To help service providers come up with new enterprise offerings faster and less expensively, IBM has unveiled Java-based software for application development and deployment. It is clear, in the tight economy, that service providers need to establish new revenue streams with new offerings, and IBM executives maintain that enterprises will discover a need for the offerings being developed.
Based on Java and industry standards, the IBM Websphere Telecom Application Server Version 1.2 is slated to save operators 30 percent to 50 percent in application development and implementation. With a standards-based platform to work from, operators can draw from a much larger pool of developers, and they can form partnerships with more providers.
From IBMs perspective, enterprises have just as much to gain. "Basic capability is being built out around presence and location," said Joe Ziskin, director of Telecom Industry Solutions at IBM. "When you look at the new capabilities that will be adopted, a lot of them will bring positive return on investment."
Much of the enthusiasm about new telecom services for enterprises revolves around mobile applications, said Marty Slatnick, business development manager at IBM. Maintaining information about employees location, presence and availability is slated to drive productivity in many industries. Similarly, knowing where customers are can help companies improve their quality of service.
"Perhaps a customer calls in a problem and you want to know which customer service representative is near that customer," Slatnick said. "Its nice to know which people are at a location."
The telecom application server software supports the open programming standards developed by the Parlay Group and adopted by the European standards body as well as the 3rd Generation Partnership Project. Most of the interest in the new software so far comes from European and Asian operators, but U.S. operators are beginning to express enthusiasm as well, Slatnick said.
In February, IBM set up the Developer Center for Telecom and e-Business to help service providers and independent software developers enable applications on Websphere and the Parlay standard. New applications developed in that arena include a product that allows a companys customers to use the Web to request telephone callbacks with a "click-to-call" technology from Net4Call.