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Industry leaders join forces to build the Wireless Village initiative
Posted: 26-Apr-2001 [Source: Ericsson press release]

[Manufacturers announce the Wireless Village in an effort to define and promote universal specifications for mobile instant messaging.]

Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia announced today they have established Wireless Village, the Mobile Instant Messaging and Presence (IMPS) initiative, to define and promote a set of universal specifications for mobile instant messaging and presence services and create a community of supporters.

The specifications will be used for exchanging messages and presence information between mobile devices, mobile services and Internet-based instant messaging services. The protocol will be optimized for the requirements of mobile devices and wireless networks. The Wireless Village initiative is open to participation from industry supporters interested in providing early comments on and building interoperable implementations of these specifications.

User participation in the use of chat and other instant messaging services with mobile devices (e.g. phones, pagers, PDAs) is limited by the lack of a common and interoperable solution for the mobile world. Providing a mobile solution requires addressing the many challenging requirements such as the widely varying capabilities of mobile devices.

Instant message delivery services enable users to send various types of messages that are delivered in real time. Instant messaging is rapidly evolving to include rich multimedia content, such as audio and video clips and images with traditional text messaging. Presence services provide a system for sharing personal information about the user's status, (e.g., on-line, off-line, busy), location (home, work), and the moods of their friends and colleagues (happy, angry). Presence services will allow users to subscribe to presence such as listings of which friends and colleagues are currently online. In addition, these services will allow users to participate in private or public chat rooms with search capabilities. Ultimately network operators will be able to provide meeting and conferencing type of services with shared content.

The Wireless Village initiative will deliver an architectural specification, protocol specifications, as well as test specifications and tools for mobile IMPS. The initiative will also define procedures and tools for testing conformance and interoperability of mobile instant messaging and presence services.

The instant messaging specification will be based on prevalent bearer protocols and other well-adapted standards, such as SMS (Short Messaging Services), MMS (Multimedia Messaging Services), WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), and XML (Extensible Markup Language). This service will include security capabilities for user authentication, secure message transfer and access control. Operators will find these specifications applicable to both existing 2G, new 2.5G (e.g., GPRS), as well as emerging 3G wireless network technologies.

The Wireless Village initiative intends to publish the specifications by the end of the year. In addition, the initiative intends to sponsor interoperability demonstrations of mobile devices and wireless services that support the specifications. Other industry leaders can join as supporters of the Wireless Village initiative. Information is available at their website, www.wireless-village.org

"Messaging and presence services are key applications for the mobile Internet," said Frank Dawson, Nokia representative and Chairman of the Wireless Village initiative. "Creating the Wireless Village initiative is an important step in building a user-friendly mobile Internet experience. This new industry forum has an important role in Nokia's Mobile Internet Technical Architecture, and complements the work of other industry consortia."

The Chairman's sentiments are echoed by Jan Svensson, Ericsson's Vice President and PU manager for GSM and UMTS mobile phones.

"It's evident, looking at the development of instant messaging on the Internet today, that people have taken instant messaging to their hearts," said Svensson. "That's particularly true for the younger generation who use chat services for keeping in-touch with friends. Ericsson strongly believes that the Wireless Village initiative is a major step towards being able to provide a truly global instant messaging solution and also meet consumers needs also in the mobile world."

Janiece Webb, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Motorola's Internet Software and Content Group, is also excited about creation of the Wireless Village initiative.

"Instant messaging and presence services are proving to be among the most exciting areas in today's wireless and wired world and initial signs are that this market is set to expand massively over the next few months and years," said Webb. "One of the key factors in this growth will be ensuring that different devices can talk to each other - this initiative will provide the solution to that interoperability issue. Motorola also believes the Wireless Village initiative will drive the usage of GPRS and 3rd Generation data services, generating new revenue sources and innovative solutions for service providers."

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