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The communications industry is undergoing a multi-year transformation to dynamic, secure, and certified services across a global federation of automated networks, as envisioned in the MEF 3.0 Framework. Service providers worldwide are not only becoming more automated internally to deliver solutions with user- and application-directed control over service capabilities. Many also are collaborating to build an emerging business ecosystem of automated networks that will support rapid delivery “Standardized APIs for interoperability of business applications will vastly improve the customer experience through faster cycle times and resolving service delivery issues earlier, offering automated near real-time availability and pricing information.

Telecom Review recently visited with Kevin Vachon, Pascal Menezes and Stan Hubbard at MEF in order to provide our readers with a good update on the continued progress at MEF.

MEF is a global industry association of network, cloud, and technology providers working together to empower enterprise digital transformation, has announced a comprehensive set of new APIs, services, and programs in response to significant market demand to accelerate the implementation of MEF Lifecycle Service Orchestration (LSO) APIs.

More than 23 companies, including AT&T and Verizon, are either in production with LSO Sonata APIs or intend to be within the next nine months. Companies cite the following top benefits for implementing MEF-standardized APIs for the automation of business-to-business interactions between service providers:

  • Accelerate service delivery
  • Accelerate time to revenue
  • Improve customer experience and loyalty

“AT&T is leading the global implementation of MEF LSO Sonata APIs through our ecosystem. We’re seeing an acceleration in the number of global providers working towards a 2021 implementation and an increase in the number of providers who were actively discussing and evaluating the benefits of MEF Sonata API adoption,” said John Nolan, Vice President, Global Connections & Alliance Management at AT&T. “Standardized APIs for interoperability of business applications will vastly improve the customer experience through faster cycle times and resolving service delivery issues earlier, offering automated near real-time availability and pricing information.”

“Verizon values MEF LSO APIs because they drive end-to-end automation, resulting in improved customer experience and lower total cost of ownership," said Aamir Hussain, Verizon Business Senior Vice President and Chief Product Officer, and Chairman, MEF. "They are a great example of how Verizon Business and MEF work together to improve digital transformation for our customers and deliver on our Network as a Service strategy."

Companies currently in production with LSO Sonata include: AT&T, Axtel Networks, Bloomberg, China Unicom Global Limited, Colt Technology Services, HGC Global Communications, Lumen, Orange, PCCW Global, Sparkle, Telefónica Global Solutions, Telia, and Zayo.

Companies committed to implementing LSO Sonata include: CMC Networks, Proximus, TELUS, TIME dotCom, Verizon Business Group, and others.

“The leading global service providers are collaborating to build an emerging business ecosystem of automated networks that supports the rapid delivery of digital services across multiple providers and reduce friction in connecting enterprise users to cloud applications,” said Nan Chen, President, MEF. “MEF LSO APIs are taking off because they offer an automated, standardized way for service providers to turn up services in seconds, not days. And now, with new services, programs, and resources designed to accelerate LSO implementation, MEF is taking away pain points throughout the adoption and implementation journey.”

The new APIs, services, and programs will support service providers throughout all stages of their LSO adoption journey—from evaluation and business-case development to the testing, production, and certification phases of implementation.

New Billie release provides strategic entry point for business automation

The MEF LSO API Framework is a set of SDKs containing APIs, tools, documentation, and underlying standards for delivering frictionless service provider commerce. The new Billie release includes support for automated business functionalities including address validation, site query, product offering qualification, quote, product order, product inventory, and trouble ticketing for Carrier Ethernet (CE) connectivity services. Additional functions such as billing and settlement, and support for additional payloads (e.g., Internet Access) will be available in future releases. The full release is now available on GitHub to MEF members, with a subset of release artifacts publicly available.

New Interop and Test Service speeds up LSO implementation and partner onboarding

A new MEF LSO Onboarding and Interoperability Test (OIT) Service, which uses buyer and seller emulators, offers an efficient, predictable, and scalable solution that providers can use to test their LSO Sonata implementations and perform interop testing with partners. The OIT service, offered through Amartus, a MEF-Authorized Test and Certification Partner, will be available to MEF member companies in October 2021.

New certification offers opportunity to validate LSO APIs conform to MEF standards 

Also available in October 2021 is a new MEF 3.0 LSO API Certification Service, which includes the MEF 3.0 LSO Sonata Certification and Registry. This program will enable buyers and sellers of services to validate that their suite of APIs used for inter-provider business transactions conform to MEF standards. The new service is offered through Iometrix, a MEF-Authorized Test and Certification Partner, via a cloud-based, self-service testing platform. Sparkle, TIME dotCom, and Ufinet Telecom, S.A. have received MEF 3.0 LSO API Certification for Sonata Order APIs as part of an earlier pilot program.

Programs and resources accelerate service provider automation

  • LSO API Solution Providers – MEF members with LSO API technology and implementation solutions to help service providers fast track their LSO implementations.
  • LSO Partners Group – MEF service provider members who collectively express their preference to automate business interactions with their partners using standardized LSO APIs
  • Also in development: A security standards framework, MEF W128, for LSO APIs; LSO Payloads, a set of MEF, market, and customer schemas used within LSO APIs to describe products being transacted between and with service providers; and an LSO Marketplace for business, operational, and technical support of LSO APIs.