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Using Standards to Drive Innovation

Posted: July 19, 2011

By Jonas Martinsson, Product Manager, Red Bend Software

In the movie The Graduate, a businessman gives Dustin Hoffman’s title character a single word of career advice: “Plastics.” If the movie were remade today, and the man giving the advice worked in the mobile industry, his one word of advice would be “Standards.”

Without standarJonas Martinssonds, it would be impossible for the exploding number of wirelessly connected devices to work seamlessly with each other and within the global networking infrastructure. That’s where the Open Mobile Alliance (OMA) comes in.

There are 23 mobile operators and 29 device manufacturers that are members of OMA, as well as nearly 100 software and solutions providers, including Red Bend. Even nonmembers adhere to OMA standards because the standards enable the industry to focus on innovation, rather than on interoperability.

In the OMA Device Management (OMA DM) Working Group, two of the most successfully adopted and deployed standards are DM (device management) and FUMO (firmware update management object). They are responsible for enabling hundreds of millions of consumers to seamlessly access mobile services, such as email, Web browsing and updating firmware to the latest version.

New standards enablers gaining adoption – LAWMO, SCOMO, DiagMon and Gateway MO – hold similar promise.

LAWMO – Lock and Wipe Management Object

As mobile devices become increasingly smarter, we entrust them with more sensitive information, both personal and professional. It is crucial that this information isn’t compromised or fall into the wrong hands. The LAWMO specification makes it possible to remotely lock a phone and wipe specific data from it.

Because the LAWMO specification is a standard, carriers can quickly, easily and consistently deploy it for their entire range of devices, without concern for device-specific and proprietary implementations. Similarly, device manufacturers don't need to build different LAWMO implementations for multiple carriers, since all standards-compliant DM servers operate according to the protocol and logic defined in LAWMO. The biggest winners are consumers, who get a reliable and essential service at a low cost.

SCOMO – Software Component Management Object

SCOMO equips operators with a powerful instrument to gain knowledge about consumers' installed apps. SCOMO also gives operators the option to install, update and remove apps directly on consumers' phones, including calculating and managing software dependencies to guarantee that apps are fully functional.

An example of how SCOMO plays a pivotal role in managing revenue-generating services for operators is the advanced solution Red Bend developed for an operator in Asia. Based on SCOMO, the solution enables the operator to update key software elements of its service throughout the device lifecycle. It also simplifies management of diverse device types from different manufacturers. Without SCOMO and its underlying DM standard, the operation would be extremely complex and costly.

DiagMon – Diagnostics and Monitoring Management Object

DiagMon enables operators and manufacturers to understand software behavior and end users’ preferences. For example, the device can automatically provide notification of app crashes or other unexpected events. DiagMon also enables consumer devices to be used as distributed sensors to measure network performance, build coverage and traffic distribution maps, and aggregate service quality statistics.

This management object is relatively new, with version 1.1 slated for final approval in March 2012. As it becomes more widely adopted, we will see analytics vendors move away from proprietary protocols and focus on developing the best software metrics and heuristics analysis engines.

Gateway MO – Gateway Management Object

When your security system, TV and car are all networked, a new set of requirements and standards is essential for managing, controlling and updating these devices efficiently and effectively. Gateway MO enables an operator or other service provider to manage and access devices behind residential gateways, as well as aggregate communication between multiple devices behind a gateway.

OMA organized an interesting workshop dedicated to this topic at its February 2011 meeting. These connected devices will not actually have to comply with the DM standard as the gateway will support translation of commands to and from other standard protocols, such as TR-069, which defines an application layer protocol for remote management of end-user devices. This makes it possible to aggregate services, such as inventory query and diagnostics, for the entire range of devices behind a residential gateway. Gateway MO is expected to reach candidate status during 2011.

The mobile industry moves so quickly, it’s hard to predict what the future holds. But one thing is certain; it will remain exciting and innovative, thanks to standards.