The Femto Forum, an independent industry and operator association that supports femtocell deployment worldwide, today announced important progress in the development of femtocell-powered mobile applications.
The body has published an industry-wide agreed set of API specifications that enable advanced mobile applications based on femtocell technology. The first applications have already been built based on these specifications by the Forum’s vendor members for operator customers. Additionally, the Femto Forum says it has worked with the Broadband Forum to update the standard for femtocell management to ensure customer equipment can be remotely updated to support advanced applications.
The API specifications are now available to the femtocell community and the Forum is keen to see other bodies implement the completed specifications into the dominant industry standard APIs. The specifications are for network-based APIs, which will allow operators to drive the development of femtocell-powered open access, enterprise and consumer applications. The API provides femtocell awareness information so developers can incorporate enhanced presence, context and location-sensitive features into new and existing apps, and can also take advantage of the lower cost and faster data connections enabled by femtocells.
In parallel to the work, the Femto Forum has worked with the Broadband Forum to update its TR-196 Femto Access Point Service Data Model, a global femtocell management standard, to enable support for femtocell applications. This will allow mobile operators to use their standard management systems to remotely provision and configure advanced femtocell applications on their customers’ equipment as well as issue repairs and updates.
“With residential, enterprise and outdoor femtocell deployments rapidly growing across the globe, there is a major opportunity for operators to start offering unique new applications. Already in Japan, we are seeing mobile operators offering commercial, revenue-generating applications that send an SMS to parents when children arrive home from school. The number of potential applications enabled by this new and exciting API is literally endless,” said Andy Germano, The Femto Forum’s Vice-Chairman and head of the Services Special Interest Group. “However, for operators to take this opportunity seriously they need a simple means of managing the applications they offer. The new femtocell management standard is the key to delivering this capability.”
“Standards are the lifeblood that enable operators to have confidence in a new technology. The Broadband Forum’s original femtocell standard enabled mobile operators to manage their new rollouts using equipment from a variety of vendors. With this extension to the standard operators can also manage advanced femtocell applications thereby enabling a new breed of exciting services in the home, enterprise and beyond,” said Robin Mersh, The Broadband Forum’s Chief Executive Officer.