Open APIs

Open API lab aims for faster innovation

Telcos and their suppliers will be able to innovate faster and move more quickly and effectively along their transformation paths, following the launch of an online Open API lab ‘platform’ by TM Forum, developed with IBM and Neural Technologies.

“TM Forum members are on a journey of digital transformation, and we support them by providing the tools and services that they need to culturally and technically transform their business to grow. The Open API lab will help our members to accelerate their digital transformation strategy,” said Nik Willetts, CEO of TM Forum.

The lab is a space for communications service providers (CSPs) and their partners to develop end-to-end solutions and services rapidly, usually through Catalyst projects. Whereas before it was sometimes difficult to bring all the pieces together, pioneering projects now have the benefits of the following all in one place:


IBM is in the perfect place to provide the cloud because of its sustained focus on the telco audience. The general use of cloud means that developers and innovators have lost the interdependency between software and hardware.

“As communication service providers look to digitally reinvent their businesses and to support rapidly increasing network demands, APIs and microservices are combining with cloud as the platform for digital innovation,” said Steve Canepa, Managing Director, Global Telecommunications, Media & Entertainment Industry, IBM.

This offers advantages including:

  • Faster scaling – no months/years of manual migration
  • Lower costs – developers don’t need to provision, configure and manage the infrastructure so it’s less expensive
  • More security – controlled access, cybersecurity expertise and thorough and frequent checks

“The IBM Cloud, secure to the core and built to enable agile enterprises, allows CSPs to have access to a rich set of platform services and AI that can be combined with the TM Forum Open APIs to speed the development of new digital services and the modernization of existing applications,” Canepa added.


Neural Technologies’ Optimus platform allows users to ingest and organize their data records. Applying the relevant microservices to these data records brings significant insights to facilitate informed business decisions.

The platform comes with an intuitive configurations and development environment. Users can create a complete solution by combining various microservices through dynamic workflow orchestration. Optimus Interactive goes further by allowing the configuration of all business logic, structured data formats, functionalities and interfaces. It also allows users to fully simulate and debug configurations.

“We believe that the TM Forum Open API Lab initiative will play a key part in digital transformation strategies, and that the Optimus Platform from Neural Technologies will drive enterprises into achieving complete digitization of their business,” said Kai Sui, CEO of Neural Technologies.

Open source

Open source has become a significant topic of conversation in the telecommunications industry as operators look to cut costs and quickly deliver new services and functionality. It offers operators a large body of freely available software developed, maintained and updated by the open source community. The lab provides access to many open source technologies, such as Node.js, OAuth2 and Connect ID, which are complementary to TM Forum’s Open APIs.

Open APIs

The Open API lab provides a further practical benefit by enabling CSPs and vendors to develop and test the capabilities and services their transformation strategies define. Lab users will have access to an Open API component framework developed by TM Forum members which will demonstrate how the APIs can be used as a suite to manage end-to-end services as part of a flow of capabilities.

“The TM Forum Open API lab is the next step in our support for designers, architects and developers to accelerate innovation,” said Joann O’Brien, Vice President APIs & Ecosystems at TM Forum. “The Forum Open APIs enable organizations to reap the rewards of operational agility and business model innovation as it provides a great environment for experimentation and prototype development.”

By developing components and/or microservices that are conformant to the Forum’s Open APIs, integration costs go way down. These ‘plug-and-play components simplify the architecture, making it more agile and avoiding vendor lock-in.

The Open API lab is available immediately, with Catalysts demonstrating its usefulness. Componentized framework capabilities are expected to be delivered by May 2018.

For more information, contact Joann O’Brien via [email protected].


    About The Author


    Arti has been writing and editing for seven years in the fields of technology, business and finance. She is particularly interested in how firms are innovating to bring us into the next digital age.

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