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  • Japan, U.S., European Firms Agree on Gateway Standards
  • March 9, 1999 (TOKYO) -- Fifteen companies reached an agreement to establish standard specifications for gateways to connect portable information terminals to the Internet.
    The companies include Alcatel SA of France, IBM Corp. of the United States, Philips Electronics NV of The Netherlands and Toshiba Corp. of Japan.

    They announced that the Open Service Gateway Initiative (OSGI) was set up on March 1 for drawing up standards.

    The 11 other founders are Cable and Wireless Plc. of the UK, French electric-power company Electricite de France, Ericsson AB of Sweden, Enron Communications, Lucent Technologies Inc., Motorola Inc., Network Computer Inc., Oracle Corp., Sun Microsystems Inc., Sybase Inc. and Northern Telecom Ltd. (Nortel Networks of Canada).

    The target of standardization set by OSGI is gateway servers connecting portable terminals and digital home appliances with the Internet. This type of server is called Open Service Gateway (OSG). OSGI will set specifications of frameworks used to develop software to be run on target equipment with Java.

    The OSG defines data and resource management functions and security functions for software developed with Java-based frameworks.

    The member companies will also develop client software capable of using those OSG functions with Java independent of specific hardware. With those functions and software, various types of equipment can be connected with the IP-based Internet.

    Tentative specifications will be made public in May 1999 at the earliest, and the first version is to be fixed by this summer.

    For the core application programming interface (API) for the OSGs, it is necessary to specify interface conditions for two or more programs to exchange services through the OSGs. The interface for using data management functions will be optional.

    Also optional will be APIs used to connect with various industrial standards such as Jini, HAVi and Bluetooth. In addition, development of APIs to connect with Universal Plug and Play, proposed by Microsoft Corp. in January 1999, has been also planned.

    The purpose of the foundation of OSG is to find new markets for digital household electrical appliances, which are regarded as potentially surpassing the PC market in terms of scale.

    For this purpose, they are going to establish new industrial standards for servers with features advanced enough to control and unify equipment using cables, wireless and infrared data communication systems.

    (BizTech News Dept.)

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    Updated: Mon Mar 8 14:49:26 1999 PDT