ExperiaSphere, the Cloud, and DevOps

One of the questions that’s come up recently in our ExperiaSphere work is how ExperiaSphere relates to the emerging vision of cloud computing and in particular how it might relate to the concept of “DevOps” or Developer/Operations fusion for the cloud.  We did an old presentation on the cloud, and we’re intending to update that now, including a section on how ExperiaSphere concepts might relate to DevOps.

In our view, the most valuable work in DevOps for the cloud is addressing two related issues, if somewhat orthagonally at present.  The first is the provisioning of apps or machine images onto the cloud, and this can be looked at either from the resource perspective (spinning up a server to host apps) or from the app perspective.  The second is the addressing of cloud-hosted apps or components, either by users or by other components in a SOA framework.  The cloud work here is still evolving, and so we can’t be sure that anything useful can be done right now, but we’re examining the space and if it’s possible we’ll do our update.  In the meantime, we invite anyone with perspective on the issue to get in touch!

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Multi-Screen Application Note Now Available!

We are pleased to announce that the final public version of our ExperiaSphere multi-screen video application note is now available on our website (Click HERE).  This note is nearly 25,000 words with 27 illustrations, and we’re sure that it’s the most detailed example of a service-layer application and content monetization opportunity that you have ever seen.  This note is freely available and distributable as long as it’s distributed in its original form; modifications are not permitted.  You may not distribute this document with any implication of our endorsement of your own approach.  If a vendor wants to provide us with a document describing how they would do the same application or how they would support an ExperiaSphere solution, we will publish that document, but we reserve the right to then comment on the approach.

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Comments Close on the Multi-Screen Application Note Today!

Today at 5 PM EDT we will be closing the operator comment period on our multi-screen video application note.  We have been working suggestions into the document as they were presented, and we will continue this process starting on Monday August 29th for any final comments we receive.  The full document will be available in final form as soon as we’ve processed all of the suggestions.  We want to thank the 4 operators who have provided suggestions and comments so far!

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One More Week Till Comments Close!

We want to remind the service providers reviewing the draft of our multi-screen video application note that comments on the document will close on August 26th, one week from today.  We’ll incorporate comments and suggestions as much as possible before the final release on September 2nd but we don’t plan to update this document again and so it’s important to get your feedback to us quickly!

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More Suggestions

Our latest operator suggestion/comment is for clarification of the relationship between ExperiaSphere’s example and the TMF work on service delivery and federation.  The former of these would be the Service Delivery Framework and successor Software-Enabled Services, and the latter the IPsphere work.

We will update the document to provide some additional detail on the TMF standards relationship, but because we are not currently a member of the body we don’t have the latest information on either of these two topics.  Our last review of the material suggested that the TMF was imposing a much stricter separation of service logic and service management and that its federation work was focusing on internetwork connection and settlement for packet services more than general federation of service-layer assets.  That would mean that ExperiaSphere has functional goals that are a superset of the TMF work, making it hard to map between the two.  We do note that any of the interfaces, whether protocol-based or API-based, in ExperiaSphere are presented as abstractions, meaning encapsulated in Java Classes.  We believe that this makes it relatively easy to support any standard interface that can convey the proper information.  Where TMF defines such an interface, the model would support it.  Where an interface represents a simple exchange of an XML package, the process of creating support for the interface in ExperiaSphere would be even simpler; it’s an XML transformation, in essence.

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Suggestions So Far

We want to update everyone on the suggestions we’ve gotten from our operator review on our Multi-Screen Application Note.  The primary focus has been on Exchanges, and on how ExperiaSphere might provide support for them.  In the context of this specific application note, the primary role of an Exchange would be to serve as a clearinghouse for federated service components.  We acknowledge there’s another mission of interconnect at the network level.

In this specific app note, the former mission is clearly in scope but the latter seems more related to VPN or other enterprise services that are not built on general, ubiquitous, Internet connectivity.  Thus, we’ll introduce a little about the use of ExperiaSphere to mediate interconnection but we’ll have to leave the majority of the details to a different document.  We do ask any operators with specific interconnect interest in the context of multi-screen service federation to provide us with some examples, under NDA if necessary, and if we see broad interest we’ll provide an update.

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Draft of Multi-Screen Application Note is Ready!

We are very happy to say that we have completed the draft of our ExperiaSphere Application Note on Multi-Screen Video.  This note is available in PDF form to service providers and to current ExperiaSphere partners for review and comment.  Comments on the document will be closed on August 26th, and we will publish the final version on the ExperiaSphere website on September 2nd.  If you are a service provider or partner who wants to review this document and you’ve not received a copy, please contact us.

