Digital Republic and the Opportunities of Smart Networking

APIs automate and innovate process flows in numerous areas by standardizing the transfer of information to enable successful communication between programs. Digital Republic is the first mobile provider in Switzerland to offer API connectivity. Two examples of integrated products and event-based control of mobile Internet illustrate the added value an API can bring to the mobile industry. APIs pave the way for optimized processes and wave goodbye to time-consuming manual control of processes.

What an API Is

Without knowing the meaning of the term "API", the previous statement does not seem very impressive. API is the acronym of "Application Programming Interface" and means " Programmierschnittstelle" in German. Simply put, an API allows two programs to communicate with each other by translating the software into a standard language, making it readable by both programs. An API thus makes it possible to exchange data in a standard format and creates opportunities for the innovative automation of processes. Since APIs in many cases facilitate the transfer of data between systems, they act as important access points connecting different players around the world.

An API for Mobile Communications 

However, what does Digital Republic as a mobile communications provider have to do with programming interfaces? The connection between the two topics is by no means new. APIs have always played an important role in mobile communications. Mostly, APIs are used with the aim of integrating mobile services directly into the customer's processes - be it in product manufacturing or in combination with other services.

In concrete terms, this looks like the following at Digital Republic: If, for example, a new SIM card is registered via the customer portal, we inform the mobile network in the background via API that the SIM card can now be connected to the mobile Internet. When a roaming package is booked, we control Internet access abroad via another API. 

Until now, however, APIs have been accessible primarily to mobile network providers or large customers with many hundreds of SIM cards. Smaller companies with lower volumes have so far been unable to use programming interfaces in the mobile sector. With the Digital Republic API we want to change this and create an opportunity for Swiss companies. Mobile technologies such as 5G and 4G can thus be integrated directly into corporate processes in the future.

Mobile Internet as Part of the Product

An interesting example is the integration of mobile Internet into the end product, where processes are executed in the background via the API without the customer doing any work. For example, manufacturers of security cameras today usually not only produce the hardware itself, but also offer integrated products: In addition to the camera, a cloud portal is provided for receiving the video data, and the SIM card is often already built into the camera.

Infografik, die die Funktionsweise von APIs im Mobilfunk anhand des Beispiels eines Kameraherstellers visualisiert
Source: own representation

When the customer activates the camera in the customer portal, the SIM card is also activated via the API with the corresponding speed. The customer's efforts are significantly reduced. He/she pays for the entire product instead of buying the services individually and does not have to worry about purchasing or managing the SIM cards. The API takes over the management of the subscription for the user.

Processes of device manufacturers and mobile network providers are smartly linked to ensure a smooth customer experience. Manufacturers or distributors of devices that are connected via the mobile network such as GPS trackers, smartwatches, LoRa WAN or WLAN routers can thus unlock another source of revenue.

Controlling Mobile Internet on an Event Basis

Another successful example can be observed in the case of digital signage providers. Digital signage refers to the display of messages for marketing, entertainment or information purposes on electronic displays. For this to occur, these so-called panels are networked with a built-in SIM card via the mobile Internet.

If the panels run in normal mode, only a low speed is required. However, if the displays are to be switched to video streaming mode or video material with a large data volume is loaded over-the-air onto the devices, a higher Internet speed of the installed SIM card is required. The provider can temporarily increase the speed via API without the need for complex manual processes.

The Digital Republic API: Available Immediately

The Digital Republic API is now available for all our business customers starting from one SIM card. Via API you can...

    • activate SIM cards,
    • change the speed profile (0.4-2000 Mbps),
    • retrieve SIM card lists and search for different parameters
    • modify the SIM alias or
    • pause the subscription.

For those interested, the API documentation (Swagger) can be viewed here:  http://connect.digitalrepublic.ch/dr/api. For questions and support with the connection, our experts are at your disposal at any time.

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