IBM Rolls Out WebSphere Telco App

IBM Corp. on Friday lifted the wraps of its WebSphere
Telecom Application Server (Version 1.2), software that lets
telecommunications service providers create and deliver tools like 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 instance, 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.

The 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 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.

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