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Open APIs support Jio's digital ambitions

Joanne TaaffeJoanne Taaffe
25 Aug 2022
Open APIs support Jio's digital ambitions

Open APIs support Jio's digital ambitions

Jio has become the global leader for Open API certification with 52 certified TM Forum Open APIs. In an interview with Inform, Aayush Bhatnagar, senior vice president of Jio, explains how Open APIs usage supports Jio's business strategy as it looks towards delivering 5G B2B services in India.

An early signatory of TM Forum’s Open API initiative, Jio significantly ramped up its use of Open APIs when it started developing its own intellectual property following the establishment of Jio Platforms, explains Bhatnagar. Set up in 2019 and majority-owned by Reliance Industries, with minority shareholders including Meta (formerly Facebook) and Google, Jio Platforms is building what it describes as a ‘massive digital and connectivity ecosystem’ for India, including digital solutions for enterprise verticals. As of 30th April 2022, Reliance Jio Infocom Ltd, which is a subsidiary of Jio Platforms, had the highest number of both wireless broadband subscribers in India, with 405.68 million customers, and wired broadband subscribers with 5.63 million users, according to figures from the Indian regulator, TRAI.

Given Jio Platforms’ digital ambitions, “it became all the more important for us to be compliant with open APIs for the purpose of interoperability and flexible integration,” says Bhatnagar.

5G enterprise services, in particular, are set to be a big focus for Jio. In August Jio announced it had purchased spectrum in the 700MHz, 800MHz, 1800MHz, 3300MHz and 26GHz bands in the Indian government’s 5G auctions.

As Jio’s 5G-based digital services become richer, the need for standardization and reusability will grow, hence the importance of Open APIs.

“Every time a new service is envisioned, we do not want our systems to undergo deep surgery,” says Bhatnagar.

Jio already uses what it calls a uniform observability framework to monitor what is happening in production for each API, explains Bhatnagar. Standardization means integration and deployment teams know what to expect from each API, making it possible for them to reuse them across different products and service workflows - all of which speeds up service roll out.

"Open APIs have played a very key role in helping us get … products out in the market,” says Bhatnagar. “There have been tangible benefits from a readiness perspective from having diverse provisioning and activation workflows, for example, to support different services … which are on our subscription and marketplace models."

5G enterprise services

With 5G, Open APIs are “all the more important because enterprises are a very big segment,” says Bhatnagar, and "APIs are able to really help us in creating new services," including when it comes to private networks.

Examples of the sort of enterprise services Jio has in mind include its work with Reliance Industries' refinery division to automate its warehouses, logistics and supply chains using 5G connected robots. Jio foresees opportunities to apply similar supply chain automation solutions to warehouses in the retail sector, including for Reliance-owned businesses “because the same problems are being solved in the retail supply chain as well, explains Bhatnagar. "We are working with some lighthouse partners … to understand their issues and to resolve them in a similar way as we did for our refining team.” Another key area for Jio in India is healthcare.

Bhatnagar sees a certain degree of cross-over from a technology perspective between the post-fulfillment of consumer and enterprise services in areas such as service assurance, monitoring, optimization, trouble-ticketing, closing the loop automatically on stubborn tickets and reporting on what has happened.

However, “the diversity comes once we start adding on more and more enterprise services, especially on their monetization model. Some of them are monetized by volume, some of them are monetized on subscriptions, some of them are monetized on time. And these products have to be defined and fulfilled end-to-end.”

Enterprise services will also require Jio to address the nuances between provisioning services on-premises and in the public cloud with Open APIs that are common to both, notably when it comes to charging, fulfilment or service assurance, says Bhatnagar.

As Jio builds out its digital ecosystem it also seeks Open API compliance from its suppliers and partners.

“A handshake is possible only if both ends meet," says Bhatnagar. "We work closely with our suppliers and partners in specific areas to comply - if not fully then at least partially to begin - with all the latest Open API standards and to have a roadmap towards their journey of full compliance.”