US Carriers Team on App Interface Initiative
As promised earlier this year, ATIS has launched a new initiative to make it easier for network operators to work with apps developers and provide access to network capabilities, even in advance of open applications programming interfaces.
The Alliance for Telecommunications Industry Solutions (ATIS) Device Solutions Initiative, led by Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), CenturyLink Inc. (NYSE: CTL), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S), and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ), will eliminate the need for carrier-specific coding that apps developers need to add real-time communications capabilities to their apps, such as call signaling or network control. It will create tools that let developers write code once and run it on any carrier network.
The first DSI project was actually announced last July. Project ORCA for Open Real-Time Communications APIs, created code, called orca.js, which app developers could incorporate into their APIs in order to gain access to transport libraries built into the service provider networks. (See Killer Apps Meet Killer Whale: ORCA Opens Up.)
All of this is intended to be mutually beneficial to service providers and application developers. Service providers are already working with app developers to try to expose their network capabilities and get a piece of the action when WebRTC applications take off, and the DSI will make that process easier. App developers get easier access to advanced networking capabilities already built into carrier networks without having to develop carrier-specific codes.
The DSI is also an effort to bridge open source, typically built on royalty-free intellectual property rights, with more traditional ICT standards, which use reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) licensing, says Jim McEachern, who heads technology development for ATIS.
"DSI will have operating procedures that will be flexible enough to embrace open source and royalty-free but also traditional RAND programs associated with standards," he says. "It has to be flexible enough to support both of those and lightweight enough not to get in the way of open source projects and innovation, because the people involved with those don't want to get bogged down in bureaucracy. Balancing those two needs was a key part of it."
Both M2M and software-defined networking are expected to generate demand for applications needing real-time communications functions, McEachern says.
The DSI's work formally begins November 21 and is expected to bear fruit beginning next year.
—Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading