Hewlett-Packard Co and Macromedia Inc yesterday announced they had been working together to make it easier for telecom network carriers to build new mobile, fixed and broadband applications using the companies’ combined software architectures.
Macromedia’s Flash authoring software would be integrated with HP’s Service Delivery Platform in a bid to enable carriers to quickly develop new services for wireless computers, mobile phones, PDAs and other devices, the companies said.
With Macromedia, we are looking to extend our service delivery capabilities all the way to the device, said Peter Dragunas, director of network solutions of HP’s network and service business. We can link the service providers’ assets, the core of their network, to applications that reside on the device.
By combining HP’s architecture software with the Flash platform, which launched in June for developers to build Flash-based applications, carriers would be able to speed the development of new services from months to weeks, Dragunas said.
Carriers also could create new service applications, such as online collaboration built on Macromedia’s Breeze enterprise web-conferencing software, said Eric Weiss, Macromedia’s vice president of telecommunications solutions. Under the new HP-Macromedia platform, Breeze could be deployed over telecom networks and integrated with other SDP applications such as audio conferencing, location and messaging.
Macromedia developers would have tools to build other communications applications, such as messaging, location and presence, the companies said.
With the new HP-Macromedia platform, service providers could offer combined voice, data and video communication with a single user interface that would work on any operating system and device, the companies claim.
This is a big issue for carriers, Dragunas said. For instance, a carrier may have dozens of implementations of a single application to suite different devices, he said.
Even if the applications come from multiple companies, carriers want the user interface to be consistent, Dragunas said.
HP’s new SDP architecture promises to cut through some of the clutter, he said. If you can simplify that down to a smaller number, in part by using the Flash environment on mobile devices, you certainly could potentially save a lot of money in operational costs, he said.
Weiss said carriers are grappling not only with multiple applications from various vendors, but also different types of networks, and the new HP-Flash platform would help them insulate end users from the jumble.
And, by writing an application in Flash that can run on various devices, there is shorter time to market and lower development costs, Weiss said.
Dragunas said he expects carriers would use the Flash-enabled SDP to customize services. They’re not interested in packaging up someone else’s service … they want to customize the experience for the network and create a brand around that experience, he said.
A service delivery platform, such as HP’s, is an integrated software group that enables service providers to efficiently set up and manage multiple applications for fixed and mobile devices, such as virtual private networks and mobile Web services.
SDPs are fast catching on and vendors now include Microsoft Corp and Sun Microsystems Inc, which announced its telecom SDP in early June.
However, Macromedia’s Weiss said the HP SDP, unlike other SDPs, was an open, layered architecture that enabled best-of-breed applications at each layer.
And that’s what carriers want, Weiss said. They don’t want a single-vendor solution.
HP’s SDP also enables carriers to launch new services with a forklift upgrade but rather leveraging existing network capabilities, he said.
The deal with HP is not exclusive. Weiss said Macromedia is currently not evaluating other SDP’s as potential partners.
Dragunas said HP chose Macromedia to partner with because of Flash’s widespread usage across multitude devices, from cell phones to PCs to set-top boxes. There are web browsers that have some of those capabilities, he said but not to the level of the richness and experience to the type of media that you can integrated into the Flash player.
San Francisco-based Macromedia and Palo Alto, California-based HP declined to confirm if they had any customers for the new platform.
As part of the deal, whose terms were not disclosed, HP becomes a reseller of Flash elements, such as the Breeze and Flex products. Weiss said HP also becomes a so-called preferred integrator, which means the companies have a joint sales, marketing and development set-up.