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Orange unleashes API assets, hires San Fran firm to lure in devs

Changing the telco business model

Orange has released a bunch of APIs into the world and has inked a deal with some Bay Area tech types to help convince developers on the idea of building mobile and web applications using Orange core networks and services.

Apigee’s digital platform will power the APIs for Orange Partner, the telco's biz hub for developers, partners and startups.

While the mobile industry has the GSMA’s OneAPI, that is a subset of what all the individual operators might wish to offer. For special information, it’s necessary for developers to talk to each telco individually.

Big companies are not good at interfacing with the agile world of web and mobile development, says Sam Ramji, head of strategy at the San Francisco digital business platform Apigee. He says telcos have an opportunity to grow their businesses in another direction, much as Amazon has grown from being an online commerce to a computing services company.

The APIs don’t only deliver information on what is being searched for by the users, but also on the velocity of searches and the acceleration of the velocity of searches – which would allow a company to spot rapidly growing trends.

There is also geo-location information – albeit only down to a level which will assure anonymity, insists Apigee.

One area Ramji is keen on is providing hooks for companies to unify storage. A customer who keeps everything on a Dropbox account might also have an Orange account. Using the Apigee platform behind the Orange APIs, a developer could build a system to sync the two so that the customer only has to look in one place.

Apigee sells to big, top 2000 companies, and in addition to the telcos – Orange, AT&T, Verizon and others – counts major businesses such as John Lewis among its customers.

The aim is to make the telco APIs friendly to both “digital natives” – who often have the luxury of building systems from the ground up – and to those organisations who have old, established systems which need updating without breaking them.

Ramji cites mobile commerce company Stripe (with whom he says he has no affiliations) as being an excellent example of how to do this with good, clearly documented APIs, videos and code examples. ®

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