A 5G Network App is a software piece that interacts with a 5G mobile network by consuming exposed 5G Native APIs (such as NEF or MEC) in a standardized and trusted way (i.e., for a 5G network a NetApp should be CAPIF compliant) to compose services for vertical industries. These services are provided to vertical applications by exposing this NetApp functionality throught NetApp APIs called business APIs.
A Network App enables network-aware services to verticals by providing network and end user-related information currently unavailable at the verticals side, through the Network App Business APIs. As an example, valuable 5G information that can be provided by the Network App to vertical applications could be location awareness for a group of devices connected to a 5G network.
The 5GC information provided by a Network App can be very useful for enhancing the performance or augmenting the capabilities of an existing vertical application, or for the development of new apps, built upon the use of this information.
There are two types of Network Apps considering the degree of integration with the vertical application:
- A non-standalone Network App acts as a middleware between the 5GC and the vertical application, and it represents and independent element from those entities.
- A standalone Network App is integrated within a vertical application, and it can only be used by that specific application.
A Network app has a lifecycle that encompasses 5 subsequent phases:
- Development of the Network App
- Verification of the expected functionality of the Network App in a synthetic environment (not on a real 5G network, but on an emulated one)
- Validation of the Network App in a real 5G environment
- Certification as a valid Network App, CAPIF-compliant, that allows a correct 5G integration, by passing a series of automatic tests
- Publication in the EVOLVED-5G Marketplace