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Telecom Companies and IEEE-ISTO Support 'Wireless Village' for Mobile Instant Messaging and Presence Services.

An announcement from Ericsson, Motorola, and Nokia describes a new 'Wireless Village' project said to be based upon XML technology. The Mobile Instant Messaging and Presence (IMPS) initiative is designed "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. The IEEE Industry Standards and Technology Organization (IEEE-ISTO) provides day-to-day administrative support to the Wireless Village initiative... 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."

From the white paper: "Where possible, the protocol makes use of existing Internet and Web technologies. These technologies are implemented widely and are well tested, so their use within the protocol ensure easy implementation and interoperability testing. XML, the Extensible Markup Language, is rapidly emerging as the lingua franca for representing structured data over the Web. To the extent possible, the protocol uses XML to represent the protocol data being exchanged during an IMPS session. IMPS activities in the IETF IMPP have received widespread interest throughout the industry. Although it is still in development, to the extent possible, the Wireless Village initiative will support the CPIM draft and build upon it. Other useful standards in this space include the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME) for registering the format of the IMPS protocol messages."

From the announcement:

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 conferenceing type of services with shared content.

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, "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."

On XML (Instant) Messaging, see [1] Common Profile for Instant Messaging (CPIM); [2] Jabber XML Protocol; [3] WAP Wireless Markup Language Specification; [4] MessageML; [5] XML Messaging Specification (XMSG); [6] Wireless Village Initiative.

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