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Where We Are, and What’s Next

We’re happy to report that our mega-document describing the implementation of multi-screen video and meet-me telepresence in ExperiaSphere terms is advancing at a rapid pace, and that even though it’s clear this document will be over 20 thousand words with 20 or more illustrations, we expect to be able to release a draft to our carrier friends within ten days or less, and to have general availability in early September.

We’ve already had some carriers ask us what our next step in the process will be.  Frankly we didn’t contemplate releasing a series of these documents because even the ones like the multi-screen document that represent something we’ve actually done on a small scale are very expensive in terms of time to produce.  However, we will say that if we do a second and third of these (which is as far as we’d be prepared to go), the second would focus on the mobile/behavioral service opportunity and the third on the cloud.  This corresponds with the interest profile of operators worldwide.

We hasten to say here that we are not committing to these additional implementation guides at this point in time.  Do the math on writing rate based even on prevailing free-lance per-word costs and you see that these documents are a major commitment in terms of resource dollars.  Free distribution of material like this isn’t our business.  If we have time we may elect to go further, particularly if we believe the effort is going to monetize itself by, for example, developing our understanding of the problem set in a way that can lead to selling consulting services, etc.  If you, as a network operator, have a specific set of priorities for next-step documents, please let us know, but please understand that we can’t promise anything.  We are not accepting vendor requests for additional material.

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You Wanted to Know More!

We’ve had a lot of interest in our forthcoming multi-screen video application note, from both vendors and network operators.  One question that’s come up regularly is “Can you give us a little more information on what will be provided?”  OK, yes we can.

This application note is designed to show how ExperiaSphere can take a relatively simple service like streaming multi-screen video and expand that to something that can be monetized, not just in one way but in many.  The document describes a basic ExperiaSphere Service Factory that offers streaming video to consumers who have obtained video rights (through subscribing to a multi-channel TV service, buying a network subscription, or pay-for-view). That framework, we show, is inherently expandable to support not only streaming, but streaming with screen/device switching, and for video sharing.  It’s also suitable for not only IP-based streaming video but also for TV/VoD/DVR including recording and tuning, and also for switching from streaming video to TV viewing and vice versa.

But we don’t stop there.  We demonstrate that this same framework can also support federated video between partners, video where a customer of Network A can obtain video (subject to that same rights verification) even when the customer is in a partner network—mobile roaming, hotel WiFi, or whatever.  The mechanism even allows for the possibility that the rights to view don’t transfer to all possible locations.

But there’s still more.  We demonstrate that this framework can deliver “meet-me” video/telepresence services that can include any number of users, let late-comers catch up with a replay, and even support flexible views of the conference attendees.  You can do a webcast too.

The architecture we use here, of course, is that of ExperiaSphere, and we provide detailed component diagrams, XML, and explanations of how information flows from the order of a video through switching and sharing, to the end of the experience.  It’s not code, and in fact no code is included, but the information would be sufficient in our view to allow a good Java architect/software designer to build the application.  Access to our proto-code would make that easier of course.

The document will be freely distributable, and it comes as is with no support.  We’d be happy to consult on details of implementation, but we can’t offer free help in interpreting or using the material.  We also want to remind everyone that ExperiaSphere is pre-Alpha and so source code is available only to participating partners.  Roughly speaking that means that if your company is prepared to work out an agreement with us to contribute to the project, an agreement you’ll allow us to release and to hold you to, an agreement that will include the creation and submission of at least one Experiam, Broker, Messenger, or other keystone object, then you can get the code and the full documentation set, which is now over 350 PowerPoints.  Remember, we don’t support this activity with free consulting; we will only coordinate the milestones and insure that you meet coding guidelines when you submit.

So that’s what’s coming.  When?  No later than mid-October, likely no later than mid-September if our other commitments don’t get excessive.  Select operators who helped us with requirements can get a draft document as early as late this month.  An announcement of the availability of the material will be made here in this blog, and the material will be posted on the Project area of our ExperiaSphere website.  We’re excited about this; we hope you will find it useful.

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Our Next Big Thing!

Are vendors ever going to have a service layer?  Frankly, we’re losing hope and so are our carrier friends.  So we’re going to do something on our own.  We’ve begun work on a very detailed document on the implementation of a key service-layer application (screen-switching multi-screen video) using ExperiaSphere.  While we do not propose to release code on this (at least not at this point) what we’re going to do is to lay out the process of designing and architecting this application using ExperiaSphere.  The level of detail will be sufficient to permit someone with access to the code to develop the application, and we will post the document on our ExperiaSphere site for public download.  Vendors, see if you can do this!  Carriers, ask your vendors to demonstrate this level of detail in their service layer!  Let’s get serious about operator services.

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