AppTrigger, which offers technology for IMS and legacy applications to be delivered over next-generation networks (NGNs), has signed up its second app developer partner, Unisys.
The Richardson, Texas-based ISV was founded in 2001, initially to develop software for IP Multimedia Subsystem environments, which are widely seen as the next evolution for carrier networking, based entirely on the internet protocol. However, within a couple of years it recognized that IMS was not only a fairly crowded market already, but also there was a need for technology to accommodate non-IMS apps that carriers wanted to continue to use on their NGNs.
It refocused on the development of this technology and in February this year launched its Ignite Application Session Controller. The ASC is a network element that sits between the apps themselves and the network infrastructure, serving as a traffic cop, said Patrick Fitzgerald, AppTrigger VP of marketing. It does all the protocol interworking, enabling application connectivity, and as a result, service mashups.
In the traditional circuit-switched world, the favored way of delivering value-added services such as toll-free numbers, call screening, and prepaid telephony is with an Intelligent Network. This is an architecture that avoids all additional functionality having to be loaded onto the core switching systems, where they would slow down product release cycles and require extensive testing.
Hiving these applications onto an overlaid set of network elements, most of them servers, represented a major architectural step forward when INs were created in the 80s, but now service providers face the challenge of migrating these legacy apps into IMS environments.
Paul Cronin, AppTrigger’s VP of sales for the EMEA region, said an IN architecture involves a Service Creation Environment at the back end, developing the service logic for the apps to be deployed on a Service Control Point, which traditionally would interface with a Service Switching Point in a carrier’s phone exchange.
In the IMS world, the SSP is replaced by the Call Session Control Function server, but that requires talking SIP, so an ASC sitting in front of the CSCF can do the protocol interworking, said Cronin. To the SCP our box looks like an SSP, while to the CSCF it looks like a SIP application server.
This ability move between the world of legacy and IMS apps is attractive to application developers, said Fitzgerald, who said it is an integral part of AppTrigger’s go-to-market is partnering with ISVs who can use the ASC to deliver their product into carriers that are making the transition from circuit-switched to packet-switched networks.
Its first partner was interactive voice response developer Intervoice and now it has added Unisys, which is the number two player in voicemail platforms behind Comverse. AppTrigger said its ASC, which Unisys is re-branding as the Unisys Application Session Controller, provides Unisys’s 150m+ customers to seamlessly migrate and modernize their existing Unisys network platforms.
AppTrigger’s ultimate goal is to partner with a couple of the leading Service Delivery Platform vendors such as IBM, Oracle, BEA, EDS, or Microsoft, because their products offer a single connection into carriers’ OSS/BSS infrastructure.
It’s probably still too early for such a deal, however, and Cronin said the next partnership, to be announced in the next few months, would probably be with another messaging company or someone in prepaid telephony.
AppTrigger’s strategy of offering middleware between applications and carrier networks, even if it shuns the term middleware, appears to be vindicated by recent moves from IMS developers including Sonus and Stratus, which have also begun to offer the ability for carriers to integrate non-IMS apps on their NGNs.