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Audio, video added to CORBA

The Object Management Group adopts a new standard that makes possible the development of interactive multimedia applications built to the CORBA standard.

The Object Management Group (OMG), the organization responsible for promoting the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA), has ratified a new standard for managing the broadcast of audio and visual data, making possible the development of full interactive multimedia applications built to the CORBA standard.

CORBA has gained popularity in recent months as leading software developers, including Netscape Communications, Sun Microsystems, and Oracle, have adopted CORBA as the cornerstone of Java-centric software strategies. Sun, for instance, announced in June that its JavaSoft division will adopt IIOP (Internet Inter-ORB Protocol), a part of CORBA, as a way for Java components to communicate across the network.

CORBA defines an architecture for working with component-based software that runs across multiple dissimilar computers. CORBA allows applications, written to the CORBA spec, to communicate with one another no matter where they are located or who has designed them.

Until now, the CORBA spec has not addressed audio and video data streams, which are becoming increasingly popular as part of Web and intranet applications.

The new standard ratified this week defines how CORBA applications can handle audio and video content, allowing developers to add the ability to handle large amounts of streamed multimedia data to cross-platform applications. Applications written to the new spec will recognize and understand audio and video streams, no matter where or on what operating system or hardware they run.

The updated CORBA specification that includes the new multimedia standard is already available online for review, said Dave Campbell, a marketing specialist at the OMG. But "when it will ship in products is up to the vendors," Campbell said.

The standard was proposed by Iona Technologies, a maker of CORBA software, Lucent, which makes multimedia chips and other technologies, and systems maker Siemens.