LMC with LotusLive in a Telco

Originally posted Nov 11 2009 on IBM Developerworks where it got 13,464 views

I was at a workshop with a customer in Manila recently when they started to talk about compression over a client link (especially from Nokia S60 Mobile Phones) – a key value proposition of Lotus Mobile Connect.  Not since I was in a Pervasive Technical Sales in Australia / New Zealand had I seen an opportunity for a hosted Lotus Mobile Connect (LMC) deployment.  For those of you that weren’t aware that LMC supported a hosted deployment – it does.  

If you have  the Mobility Client installed (The client for Lotus Mobile Connect – on any platform) you will notice a field labelled “Organizational Unit” – ever wondered what that is for? It’s simple really. It is there so than in a hosted deployment, the LMC authentication mechanism is able to distinguish between “John Smith” at Company A and “John Smith” at Company B. . Typically, you would use Tivoli Directory Integrator (TDI) to enable a federated directory model so that the individual client companies can manage their own internal directory – and because TDI uses LDAP to communicate with those directories, it doesn’t matter what those client directories are (Domino, MS Active Directory, Sun Directory Server, Novell Groupwise Directory, openLDAP etc) – as long as they support LDAP V3.    Basically, there are two deployment topologies that enable LMC to be deployed in a hosted environment… (I have deliberately left TDI out of the diagram since the purpose of the following diagrams are intended to illustrate the Client options and Encryption break or end-to-end)     

  Secondly, there is a lower security (and cheaper to deploy) topology that still gives the end users the advantages of LMC, but without end-to-end encryption – this model requires that the client companies trust the Telco since there is a break in encryption at the Telco’s hosting centre.  This model would not be suitable in high security/privacy industries such as Finance, Health, Government, military or Emergency Services. 

 A Telco might offer the lower security model as their standard product and the end-to-end model as the premium service with a price premium… This is a potential salable product to a Telco’s enterprise customers in it’s own right, but if we look at the offering that also come from LotusLive ([particularly LotusLive Notes and LotusLive iNotes).  In a market like the Philippines or many others across Asia, I suspect there is a business to be made by offering Domino capabilities or even just plain old hosted email but kept separate from the masses of a Telco’s standard data customers who all get an email address like username@telco.com.ph.  Using LotusLive Notes or iNotes would allow a small business to maintain their own virtual email system and keep their own email domain, internal email addresses but without the headaches of looking after their own servers.  If we think about the LotusLive offerings in a Telco – where the LotusLive products are rebranded to suit the telco, they could easily go along with a hosted LMC offering.  This would provide secure access by remote or mobile users to their own network and their own virtual email environment.  
I had hoped that for the LotusLive deployment of Domino in LotusLive notes that some code changes had been made to make Domino work in a multi-realm environment – alas, no. Consequently, there is a minimum customer deployment size of 1000 users – way bigger than most Telcos would be looking for and way too big for the Philippine market. As it stands, LotusLive iNotes is not much better at 500 users, but it so far looks like that is an IBM decision and that if the Telco is to take on the level one support, then it would be up to the Telco to decide what the minimum customer size is to be. Indeed, Some legacy Outblaze (from whom we bought assets from to deploy LotusLive iNotes) customers have some ISP/ASP customers that resell their service to end customers with 5,10 or 20 users.

Perhaps a diagram is in order to explain who it might all come together. I have refined my diagrams that illustrate the hosted deployment of LMC with LotusLive iNotes (or ANY LotusLive product for that matter – Engage, Connections, Meeting etc). First, the Premium offering:

Or in a slightly less secure deployment (with a break in Encryption at the Telco – probably not acceptable for a Bank or Government department, but fine for may smaller businesses) :

As I see it, a Telco offering this type of service could charge a premium for the end to end encryption model while the second model might be a cheaper service.
As an adjunct to the LMC and LotusLive iNotes offering, a Telco might also offer Lotus Foundations for an on-premise offering to SMBs.  I am not sure if Foundations will interest every Telco, but we already have some success with Telco sold Foundations in Singapore. ]If you are interested in understanding this hosted model for Lotus Mobile Connect (LMC) or LotusLive iNotes, please let us know… It could make for an interesting series of blog posts

