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Hey, Hey! We're the OMA!

Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK), Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERICY), and all the usual wireless suspects – oh, and Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) – have formed a "new" industry group, the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), a body dedicated to developing "open standards" for the industry.

Eyelids getting heavy yet? Stifling a yawn? So are we. Just how many bodies dedicated to open standards can one closed industry have, we ask ourselves (rhetorical, like).

Well, the OMA will actually sound the death-knell of a number of other bodies, most notably the WAP Forum Ltd. and the Nokia-led Open Mobile Architecture (OMA) project.

And it will make life easier for whoever is tasked with putting together Powerpoint presentations when CEOs like Don Listwin of Openwave Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: OPWV) go on the road.

"We crafted this realignment because there were about fifteen different fora out there," says Listwin. "You should have seen my chart."

But will the new OMA succeed in its stated aim of developing and delivering open standards for the industry? "We could still screw up," Listwin allows, with refreshing perspicacity.

The analysts Unstrung spoke to about OMA seemed somewhat underwhelmed by the shiny new forum.

"OMA is a broad-based agreement to comply with standards devised by other standards-setting bodies," says Seamus McAteer, principal analyst at the Zelos Group LLC. "It's a statement of intent and a press release. It looks analogous to the [3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP)] and a bunch of other umbrella organizations. Doesn't mean a whole lot in the real world."

"It's an alliance of alliances," agrees Amit Nagpal, senior consultant with the U.S arm of Analysys Consulting.

Not even the fact that Microsoft is on board from the beginning this time (Redmond was a member of the WAP Forum) can get a rise out of McAteer. "The fact is that Microsoft does not have a big impact here," he says So, there you have it: The OMA is a standards body about standards bodies. A meta-standards body, if you will – the wireless alliance that ate itself.

— Dan Jones, Senior Editor, Unstrung
http://www.unstrung.com
lrmobile_kr 12/4/2012 | 10:16:23 PM
re: Hey, Hey! We're the OMA! Seamus McAteer who said "OMA is a broad-based agreement to comply with standards devised by other standards-setting bodies," may be quoted out of context, or is underestimating the value of such an undertaking and may be missing the overall picture. Furthermore, I think Unstrung is missing the boat on this one.

Please read the press release
http://www.openwave.com/newsro...

I think that the aim in a whole is a good one and rather ingenious at that. Let me explain.

The mobile radio industry has figured out that their products can be differentiated through providing features and services. This can be done by standardizing the interface to the radio and defining what services are available. Knowing this standard interface, application manufacturers can build loads of applications without worring about is going on in the radio. In the same way, the radio manufacturers can improve the radios without disturbing the large body of applications running on top.

In order for this to be a success, the extremely complex radio platforms, although implemented differently, must be fully interoperable. This means they must conform to the same versions of the underlying standards. This does not only mean that they must access the airwaves in a uniform matter, but they must process data at higher levels in a standard manner.

Think of how good it would have been for the computer industry to have a standard whereby it was possible to use any computer chip (Motorola 68K or Intel 86/Pentium) with a compliant operating system and run applications on top. When a faster chip is developed, you adapt the operating system that goes along with it and all of the applications still run on top of it. You would be able to buy application software in the store that run on both apples, IBMs, linuxes, CEs...etc.

OMA is trying to do that for the mobile radio industry. The software in the application just needs to know a little about the capabilities of the radio below it and its input/output devices, an not what radio standard (CDMA, TDMA, GSM, 802.11, 3G...), or what processor and operating system is running underneath. The application manufacturer does not have to make a version for each combination and is now allowed to concentrate on building the applications.

The Open Mobile Alliance will provide the standards for this undertaking and interoperability testing.

Simply ingenious.

Konrad Roeder
Consulting Systems Engineer
http://www.springswireless.com
joset01 12/4/2012 | 10:16:12 PM
re: Hey, Hey! We're the OMA! Konrad

I completely agree that the aim is laudable, especially since the CDMA community seems to be involved this .

However, its hard not to be skeptical about yet another press release (which I did read, BTW) that talks about "open standards" for mobile.

Isn't this pretty much exactly what the open mobile architecture project, the original open mobile alliance and the m-services group were supposed to be doing?

The new OMA looks more like houskeeping than the great leap forward. But I suppose we'll see how successful its been in a year or so.

[email protected]
lrmobile_kr 12/4/2012 | 10:16:09 PM
re: Hey, Hey! We're the OMA! Dan,
The Open Mobile Alliance http://www.openmobilealliance.... is a sense the standard body, the interoperability testers, and the keepers of the Open Mobile Architecture all wrapped in one for 3G technologies. It will take at least a year or two to come up with the first cut of some workable standards. Then interop testing will take another 6 months or so.

M-services is a similar thing for GSM to rescue the WAP fiasco.

Konrad Roeder
http://www.springswireless.com
standardsarefun 12/4/2012 | 10:15:18 PM
re: Hey, Hey! We're the OMA! Probably the biggest advantage of OMA is that it currently has a good "buzz" about it and there is a real willingness to merge the crazy number of competing / overlapping wireless application fora into some sort of single voice.

Let's see what happens
standardsarefun 12/4/2012 | 10:15:17 PM
re: Hey, Hey! We're the OMA! The good URL for OMA is http://www.openmobilealliance....

The ones in the article point to things like the Ontario Medical Association
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