Alliance Lays Foundation for Internet Services

In early March, fifteen technology companies announced an alliance to create and maintain the Open Service Gateway specification, the industry's first open interface for connecting consumer and small business appliances with Internet services, according to reports published by IBM Corp. The Open Service Gateway specification is designed to provide a common foundation for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), network operators and equipment manufacturers to deliver a wide range of Internet services to gateway servers running in the home or remote office.

IBM is teaming with Alcatel, Cable and Wireless, Electricite de France, Enron Communications, Ericsson, Lucent Technologies, Motorola, Network Computer Inc., Nortel Networks, Oracle Corp., Philips Electronics, Sun Microsystems, Sybase and Toshiba to jointly define the Open Service Gateway specification to allow the consolidation and management of voice, data and multimedia communications to and from the home. The specification will also be designed to provide secure wireless or wired links between high-value home services -- such as security, energy management, emergency healthcare and e-commerce services -- and the computer systems of external computer networks and Internet service providers.

With the Open Service Gateway specification, service providers and software vendors will be able to depend upon a standardized software environment for residential, small office/home office and remote environments.

By writing to the Open Service Gateway specification's Java technology-based environment, service providers and vendors traditionally faced with inflexible dedicated systems development are expected to be able to leverage the infrastructure of the Internet while drawing from the resources of the millions of Java software and Internet developers worldwide.

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