IBM lifted the wraps off of version 1.2 of its WebSphere Telecom Application Server software, which lets telecommunications service providers create and deliver tools such as call routing and message alerts systems.
Telco service providers for the most part depend on propriety applications to run its back-end functions, a reality that IBM believes opens the door for the WebSphere Telecom Application Server (WTAS), which provides a set of Parlay extensions for Big Blue's WebSphere architecture.
According to Marty Slatnick, a business development executive at IBM's Software Group, the WTAS is aimed at developers looking to build innovative applications for the telecommunications sector. In an interview with internetnews.com, Slatnick said the possibilities for third-party developers are endless, noting that WTAS can support the creation of new services that can integrate e-business applications with telecommunications networks (wireline, wireless and Internet).
The WTAS, which runs on the AIX, Linux, and Solaris platform, connects to open APIs defined by the Parlay Group, the multi-vendor forum formed by BT, Microsoft, Nortel Networks, Siemens, and Ulticom to develop APIs on functions like call control, messaging and security.
Slatnick said several third-party firms were already using WTAS to create applications. For example, he said Corebridge's MagicTel software uses the software to integrate Lotus or Microsoft Exchange with a telecommunications network. "It basically turns Lotus Notes into a call routing agent. They've set it up to intelligently route, return, schedule, screen, or block incoming telephone calls based on the user's preferences and priorities," he said.
Another company, Monroe, CT-based Telenity has built an alerts service that notifies customers of missed calls, and allows them to automatically and easily return those calls with the press of one button. "The key thing is that Parlay and WTAS provides a secure channel from the enterprise to a service provider's telecom network and they can do all kinds of neat things with it," Slatnick said.
"A lot of applications can be built. WTAS can be used to develop things like interoperable call processing; generate Short Messaging Systems; and as the Parlay capabilities become more enhanced, telecommunications service providers can get more creative with location-based and presence-based applications. And, it's all based on the ability to route calls intelligently," Slatnick said.
Armonk, New York-based IBM plans to sell the software to service providers through its telecom industry and WebSphere sales force. IBM is styling the WTAS Version 1.2 rollout as a toll that can potentially cut telecom application development and deployment costs by up to 50 percent. "[This] can help bring new revenue-producing services to market in mere months, as compared to traditional, proprietary platforms that can take a year or more," the company said.
Because it is based on Java and industry standards, IBM said the WTAS product is capable of accelerating the software development process. It is based on IBM's all-encompassing WebSphere Application Server, which uses Java 2 Enterprise Edition (J2EE).
IBM said the WTAS product, priced at $67,500, was tested with Ericsson's Jambala Service Capability Server 1.0 Parlay/OSA Gateway, a network element that allows Parlay-based applications to integrate with telecom networks.