INTEROP - Siemens lays out SOA plans

At Interop, Siemens will discuss how it has used service-oriented architecture to enhance its products

Siemens Communications will announce its commitment to SOA (services-oriented architecture) at the Interop trade show in Las Vegas today, revealing that it has already used SOA to create infrastructure software for enterprise IP communications.

SOA is an approach to software development in which applications are broken into distributed, reusable parts. It allows Siemens to reuse basic software components, saving time and money in developing new applications, and the company also is making those elements available to partners in cases where it benefits both parties, said Scott Washburn, global portfolio manager.

The company, a unit of Siemens, is staking its claim to SOA after competitors such as Avaya have announced their intention to use it in the future, Washburn said.

Siemens emphasized that it has already used its SOA framework to develop two components of its HiPath 8000 softswitch: HiPath 8000 Assistant, a management tool, and HiPath Media Server. All future components of HiPath 8000 will either be developed with the SOA framework or integrated into it using Web services, he said. Siemens also used the framework to create the software development kit (SDK) for its HiPath OpenScape collaboration portal, Washburn said.

The SOA approach is already set to pay off in at least three cases, according to Siemens. SAP plans to use one of the reusable components of Siemens' SOA framework, called Identity and Access Management, in its NetWeaver application-building platform. With IBM, Siemens is working on 30 customer projects using SOA to integrate communications functions such as "click to call" into enterprise applications. Microsoft used the OpenScape SDK in integrating OpenScape with Windows Live Communications Server.

"Communications processes need to be integrated into business applications," said Brian Riggs, an analyst with Current Analysis. "SOA will be what allows that."

"Siemens is just now taking the first steps in making that happen," Riggs said. "There are a lot of Siemens' competitors who haven't talked about this at all."

Also at Interop, Siemens will unveil HiPath BizIP, a phone system for small enterprise environments that uses peer-to-peer technology instead of a dedicated phone switch.

BizIP supports typical office phone capabilities, including voice mail, but switching intelligence is handled by the linked IP phones, which are from the BizIP 410 series. From two to 16 phones can be linked in a workgroup. The system can link into a broadband connection via the BizIP Access Device, allowing users to make Internet calls. The system will also be able to connect to some carriers' networks via SIP (Session Initiation Protocol) trunking.

HiPath BizIP is available now in Europe, priced around US$319 for each phone, software included, and for the Access Device.

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