Telecom Timeout

Sep 1 2010   4:42PM GMT

ALU adds to app development platform puzzle with OpenPlug acquisition

Kate Gerwig Kate Gerwig Profile: Kate Gerwig

Alcatel-Lucent has added another piece to its in-progress application developers platform, which is designed to use the network as a Web development platform and insert carriers in the consumer app revenue chain.

Its second acquisition in the past few months, Alcatel-Lucent acquired mobile software and applications development tools vendor OpenPlug on Wednesday. With OpenPlug’s capabilities, Alcatel-Lucent will be able to offer operators and enterprises a platform where Web developers can write an application once and have it translated to run on any of five major mobile operating systems (iPhone, Android, Symbian, windows Mobile and Linux).

Alcatel-Lucent plans to combine OpenPlug’s tools with some of its own development tools to effectively create a development platform that can float across devices and run on any of a large number of appliances, including smartphones, IPTV set top boxes, game consoles and some car systems.

The advantage for service providers buying into Alcatel-Lucent’s applications development platform is to broaden the content in their app stores and make their networks more valuable to customers.

From a carrier perspective, Alcatel-Lucent’s applications enablement building blocks, which now include OpenPlug, create a framework that lets operators expose network features as APIs in a way that lets developers use them easily at a low level of risk to the operator, according to telecom consultant Tom Nolle, president of CIMI Corp. “Alcatel-Lucent has effectively tied its developer program to the network, which in the future could become the company’s service layer solution.”

If everything goes according to plan, Alcatel-Lucent may have just revitalized its position as a network-based service layer platform competitor. Vendor descriptions of their network-based service layers have been difficult to understand at a high level, much to the frustration of telecom carriers. But if Alcatel-Lucent keeps the pieces coming and explains and positions them correctly, it could pull its service layer position out of the fire.

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