Small Cell Forum and Open Mobile Alliance Expand Global Access to Small Cell Technology for Mobile Applications

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Small Cell Forum

22nd February 2012, London, UK – The Small Cell Forum, the independent industry and operator association that supports small cell deployment worldwide, and the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA), an international specifications setting body, have established a cooperation agreement for OMA to develop API standards for small cells on a global scale. The ultimate impact of this cooperation will be shorter time to market for new or enhanced applications using small cell technology. The Small Cell Forum’s members include all the major telecommunications equipment manufacturers who will be able to ensure the resulting APIs are compatible with their products. OMA allows developers to reach a wider audience by exposing unique operator network capabilities in an open and programmable way.

Small cell technology allows application developers to incorporate enhanced presence, context and location-sensitive features into new and existing apps. Small cells also allow operators and their customers to take advantage of faster data connections by extending existing network capabilities. For example, a small cell can efficiently provide location information to within a few metres [both indoors and outdoors], making location-based apps vastly more consistent and effective.

In March 2011, the Small Cell Forum published the first APIs that define how to create and write new mobile applications based on small cell technologies. This work has already borne fruit. Telecom Italia in collaboration with Alcatel-Lucent have deployed the Small Cell Forum’s APIs to use small cells’ improved geo-location capabilities – creating a museum application that provides multimedia information about specific exhibits in closest proximity to visitors.

By standardizing small cell APIs, OMA and the Small Cell Forum will help reduce industry fragmentation and promote consistent development scenarios that bring small cell capabilities to a larger market. “OMA sees this cooperation as an important step in harnessing the broad technical strengths of OMA’s API program with the keen market insight of the Small Cell Forum,” says Mark Cataldo, Chairman of the Board, OMA. “This collaboration is squarely in the center of OMA’s goals for cooperation with other bodies. OMA is extremely proud of this cooperation with the Small Cell Forum as well as other market-specific associations who bring their unique requirements to our API program and across our working groups.”

“Small cell powered applications are looking like they could be big business. From pioneering operators like NTT DoCoMo who are commercial with an application that tells you when your kid’s at home, to new players such as Telecom Italia whose museum app tells you about the exhibit in front of you,” said Andy Germano, The Small Cell Forum’s Vice-Chairman and head of the Services Special Interest Group. “By offering fine grained information on where a user is, the potential of location-based services is dramatically improved. The result is apps with enormous commercial potential such as targeted offers in shops or highly useful information services at stations and museums. Providing these applications leveraging mobile network operator managed networks delivers a more consistent experience using standard mobile devices.”

“More than 30 operators, handset, software and IT vendors worldwide have endorsed OMA’s API program,” says Musa Unmehopa, Chairman, OMA Technical Plenary. “We welcome the Small Cell Forum’s cooperation to offer more accurate and contextual services for existing operator networks and anyone who will use the OMA and Small Cell Forum API standards.”

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