IBM said it plans to leverage Nortels presence and expertise in carrier networks to drive more of its SOA-based technologies into next-generation telecom networks based on the industry standard IP Multimedia Subsystem.
Toward that end, the two vendors expanded their relationship to encourage third-party developers to create and test new multimedia applications such as IP surveillance, child tracking, video dating and more.
The centerpiece product of the agreement for IBM is the WebSphere Presence Server it launched in the summer of 2006.
"Were bringing the concept and our experience with the SOA architecture into the services plane or application layer of IMS," said Michael Perera, manager of IBMs communications sector, in Raleigh, N.C. With the WebSphere Presence Server as a reusable component, applications that can exploit its capabilities include multiplayer games, instant messaging and "IP-centric find-me-follow-me applications," he said.
Perera said IBM believes that presence is a function that can help service providers differentiate their services to become more than just bandwidth providers. "Theyre uniquely positioned to provide presence information based on existing handsets and customers. Its something Microsoft, Google and Skype dont control, but service providers do. As you build new value-added applications, you can build presence into that," Perera said.
The two vendors will provide third-party developers with development tools and simulators to speed application development and provide testing without requiring a live IMS network.
IBM and Nortel also will open a new IMS testing and innovation center at Nortels campus in Richardson, Texas. That innovation center, along with IBMs existing Telecom Solutions Innovation Center in Montpelier, France, will provide a live IMS network for testing, rather than developers having to test new applications on customer production networks. Those innovation centers will also be used for live demonstrations of "end-to-end solutions," Perera said.
The expanded agreement also calls for more extensive joint testing of the two vendors respective platforms, where IBM will leverage Nortel infrastructure and vice versa. Both vendors also intend to integrate IBMs carrier-focused offerings with Nortel VOIP (voice over IP) and Fixed Mobile Convergence applications. Nortel will include IBMs WebSphere Presence and Group List Enabler Software as part of its IMS line to offer carriers and service providers pre-integrated joint offerings.
Nortel Networks in 2006 struck a somewhat different deal with Microsoft to allow for the development of VOIP applications for the enterprise. The applications will leverage Nortel VOIP technology on Microsoft server platforms.
IBM, for its part, said it believes that with Nortel it can address the convergence of service providers and the enterprise. "As enterprises look to service providers more and more for value-added services and applications, service providers are looking to provide that back and have more closely integrated applications," Perera said.