IMS Connector for offline (Rf) charging

Originally posted Nov 4 2009  to IBM Developerworks where it got 11,743 Views

Published back in April, is a new document on developerworks, “Develop an offline charging application based on WebSphere IMS Connector” which looks a very useful document so i figured it would make sense to bring it to your attention….

http://www.ibm.com/developerworks/websphere/library/techarticles/0904_li/0904_li.html (link now broken)
To quote the article…

Li Ling, IT Specialist IBM

This article describes how you can develop an offline charging application using the Rf interface in IBM® WebSphere® IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) Connector V6.2, presents a sample asynchronous offline charging adapter to enable multi-threaded throughput of the Rf client, and discusses performance tuning based on the Rf interface.

Introduction

IBM WebSphere IP Multimedia Subsystem Connector V6.2 (hereafter referred to as WebSphere IMS Connector) is an important component of the IBM Service Delivery Platform for Telecommunications. In the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) architecture, the WebSphere IMS Connector connects SIP applications with IMS core elements and provides functions of offline charging (through the Rf interface), online charging (Ro interface), and subscriber profile management (Sh interface).

This article describes how to develop an offline charging application, leveraging the Rf interface in WebSphere IMS Connector V6.2. An asynchronous offline charging adapter that implements an asynchronous callback interface to enable multi-threaded throughput of the Rf client is then presented. This discussion concludes with a look at performance tuning with WebSphere IMS Connector.

This article assumes a basic understanding of the IP Multimedia Subsystem, Diameter protocol, Java™ programming, and Web services standards.

continues…..

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My son, Web2.0 participant at 5 years old!

Originally posted  Nov 4 2009, IBM Developerworks where it got 14,276 Views

It occurred to me the other day, when talking to a customer about Web2.0 – the participatory web, that I have a great example at home – I don’t need to talk about Youtube, Flickr or Wikipedia – my five year old son is a great example of Web 2.0 in action.

My son Max – like many boys of his age is a big fan of the cartoon character Ben Ten. At home, he watches Cartoon Network to get his Ben Ten fix. In conjunction with the TV show, Cartoon Network have a number of games available on their web site – for them it is all about encouraging their viewers to keep watching and the way they do that is to offer games based on their shows on their web site to encourage more intense interest in the shows. They have recently launched a game creator which allows their web site users to build their own Ben Ten games. 

Max (my son) loves the game creator. It enables him to build his own games using a shockwave interface, then share that game with other users of the Cartoon Network web site.

That is the perfect example of the Web 2.0 concept of the participatory web. Max has ok computer skills for his age, but he still has a long way to go, yet he is able to and really enjoys creating his own games. More than that, he loves sharing his creations with others. That sort of participation, sharing and creation is exactly what Web 2.0 is all about.

I am such a proud dad!
If you want to try it our for yourself, this game is available at http://gamecreator.cartoonnetwork.com.au/?id=141081

Some important things to note: The games are rated and stats are recorded on the number of attempts and time played – clicking on the “share this game” link add to the share count – Max doesn’t (yet) have many friends with email accounts, so that’s not a big deal to him, but older kids (and me!) find that a useful capability to share original games around…

What can we learn form this lesson as related to Telcos? Well, here are some things that I’ve learnt from my son:

  • Make it easy – in the telco space the closest Web 2.0 equivalent we have is the Mashup Center. Frankly, I think it is pretty easy to use, so I think we’re doing ok on that score
  • Provide a rating capability – Max loves it when his games get blue balls (the rating visual that Game Creator uses) – likewise, the Widget library in the Mashup Center has this capability
  • Provide usage stats – I think it’s really interesting to see which of Max’s Games are getting played (let alone being voted for). I am not sure if Mashup Center or the Widget Library does this or not. If not, I think it would be a good addition.
  • Relate the participation back to your business – For Cartoon Network, that’s all about getting web users to watch the show through getting players excited about the characters. For Telco’s the Mashup environment should also encourage users to use Telco services and think of that telco as more than just their carrier, but their technology partner for the future…

So, I’ve found a real world example that I can now use in my Web 2.0 for Telco presentations… 🙂

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