724 focuses on mobile opportunities

One of the current goals of mobile operators is to bring new content services to subscribers, and a new development from 724 Solutions claims to lend a hand in the process.

According to the Toronto-based company, its X-treme Mobility Suite (XMS) of products and tools will allow mobile carriers to deploy new content services, manage vendor relationships and stimulate network traffic.

Included in the XMS offering are the X-treme Pull and Push Proxy Gateways. According to Thom Hounsell, director of marketing for 724, the gateways manage and route traffic based on users, services, sessions and data. The Pull Gateway brings session-based support for a number of open mobile operator and device standards, including WAP 2.0 and HTTP. The Push Proxy Gateway for push messages supports short messaging service (SMS) capabilities. Both run on Sun Solaris 7 and 8, Hewlett-Packard Co.’s HP-UX, and Oracle Corp.’s 11i.

In terms of application enablers, the X-treme Activity Manager offers a modular architecture for managing workflow across all network services. The Activity Manager enables self-provisioning for content providers and subscribers, Hounsell explained, and gives providers subscriber identification, location, messaging infrastructure and manages rights and billing agreements.

Also part of the application enabler functionality are the X-treme Alerts Generator and the X-treme Message Manager. The Alerts Generator tool allows alert offerings to be built, and provides an interface where users can customize alert preferences.

“For example, with Alerts Manager, mobile operators can introduce subscribers to special promotions like new ring tones that can be downloaded,” Hounsell explained. “It stimulates network usage and users can customize preferences to only be alerted at certain times and of certain things.”

The X-treme Message Manager allows mobile operators to extend messaging capabilities to in-house and third party applications. Using an extensible XML-based API, applications can reach end-users through different channels including SMS, WAP and instant messenger applications like MSN, AOL, Yahoo, and ICQ.

And while 724 said it anticipates high demand for the XMS from North American mobile carriers, and has recently signed a deal with partner HP to offer its gateways to Sprint’s third-generation 1x network, at least one Canadian wireless operator said it prefers to keep things in-house.

“We do all the infrastructure elements for our wireless Web and text-messaging and SMS [applications],” said Mark Langton, a spokesperson for Telus Mobility in Toronto. “We are not a likely buyer for this product, but there are many carriers that would likely be.”

This is because applications like SMS have begun to push forward as demand from subscribers has grown louder, said Jeremy Depow, an analyst with The Yankee Group Canada in Ottawa. According to Depow, the market for mobile content services is growing rapidly and with inter-operability agreements signed and sealed, subscribers will see these apps very soon. And in order to enable these applications and allow the content to be available, “you need these kinds of back-office solutions,” he said.

South of the border, analyst Adam Zawel agreed with his colleague in Kanata. Zawel, a director with the Wireless/Mobile Enterprise Commerce Group with the Yankee Group in Boston, said that with these new transactions taking place, carriers are faced with the convergence of a number of industries and many are looking to companies like 724 to build the mechanisms to do so.

“Almost all large North American carriers are preparing their infrastructures using both external and internal resources for next-generation data,” Zawel said. “This move to data services, especially data services that allow third-party content, is very different for carriers.”

724 Solutions’ XMS offering is available now. Visit www.724solutions.com for more information.