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NaaS marketplaces will drive the next generation of revenue growth

Imagine having your own app store for developers to create applications designed to extend your network and increase APRU and loyalty, says Meredith Alexander, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Salesforce.

31 Aug 2021
NaaS marketplaces will drive the next generation of revenue growth

Sponsored by:


NaaS marketplaces will drive the next generation of revenue growth

Sponsored by: Salesforce

Imagine having your own app store for developers to create applications designed to extend your network and increase APRU and loyalty, says Meredith Alexander, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Salesforce.
Connectivity alone is no longer enough to differentiate. To drive new revenue growth, communications service providers (CSPs) need to increase average revenue per user (ARPU) and loyalty with products and services that derive new value from the network.
This requires CSPs to go beyond connectivity and create marketplaces that transform their network into a platform that supports B2B and B2B2X use cases. This approach enables the Network-as-a-Service (NaaS) business model and complements existing business models while generating new revenue streams and increasing stickiness.

How NaaS Marketplaces work

NaaS turns a CSP’s network into a platform for innovation. Providers create new business models leveraging technologies such as network slicing, in which an enterprise accesses a private segment of the network for optimized applications, such as a security offering that prioritizes video streaming for 5G-equipped drones.
With NaaS business models, CSPs enable APIs that developers can use to create new applications designed specifically for the network, increasing value for the customer. These new apps may be created internally or by third parties. The apps are placed in a marketplace for consumption that is either managed or sponsored by the CSP.
To put this into context, think of how the App Store or Google Play work. Developers create apps for each operating system. The Salesforce AppExchange operates in the same way: Partners create extensions that serve specific use cases, such as embedding a payments function into the platform.

Use cases

The potential for NaaS spans industries. Consider the case of a major aerospace manufacturer that needs to secure its airfield: A CSP enables its network slices to be managed by a certified third-party app. A security solutions provider uses the APIs to create an app which can prioritize a 5G slice when low-resolution images detect an unauthorized object.
Now the manufacturer can purchase the security app on the CSP’s marketplace to reduce the number of intruders, protect its intellectual property, enhance security, and lessen liability and insurance costs. This moves the CSP beyond connectivity and increases its value to the manufacturer.
Here are some other cross-industry use cases:

  • Manufacturing plants benefit from enhanced security and increased monitoring.

  • Energy and utilities can monitor plants and refineries, as well as transportation and logistics.

  • Healthcare organizations access critical health data through real-time remote diagnostics and patient monitoring.

  • Public services enable smart cities.

The components of NaaS Marketplaces

To securely extend the network with a developer ecosystem in marketplaces, CSPs must have the right infrastructure in place. This includes:

Cloud-native architecture

CSPs provide on-demand access to the network service with NaaS. A cloud-native architecture is key to create a flexible network as a platform. It is inherently containerized, agile, and modular with a BSS layer that allows for continuous innovation.

Secure API integration

NaaS marketplaces expose the network to third-party developers whereas historically those networks have been guarded like Fort Knox. API governance is critical to ensure that it is exposed safely and securely. To facilitate the necessary management, use of industry standards such as TM Forum Open APIs is vital. These APIs are made available through an enterprise product catalog and exposed, or sold, to an ecosystem of developers to explore and create apps.

Partner marketplace

CSPs aggregate the apps into an exchange for third parties to transact and consume. The apps may be for-charge or free, depending on if the CSP wants to monetize another service as part of the app. CSPs can identify and select apps to develop and market directly. In certain instances, they may even opt to buy one of the apps to bolster their product portfolio, such as buying a cybersecurity app.

New charging models

NaaS marketplaces unlock entirely new charging models based on parameters like resource utilization and differentiated service level agreements (SLAs). Global 5G monetization leaders like MATRIXX Software make it possible for CSPs to experiment and implement the best charging models to deliver upon their business objectives.

A philosophical shift

One of the biggest hurdles providers need to overcome is a philosophical shift. Growth-minded organizations have an entrepreneurial spirit. A strong leader can inspire – and give permission to – teams to experiment and innovate with new business models.
CSPs also need to adopt new go-to-market strategies. NaaS marketplaces are a self-service community for customers to explore and transact. CSPs can automate the commercial and provisioning processes with zero-touch. With cloud-native platforms, customers can configure, price, and quote on their own from a portal or through B2B APIs. If customers have questions, they can interact with AI-powered chatbots.

Go beyond connectivity

NaaS marketplaces are not only the next wave of innovation, they are vital to CSPs’ survival and growth. If you’re not sure where to start, work backwards: First, speak with experts with years of experience helping set up NaaS marketplaces. Then, think about how you can enable a partner marketplace that entices developers to create apps for your network. From there, determine how to enable those APIs.
To learn more about jumpstarting your revenue growth, check out these resources on monetizing 5G with marketplaces:

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