The (Telecom) API Economy: Making integration easier than ever

Posted on March 31, 2016 by Andrea Mocherman

In 2006 there were only 380 public API’s. Today there are over 11,000.

IBM classifies the API Economy as “the commercial exchange of business functions, capabilities, or competencies as services using web APIs”. Enterprises and developers are beginning to seize the power of the API to rapidly add new functionality to existing products and services.

According to the Deloitte University Press, the API Economy is growing quickly. With the number of public APIs having doubled in the past 18 months, we have to agree. The API Economy is not only growing quickly, but it is profitable. Salesforce for example, generates nearly 50% of its annual revenue through its APIs. The telecommunications industry has not been left untouched by the API revolution – according to Market Research Engine, the global telecom API market will grow at a CAGR of 24% and it is expected to reach $325 Billion by 2022.

It’s no secret that innovation with telecom has been stifled due to the walls that have been built around telephony resources. But now more than ever, APIs are being used to expose a range of telecom resources such as call control, location, messaging, provisioning and subscriber information to developers. This level of accessibility is making it significantly easier for developers to add calling and messaging capabilities to their apps to transform the user experience.

Driving integration & innovation

What used to take months to code, now can be developed almost instantly with APIs enabling developers to quickly complete product iterations and get new capabilities into the hands of consumers faster.

Telecom expert Alan Quayle argues in his blog that APIs have also served to increase the democratization of telecom, opening doors for developers with diverse experiences to create new services and businesses using telecom. Companies like Uber, and AirBnB, are taking advantage of telecom APIs to add calling and messaging functionality directly to their apps, making the customer experience more seamless than ever. Even Cisco has gotten into the API game through their acquisition of Tropo. By adding Tropo to its portfolio, it is now adopting an API first mentality, and working to create APIs that developers will love.  

The future of development

Companies who are creating and sharing their APIs will be able to launch in new markets and reach more customers faster than ever before. This will lead to a massive increase in innovative app development and provide developers a level of control that was previously unheard of in the telecom space. As an example, the Flowroute API in combination with a PBX (such as FreeSWITCH and Asterisk) allows the easy integration of calling and routing functions. The use of these in conjunction with other APIs will create new applications that utilize telephony resources in new, innovative ways. The use of the Flowroute API to create integrated calling and messaging experiences is only one of the many cases being driven by the API Economy – and forever changing the business and development landscape, by simply removing the burden to gain direct access to telephony resources.