HP to go public with its e-speak source code

After six months of talking the e-speak talk, Hewlett-Packard will finally walk the e-speak walk next month, delivering the source code for the technology, which company officials hope will be at the heart of future business-to-business transactions.

In its first attempt to generate the critical mass of support that company officials admit is necessary for the technology to succeed, HP on December 8 will deliver e-speak source code to developers via a free download at www.e-speak.net.

HP officials are hopeful that developers will begin creating e-speak components, to be housed in a component library from which other developers can purchase or license them in order to create e-services.

HP officials term espeak a "platform-neutral interface and software runtime [environment]."

According to officials, HP itself will initially populate the component library, with offerings for tasks such as payment, management, and security. Those solutions will leverage existing HP technologies such as Verifone and OpenView.

In addition to providing new components, HP is working to wrap existing applications such as SAP into e-speak, enabling them to be accessed as services.

The coalescence of e-speak components into e-services may eventually be carried out by "e-services servers," which would act similar to today's application servers, according to Rajiv Gupta, general manager of HP's Open Services. While such technology is being developed, HP will deliver what officials are calling the first complete e-services offering, Broker in a Box, which will offer the components necessary for companies to carry out business transactions via the Web.

One company that sees great potential in e-speak is GetThere .com, a Menlo Park, California-based company that offers online business-to-business travel procurement services.

According to a GetThere.com representative, just because e-speak has yet to be deployed does not mean it should be overlooked.

"Though we haven't implemented e-speak in our services, we do feel it addresses a very important area," the representative said. "There is a lot of value in creating standard methods for bridging related services -- in fact it is probably essential -- and e-speak could make that happen."

HP has also started an E-speak Developer's Program at www.hp.com/e-speak/developers.

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