HP Takes Flash Approach to SDPs

Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) is teaming up with Macromedia Inc. (NYSE: MACR), best known for its Flash multimedia player used by Website and games developers, to target carriers looking to develop next-generation converged applications and services.

The two firms are to integrate HP's service delivery platform (SDP) with Macromedia's Flash platform, which was launched in June to enable developers to build applications based on Flash technology.

A service delivery platform is an integrated set of software modules that, collectively, enable service providers to quickly and efficiently launch and manage multiple fixed and mobile services, whether created inhouse or by third-party developers (see SDP Costs Get a Grilling and Why SDP Matters Now).

The SDP concept is gaining credibility and support from major carriers, and is heralding the increasing influence of IT firms, such as HP, Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT), and Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW), on the telecom sector. (See Global Crossing Puts SDP Into Action, FT Commits to MS SDP, Microsoft Preps for Telco Battle, and Sun Announces SDP Plan.)

The emergence and growing use of SDPs will be discussed during a dedicated session at this week's Future of Telecom – Europe 2005 at the Olympia Conference Centre in London.

HP's SDP is already being used by major carriers, including Telefònica Mòviles SA and South Korean mobile operator SK Telecom (Nasdaq: SKM). (See Sprint Chases SDP Success.)

The aim of the new partnership is to provide service providers and HP with a consistent set of interfaces that can be customized and deployed across a wide range of end-user devices, including PCs, mobile phones, and PDAs. Flash is currently installed on nearly 600 million devices, mainly PCs. It will also allow Macromedia developers to access and build upon communications applications such as presence, messaging, and location.

"This will give service providers and users a consistent interface, with the same look and feel, across multiple devices. We're excited about working with HP on this because of its experience in the telecom sector," says Eric Weiss, Macromedia's VP of telecom solutions.

For HP, achieving that consistency has been an issue, according to Peter Dragunas, director at HP's network and service providers business unit. "We've been challenged in working with mobile operators to achieve that consistent look and feel across multiple devices," he says, "but now this counters that problem. It's about extending the SDP from the core of the network to the device."

Dragunas says HP is in talks with a number of service providers about deploying the combined HP/Macromedia solution, though there haven't been any takers as yet. "The carriers weren't expecting this sort of capability for a few more years yet, and they like the idea of being able to control a service from end to end."

Heavy Reading analyst Caroline Chappell, who has written a report on the emergence of SDPs, and who is chairing the SDP session at the FOTE event, believes the partnership is another sign that the SDP sector is maturing (see SDPs: The Next Grand Design?).

"This is positive for HP. Macromedia and Flash are big names and established brands, and developers will already be familiar with the Macromedia development language and tools," says Chappell. "This is all about giving service developers a standard set of parameters within which to work. Anything that makes the interface more simple is a positive thing."

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

Want to get an update on the latest technologies fueling European telecom and meet with its pioneers? Check out Light Reading's The Future of Telecom – Europe 2005, to be held at the Olympia Conference Centre in London on September 7 and 8, 2005.

Hosted by Light Reading founders Peter Heywood and Stephen Saunders, The Future of Telecom – Europe 2005 is a new style of conference and exhibition covering the eight hottest technology topics in telecom.

For more information, click here.

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