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IBM, Fujitsu team on telecommunications

The two plan to link their telecommunications networking products to get developers to build corporate-communications programs that take advantage of public telephone networks.

IBM and Fujitsu have struck a deal to link networking products to encourage developers to build corporate communications applications that can take advantage of public telephone networks.

The two companies said Thursday that by the end of the year, they plan to achieve interoperability between IBM's WebSphere Telecom Application Server and Fujitsu's GeoServe server. The integration will be based on a telecommunications-industry standard called Parlay.

Parlay aims to provide a standardized way to build applications that access services offered by telecommunications operators. By adhering to the standard, IBM and Fujitsu hope to encourage software developers to create Parlay-compliant applications that run on their products. Applications written for IBM's WebSphere Telecom Application Server middleware will be able to connect to public network services via Fujitsu's GeoServe gateway.

"The initial phase of Parlay applications has been oriented toward letting people more easily provision communications services through the Web, like conferencing or notification," said Marty Slatnick, Software Group executive for IBM's Telecommunications Technology Solutions.

But by using Parlay to take advantage of telecommunications carriers' services, a person could choose to get a notification of a stock quote, for example, through different mediums at different times--like e-mail, a short text message on a cell phone or a voice mail, said Slatnick.

Further down the line, IBM is eyeing more sophisticated applications that integrate enterprise applications and carriers' services. By connecting a corporate sales force or work force automation application with a location and availability service from a telecommunications carrier, Slatnick said, mobile employees could be more effective by being able to reach "the right person at the right time."

Deployments of Parlay applications are already going on in Europe, where a number of carriers have voiced plans to adopt the standard.

Parlay is backed by a consortium of about 65 companies.