BEA Systems has launched an application server targeting telecoms providers.
As devices such as mobile phones, PDAs and digital music players converge, there will arise a need for a middleware platform to serve all those devices, BEA Systems chief executive Alfred Chuang said at a press conference in San Francisco.
"We see the telcos going away from just using price, to compete on last-generation technology," he said. "The telcos are finally investing heavy money into next-generation voice, data and multimedia combinations."
The new BEA WebLogic Communications Platform ties together services such as content delivery, voice mail and device synchronisation in a way that mimics how enterprises use application servers to combine enterprise applications.
This makes the new service a natural fit for BEA, which is the largest vendor of application servers, according to Chuang.
BEA's Project Da Vinci comprises the Weblogic SIP Server, available as of yesterday, and the Weblogic Gatekeeper, slated for a spring release.
Bringing together two major industry standards, the SIP Server combines the Session Initiation Protocol with the J2EE programming language.
The SIP protocol sets up communication sessions using a range of technologies, with the choice of medium depending on availability.
The Gatekeeper product sets policies that help providers to manage how services are using its network.
BEA's new platform lets providers use software to create and roll out new products and services rather than having to invest in buying a hardware box that performs a single task, thereby allowing telcos to put out services faster and at lower costs while increasing margins.
"A new world order is emerging and the whole thing is running on a software platform," said Chuang.
By moving into the telecoms market, BEA also becomes less dependant on application servers. The company has a leading position in this market, but has seen its share slip in recent years.
"This is a unique space for BEA where we see the least competition," said Chuang.
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