface, identity and developer management together in a cohesive platform that can serve mobile, enterprise and internal applications equally. Layer 7 and Amdocs will be working together to deliver a best-of-breed solution, addressing the full lifecycle of telco API needs.

This new approach will yield great results. We have already seen Spotify implement a flat-rate service with T-Mobile Germany. Also, network-enhanced enterprise tools (e.g. AT&T Business Services) are becoming commonplace as LTE networks expand. APIs are the fabric that ensures these collaborations are possible and can be brought to market quickly and efficiently.

April 2nd, 2013

Mobile World Congress One Month On

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IoT CompaniesIt’s has been over a month since the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona and it seems like a good time to review what I learned there. First, I was amazed by the prominence of mobile accessory vendors: from tablet bags to smart phone covers. Second, while IoT and M2M were mentioned, they were relegated to a narrow strip in the back of Hall 2. Taking both of these facts together, it appears that the mobile accessory business is for real and IoT is all hype.

So, are all these news stories about trillion-dollar business opportunities in IoT just stories? Most likely the truth is that no one has yet figured out how to make money with IoT but everyone wants to make sure that they are at least seen to have a plan – just in case it does take off. As if to prove this point, ZDnet made a very different assessment of M2M at MWC. I went into more detail on these issues during my recent interview with DeviceLine Radio.

Personally, I firmly believe in the disruptive potential for IoT. It will be disruptive because it will break down the separation between manufacturing industry on one side and IT industry on the other. Manufacturing companies like GE, Bosch and Siemens will increasingly see IT – and Big Data in particular – as a core competency they will need to master in order to sustain a competitive advantage. Simply outsourcing to IT companies will no longer suffice.

We can clearly see this developing as, for example, Bosch is readying its Internet Application Platform and GE is aggressively building out its Silicon Valley presence. At the same time IT companies are trying to position themselves as natural partners for manufactures or as integrators of smart things. Credit has to go to IBM, which has been pushing this trend as part of its Smarter Planet campaign, way ahead of other players.

Meanwhile, telecom carriers are also struggling to decide what IoT will mean for them. It’s easy to see how telecom’s core business can be seen as just a set of “dumb” data pipes. The challenge for this sector will be figuring out how to leverage its considerable assets, like cellular networks, global roaming and integrated billing, to create M2M business platforms. I think that Big Data analytics on the data piped through their network will have to be part of it.

March 22nd, 2013

Enterprise Mobility & BYOD – Live Interactive Q&A

BYOD Tech TalkCalling all Enterprise Architects, Application Architects and Senior Developers! For our next API Tech Talk, we’ll be discussing Enterprise Mobility & BYOD live on March 26 at 9am PST. My special guests will be Layer 7 VP of Client Services Matt McLarty and Product Manager for Mobile Leif Bildoy.

The BYOD movement seems to be changing the hardware landscape permanently and it’s showing no signs of slowing down. Naturally, this presents both opportunities and challenges. Security managers within the enterprise have less control then ever. “Anywhere access” has blurred the lines of what used to be called the corporate network perimeter.

So what are CIOs and CTOs specifically worried about with BYOD? Well for one, mobile devices can easily go missing while containing sensitive data and employers often cannot even assess the impact of data security breaches from compromised devices. But locking down employees’ personal devices is generally not an option.

So how can enterprises re-assert control over their data assets while still allowing employees to use their own smartphones as they choose? We’ll be discussing this and other questions during out live, interactive Q&A. So, be sure to clear your calendar and join in the discussion on March 26 at 9am PST.

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March 6th, 2013

New Layer 7 eBook: 5 Ways Every Telco Can Benefit from APIs

Telco eBookThe recent Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona reminded us about the growing importance of APIs to the telecommunications sector. Telco was actually one of the first sectors to show an interest in APIs but most carriers have still not taken full advantage of the opportunities presented by APIs and some have got their fingers burned trying to court the long tail of third-party app developers.

Still, with Web and mobile technologies creating competition from outside the telco sector, carriers need ways to quickly adapt to technological change – and APIs provide the perfect solution. APIs allow telcos to open up their services for efficient repurposing by internal developers and partner organizations, creating opportunities for being quick to market with innovative new offerings.

Layer 7’s latest eBook 5 Ways Every Telco Can Benefit from APIs provides an overview of how carriers can realize these opportunities. If you visited the Layer 7 booth at MWC, you might have picked up the print version of this handsome document. If not, don’t hesitate to download the electronic version.

February 25th, 2013

SSO & OAuth for Mobile Apps – Live Discussion, Feb 26

OAuth SSO Tech TalkIn case you haven’t heard, we are living in the age of mobile applications and the APIs that power them. Sometimes it’s called the API economy.

Smart phones are ubiquitous, social networks are the norm and we are connected to applications on our devices all the time. We love applications like Instagram, Twitter, Evertnote and Snapchat. But we don’t like signing in and out of each of these applications across networks or devices. It’s awkward and cumbersome and we’re often doing it while on the go or commuting, with only one hand to use while tapping in our passwords. Besides, who wants to remember all those passwords anyway? And it’s not safe to use the same one for every application.

This is the major downside of using all these great new mobile applications. Most of us would gladly invite a scenario where we’d only need to log in once to access multiple applications. There’s social login – but is it safe and is our privacy secure? Remember what happened to Burger King’s Twitter account? Enter Single-Sign-On & OAuth for Mobile Applications.

On Tuesday Feb 26, we’ll be hosting a live interactive Tech Talk on security and Single Sign-On (SSO) for mobile applications. And I’m excited to welcome back Layer 7′s Chief Architect and resident OAuth expert Francois Lascelles. He’ll discuss how to provide SSO for mobile applications, without compromising the security of the apps or the APIs that power them. Francois will also be taking your questions throughout the Tech Talk. So, this will be a great opportunity to get answers to your questions about your own applications and the security that surrounds them.

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