BEA To Target Telco Web Services

BEA Systems Monday will unveil a new software platform
that lets communications providers use Web services to improve the way they
serve customers, has learned.

The BEA WebLogic Network Gatekeeper will help developers write software that
facilitates safe messaging, calling and billing services, according to a
document obtained by

“The product provides a single point of entry into the network to define
and enforce policies for accessing key network enablers, such as user status,
user location, and short message service (SMS), multimedia message service
(MMS),” according to the document.

At a launch event introducing the product in February, BEA CTO Mark Carges
the Gatekeeper a kind of “traffic cop” designed to guard network resources,
allowing carriers to manage access for network resources by enforcing user
access policies.

The idea of the platform is to help service providers offer Voice over IP (VoIP) and RFID services.

A set of Web services interfaces, which the company
calls Telecom Web Services, form the core of the Gatekeeper, according to
the BEA document.

The interfaces are standardized through the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA),
Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) and The Parlay Group, a
consortium of fixed and mobile operators and software and platform vendors.

BEA officials have said the market for service delivery software for telcos
is expected to be about $250 million in 2005, with the potential to balloon
to single-digit billions by 2008.

ZapThink analyst Jason Bloomberg said the choice of a telecom offering for
Web services is timed well because many carriers are actively building out
services for both their landline and mobile customers.

The Gatekeeper is the first deliverable from BEA’s WebLogic Communications
Platform (code-named Project Da Vinci), a software suite to help service
providers lure new and keep existing customers. The Gatekeeper works with
BEA WebLogic Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) application server, the other
key component of the communications platform.

With the Gatekeeper and SIP server, the San Jose, Calif., company believes
it can cash in on the promise of Web services by increasing the average
revenue per user with services, such as VoIP, RFID, conferencing, gaming and
instant messaging.

To that end, Bloomberg said the SIP support is particularly
interesting, because it opens up new realms of possibilities, both within
the telecom world and beyond it. SIP is an application-layer protocol
that allows the two participants in an exchange to agree on a set of
compatible media types, much like modem negotiation.

These capabilities may endear it to telcos looking to construct
sophisticated service-oriented architectures (SOA), he said.

“By supporting SIP, BEA both addresses short-term requirements of their
carrier customers, as well as positioning itself well long-term as SIP finds
broader acceptance in the enterprise marketplace,” Bloomberg said.

BEA faces stiff competition in the push to woo telecommunications carriers
from HP, IBM and Microsoft. But the company is well entrenched within the
telco space. Wireline and wireless companies have used BEA’s WebLogic
application sever and Tuxedo e-commerce server to build applications.

In fact, all of the Global 50 communications service providers run portions
of their operational support systems on BEA.

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