News Release

TM Forum to Lead Industry-Wide Drive to Develop New Generation Operations Systems and Software

May 15, 2000 - Morristown, NJ; In order to create a
May 15, 2000

May 15, 2000 - Morristown, NJ; In order to create a manageable environment in which new and innovative "multimedia" services can quickly and easily be brought to market, the TeleManagement Forum (TM Forum) today announced plans and programs that will lead to the development of a New Generation of Operations Systems and Software (OSS). This will be a new approach to the design of business systems for managing communications and information networks and services. The results are expected to dramatically reduce the time and cost of developing and deploying these systems while radically improving time to market, customer service and profitability.

Most legacy systems have been custom built and handcrafted using technologies unique to telecom. Not only is this a slow and costly approach, these systems have become a roadblock because of their inflexible design. Trying to integrate them or automate their functions has become a painstaking process. With the convergence of telecom and data networking ushering in a new era, service providers must increase their operational efficiency by an order of magnitude while software developers and systems integrators need to find ways of using off-the-shelf technologies.

Because of the rapid pace of change and continual emergence of new technologies, the New Generation OSS is designed to be flexible - capable of supporting a range of new services while making integration much simpler than today. This enables service providers to select and integrate software that meets their needs, as well as the ability to scale from small to very large operation. For the software vendor, the NGOSS holds the potential for a wider market as well as providing greater business value as part of a more comprehensive end-to-end business automation solution.

"Business management and operations systems are supposed to be tools that enable companies to realize a competitive advantage," explained TM Forum President and CEO, Elizabeth Adams. "In order to meet the demands of the dot-com world, the cost and time to develop and deploy new management functionality must be radically reduced and that calls for a totally new approach. While many of TM Forum's current activities have attacked pieces of this problem, the time has come to create a comprehensive approach for dealing with this issue."

To ensure that the New Generation OSS meets the requirements of a broad range of companies, the TM Forum is drawing upon a wide cross-section of its membership including telecom service providers, data network operators, Internet Service Providers (ISPs), Application Service Providers (ASPs), and software vendors (ISVs). In addition, it plans to work closely with other groups who have expertise in certain areas.

"This is one of the most significant undertakings in the TM Forum's 12 year history," stated Keith Willetts, TM Forum Chairman. "We're not trying to make incremental improvements - we're trying to introduce a radical re-thinking of how operations software is developed and how communications and information service providers manage their business. This effort will be based on requirements that reflect the new environment and will use commercially available software technologies in order to significantly improve plug and play, software reuse and operational flexibility."

Already, planning meetings have taken place involving companies such as Astracon, Cisco Systems, Compaq Computer Corporation, Hewlett-Packard, Information + Graphics Systems (IGS), IONA Technologies, MCI Worldcom, MediaOne Labs, Motorola, NEC America, Nokia Networks, Orange PCS, Sun Microsystems, Telcordia Technologies, TTC, and U S WEST. From these meetings have come two initial teams. One team is scoping out the high-level requirements while the other is working on a preliminary architecture. The results of both teams' progress will be shared at a Focus Group at the upcoming TeleManagement World conference in Nice France, May 22-25.

The existing work done by TM Forum has provided a starting point. The Telecom Operations Map (TOM) continues to offer a process perspective, and many of the concepts of contained in the Technology Integration Map (TIM), such as the concept of components, are in line with the new direction. However, this will not be purely a paper exercise.

"For the past two years, the TM Forum has championed a 'products, not just paper' approach to its work through its Catalyst Projects," said Jim Warner, TM Forum Marketing Director. "In this initiative, we expect to see a close synchronization of paper outputs such as a distributed architectural framework coupled with product implementations and reference code from our members. The key is to have each of these efforts feeding each other in a continuous circle."

Some of that has already taken place. At the upcoming TeleManagement World, three 'New Generation Plug and Play' Catalyst Projects that have been led by Cisco Systems will be unveiled. Each of these demonstrations will test some of the base-level concepts of the NGOSS, marking the true beginning of a new way to approach an age-old problem.

"Next Generation OSS solutions are created through the collaboration of a wide range of companies including systems integrators, equipment manufacturers and software developers," commented Todd Murray, group vice president, Communications Software Group at Cisco. "As a company that's focused on the deployment of next generation networks and services, Cisco is committed to working with our partners on this critical activity."

In addition, the "Java for Next Generation OSS" initiative, which is being created to produce Java APIs, and which will initially be targeting 3G wireless OSS systems, has agreed to align with the work produced by TM Forum in the same areas. "It's vital that the overall integration framework for the next generation OSS be set by an independent organization. The TM Forum is in the best position to drive this work," said Jean-Pierre Baudouin, Director, General Manager Telecommunications Software Products, Sun Microsystems. "Most of the members of "The Java for Next Generation OSS" initiative are already active TMF members and as such they intend to coordinate their efforts in order to contribute to this program."

The TeleManagement Forum is a non-profit, global organization of service providers, suppliers and integrators providing industry leadership and driving the development of New Generation Operations Systems and Software (OSS). TM Forum members collaborate to produce pragmatic solutions that streamline key business processes for the management of emerging communications, e-business and information services. The result is a series of strategic frameworks, architectures and tools that enable the end-to-end integration of operations and management systems using off the shelf, plug and play technologies.

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Editor's Note:

At the upcoming TeleManagement World-Nice (May 22-25) and SuperComm 2000 (June 4-8) three 'New Generation Plug and Play' Catalyst Projects will be unveiled at the TM Forum "Living Lab for E-Management Solutions." Each of these demonstrations will test base-level concepts of the NGOSS. Participating companies include:

New Generation Plug & Play-Broadband Cable Services Management: The Broadband Cable Service Management catalyst will demonstrate how commercial off-the-shelf software products can be integrated into a state-of-the-art, plug-and-play platform that allows cable service providers to rapidly implement OSS capabilities. Participating companies: MediaOne Labs, Cisco, Cygent, Ernst & Young, IGS, MetaSolv, TIBCO, Syndesis.

New Generation Plug & Play-DSL Management: The solution incorporates a plug-and-play implementation strategy that leverages pre-integrated components to allow for tighter integration of provisioning, assurance, and billing via a workflow-enabled common object model and to provide for continuity of tasks and accurate service activation. Participating companies: KPMG Consulting, Calico, Cisco Systems, Portal Software, Inc., Siebel, Syndesis, Micromuse Inc., Tibco Software, Inc., Architel.

New Generation Plug & Play-Integrated Multi-Service Management: The demonstration will showcase how to build OSS systems using high-speed technologies focused around the core network. This Catalyst team will show how to plug-and-play different vendors' product to allow users to quickly leverage new capabilities and services for customers. Participating companies: Cisco Systems, Hewlett-Packard, Cambio, Inc., Portal Software, Inc., Information & Graphics Systems (IGS), Syndesis, Clarify, Newbridge Networks, Concord, Active Software, MediaOne Labs

For more information contact:
Cam Granstra +1-847-733-1438
Sandra Arthur +33-492-38-00-50

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