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BEA Systems targets telecom

The application server maker and telecommunications equipment provider Oki Electric Industry team up to help carrier customers develop IP-based communication services.

Application server maker BEA Systems and telecommunications equipment provider Oki Electric Industry are teaming up to help carrier customers develop Internet Protocol-based communications services.

The companies said Friday that they are designing a new application server that combines Oki?s Internet Protocol technology with BEA WebLogic Server 8.1. Oki Electric also intends to integrate the development work into its CenterStage AS platform applications server.

Specifically, the new platform will combine communications technology such as voice over IP (VoIP) and Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), with BEA's application software. SIP is a signaling protocol for Internet conferencing, telephony, events notification and instant messaging. The purpose of the new application server is to help carrier customers more easily integrate applications and communications technologies in order to offer new communications services.

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Traditionally, BEA has allowed different vertical markets to customize their application servers themselves. But the company has taken a different approach toward the telecommunications market. It is partnering with telecom software and hardware vendors to develop a more customized application server. Earlier this year, it announced a deal with VoIP software maker Ubiquity Software.

Shawn Willet, a principal analyst at Current Analysis, said it makes sense for BEA to target the telecom market. IBM, one of BEA?s biggest competitors, already has a strong presence in vertical industries such as automotives, retail and manufacturing.

"BEA is a smaller company," Willet said. "They don?t have the giant professional services that IBM has. So they have to put their energy toward something. Telecom has always been a big market for them."

Last year, IBM announced a partnership with Fujitsu to integrate its WebSphere Telecom Application Server and Fujitsu's GeoServe server.

Oki Electric plans to develop a SIP module on BEA WebLogic Server 8.1 in the first quarter of 2004. As part of the agreement, BEA and Oki Electric plan to cooperate on joint sales and marketing activities for the new business applications platform.