The Liberty Alliance today published its latest interface specifications which have been expanded to support presence, contact book and geo-location web services.
The global consortium for federated identity standards said that the specifications, which are deployable on its Identity Web Services Framework (ID-WSF), are designed to offer improved application functionality to enterprises and service providers as well as providing privacy, personalisation and security benefits to users.
"Identity is a requirement for successful web services. Unless identity can be established and secured, no enterprise is going to be comfortable using web services beyond their organisational borders," said George Goodman, president of the Liberty Alliance and director of Intel's Platform Virtualisation Lab.
"As a base framework, Liberty ID-WSF provides a proven blueprint for companies to extend their architectures to a federated web services model, allowing trusted partners, customers and suppliers to access key resources and information across corporate boundaries.
"These new service interface specifications make this framework even more valuable for delivering more personalised services, with strong security and privacy mechanisms."
Developed by the Services Group, a working group within the Liberty Alliance that develops specifications to exploit Liberty ID-WSF, the specification includes three newly developed service interfaces: Contact Book, Geo-location and Presence support.
The Contact Book Service Interface is a common method for users to manage and share personal or business contacts regardless of contact book provider, enabling service providers to access or automatically update, at the user's request, information like billing or shipping address.
The Geo-location Service Interface has been engineered as an interoperable way to automatically identify a person's location, at the user's request, to provide services including weather, news, travel or currency updates or directions to a chosen location.
The Presence Service Interface is a common way for users to share presence information, such as whether they are online, offline, on the phone or in a meeting, with any service provider.
For example, a consumer might use the Geo-location Service via a mobile phone when looking for a cinema. The service provider simply 'recognises' where the user is situated and delivers the information.
The user may then choose to let friends know of this location via a Contact Book service and send out a single message to a group of people.
The Contact Book service may then invoke the Presence Service to determine how the user's friends want to be contacted (i.e. via mobile phone, laptop, etc.).
Some may indicate a preference to be contacted via mobile phone, others via a laptop. The Presence Service then takes care of sending the messages to the designated devices.
Contact Book could also be used to invoke Geo-location if the user wants to reach friends within a certain radius.
"Web service application interface standards are an important step in helping organisations deploy more secure and functional web services," said Ray Wagner, a vice president at Gartner Research.
"These specifications could allow service providers to offer users more options for managing identity information within a secure web services framework."
The three service interface specifications are currently available in draft form here.
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