Telecommunications Operators Can Reduce Time-to-Market With New Platform

Swisscom Mobile and IBM Have Demonstrated the Capability to More Efficiently and Rapidly Create Telecom Services and Incorporate Third-Party Applications

Select a topic or year

MONTPELLIER, FRANCE - 13 Feb 2006: Swisscom Mobile and IBM today announced a milestone for network operators seeking to more efficiently create new telecommunications services. With the 'shelf life' of new products and their tariffs decreasing, operators are looking to radically decrease the time it takes to bring new products to market while concurrently reducing costs.

IBM and Swisscom have recently completed an innovative proof-of-concept that explored the effectiveness of a solution based on the 3GPP IP Multimedia Sub-system (IMS) based solution for service innovation and cost reduction. The solution architecture and platform were delivered by IBM and incorporates architectural design support and components from a number of IBM Business Partners and innovative players, notably Nortel with its commercial, carrier grade IMS solution, an event-driven JAIN SLEE (Service Logic Execution Environment) platform from jNetX, application server and service bus technology from IBM WebSphere and service creation tools from IBM Rational.

This announcement comes at a time when the competitive telecommunications market is making the move to Next Generation Networks and services as a way to enable growth and contain costs. Recognizing the value of information technologies such as WebSphere and Rational for innovation, Swisscom Mobile turned to IBM as one of the few industry players that could pull together an end to end solution.

"We share a vision with Swisscom about the important role of service creation and service execution environments," said Sandy Aitken, IMS Solutions, IBM Global Communications Sector. "Working with Swisscom Mobile in this proof of concept has given us the opportunity to refine our approach -- using IT capabilities -- to even more closely match service provider requirements."

Through joint development efforts at the IBM Telecommunications Solutions Lab (TSL) in Montpellier, France, the two companies are trialing a service infrastructure to provide rich voice and data services to customers quickly and at a reduced cost. In the proof of concept, two combinational services were developed, CallTones (allowing the sender to choose the ring tone to be played on the recipient's device) and InfoService (an information service allowing an operator to simultaneously talk and push mapping and direction onto the customer's handset).

The architecture is based on IBM's Service Provider Delivery Environment (SPDE) framework with extensions to accommodate the specific requirements of the 3GPP IMS architecture. The solution comprises two main environments -- Service Execution and Service Creation. The Service Execution environment utilizes Nortel's IMS control plane located at IBM's Montpellier facility and which is connected to Swisscom Mobile's network via IP VPN circuits. The Service Creation Environment, based on IBM Rational tooling, was installed at Swisscom Innovation's premises in Berne, Switzerland. With this arrangement, Swisscom project members' business analysts, software designers and architects were equipped with common tooling and processes that enabled them to develop the new services.

The service creation environment provides a model-driven and integrated set of tools for creating, deploying and reusing services and software components. The environment includes a well-defined and automated process offering guidance across the service creation lifecycle. The domain is realized using an integrated set of technology including IBM's WebSphere and Rational software, and software from jNetX. Xavier Weibel, Swisscom Mobile's Project Leader, said, "This horizontal approach to service creation combined with the power of IMS gives us a much closer interlock between our Business Analysts and Technical Architects allowing us to translate marketing product wish lists to reality much more efficiently."

IBM's software capabilities help telecommunications service providers evolve previously siloed network infrastructure into componentized reusable services that can easily interoperate using industry standards. This approach, called Service Oriented Architecture (SOA), combines business operations with information technology. According to Gartner, an IT industry research firm, SOA will provide the basis for 80 percent of new software development projects by 2008. IBM's portfolio of software, services and partner initiatives for SOA enables telecommunications service providers to apply an SOA to their network environments.

Reusability is key principle behind the SLEE -- that is the implementation of common service enablers that can be re-used across multiple services. The approach leads to shorter products development times, reduced cost and a more integrated service portfolio. The architecture was realized through all the components deployed in this environment interconnected by web services. The SLEE provided a low latency environment connected to Nortel's control plane via a standards compliant ISC interface. IBM's WebSphere Application Server provided a service integration bus, a Business Process Execution Language (BPEL) server and a J2EE application environment. The Service Execution Environment also included two service enablers located within Swisscom Mobile's -- a location server and horizontal address book.

The proof-of-concept demonstrated that it is possible to implement a Service Architecture for IMS that facilitates the rapid assembly of innovative combinational services.

Related XML feeds
Topics XML feeds
Business partners
Business partner information including strategic alliances
Information Management, Lotus, Tivoli, Rational, WebSphere, Open standards, open source