The Metaverse enablement through standard APIs Catalyst is accelerating creation of interoperable 5G infrastructure for metaverse applications by providing a unified set of APIs that use CSP capabilities
How Open APIs are the building blocks for a 5G metaverse
As 5G opens up new possibilities for smart, automated networks capable of supporting ever-higher levels of throughput, metaverse applications have become a more attractive proposition for businesses seeking to deploy innovative, engaging solutions. Although the hype has dipped somewhat from its crest in 2021, the metaverse – and importantly the development of its infrastructure – remains a priority for the telco industry and wider tech sector.
Building these early foundations are an important step in determining the shape of this burgeoning market – and importantly, who can access it. In PwC’s recent interview with metaverse expert Matthew Ball, he explained that “we need many rival platforms and ecosystems to agree not just on common technical standards but also on financial systems—and to connect with one another, too”. He likens the need for metaverse interoperability with the protocol wars of the 1970s-1990s, the resolution of which defined communication protocols for the entire internet. Although there have been positive steps taken to achieve interoperability – for instance, Meta, Microsoft and Zoom have announced interconnection – there remains much to be done.
To accelerate creation of this interoperable infrastructure, TM Forum has established the Metaverse enablement through standard APIs Catalyst, to provide a unified set of APIs that use CSP capabilities. These APIs, will demonstrate the interoperability between the TM Forum’s Open Digital Architecture (ODA); CAMARA, an open source project within the Linux Foundation to define, develop and test APIs; and, eventually, the GSMA Open Gateway, a framework of common network APIs designed to provide universal access to mobile networks for developers.
Applications and wider value
According to Massimo Banzi, the Project Champion at TIM, “this Catalyst is a sure way to ignite growth for a metaverse powered by 5G”. Adopting standardized exposure is, for CSPs, key to enabling third-party innovation across the 5G ecosystem. Third-party developers currently face the challenge of working with CSP APIs and their network complexities, which often vary for each CSP - Open APIs however can simplify the ways third parties make use of new network services, and enable services to achieve scale by creating a universal set of protocols across countries and markets.
Open APIs are therefore a way to monetize new capabilities for the entire ecosystem. For example, it will mean CSPs can generate additional revenue from being able to provide network-as-a-service (NaaS) as opposed to being pure infrastructure providers. Industry research forecasts that NaaS adoption will grow rapidly over the next few years and generate significant revenue for CSPs. For example, ABI Research forecasts this market will expand significantly, reaching over US$150 billion by 2030. Hitting this target, and creating a market populated by innovative and engaging services means the wider tech community must pull together to ensure universal, interoperable building blocks - with this Catalyst and the resulting standardized exposure, we’re off to the best possible start.