IBM has introduced a standards-based framework designed to speed the introduction of new voice, text and internet services without the need to generate different versions for wired and wireless media.
The Service Provider Delivery Environment (SPDE), announced at the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, enables new services to be created without regard to the underlying wireless, wired or web-based communications network.
"Telecoms service providers have been seeking a core IT infrastructure for years," said Karl Whitelock, programme director at telecoms analyst Stratecast Partners, a division of Frost and Sullivan. "A device and network agnostic solution such as SPDE is well positioned to provide this."
SPDE is built on existing IT and telecoms standards, in particular Parlay and Open Mobile Architecture, and will support the Simple Object Access Protocol, Web Services Description Language and Universal Description, Discovery and Integration standards as they develop.
Adel al-Saleh, general manager of IBM's global wireless ebusiness, said: "As operators and service providers roll out new services over existing and next-generation networks they face two main challenges.
"SPDE helps address the need to respond quickly to dynamic changes in demand for new applications, and enables customers to experience the highest level of service."
He explained that the aim was to provide an open, flexible architecture that was also robust and scalable.
The race is on to get revenue-generating services up and running on the web, and mobile access could multiply market size. But applications need to be insulated from the rapidly changing underlying technologies to avoid costly and time-consuming reworking.
There are already some additional initiatives based on SPDE. Far EasTone Communications, a Taiwanese wireless service provider, launched the Common Services Platform at 3GSM, an SPDE-based environment that allows web access via SMS, Wap and GPRS.
It claims a 40 per cent reduction in application development time by offering a single access point.
SPDE incorporates work with other technology and service providers that took place at IBM's Network Innovation labs. Processes carried out included billing, customer relationship management, provisioning and resource management.
At the IBM PartnerWorld Conference in San Francisco this week, Big Blue and mobile provider Ericsson announced an agreement to link IBM's Developer Center for Telecom and e-Business with Ericsson's Mobility World Center.
The idea is to help developers test and deploy mobile applications for connection to most telephone networks. SPDE will be the core technology to achieve this.
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