In telecommunications, a service delivery platform (SDP) is usually a set of components that provide a services delivery architecture (such as service creation, session control and protocols) for a type of service. There is no standard definition of SDP in the industry although the TM Forum (TMF) is working on defining specifications in this area, but different players define its components, breadth and depth in slightly different ways.
SDPs often require integration of telecom and IT capabilities and the creation of services that cross technology and network boundaries. SDPs available today tend to be optimized for the delivery of a service in a given technological or network domain (e.g. web, IMS, IPTV, Mobile TV, etc.). They typically provide environments for service control, creation, and orchestration and execution, as well as abstractions for media control, presence/location, integration, and other low-level communications capabilities. SDPs are applicable to both consumer and business applications.
The business objective of implementing the SDP is to enable rapid development and deployment of new converged multimedia services, from basic POTS phone services to complex audio/video conferencing for multiplayer games (MPGs).
The emergence of Application Stores, to create, host and deliver applications for devices such as Apple's iPhone and Google Android smartphones, has focused on SDPs as a means for Communication Service Providers (CSPs) to generate revenue from data. Using the SDP to expose their network assets to both the internal and external development communities, including web 2.0 developers, CSPs can manage the lifecycles of thousands of applications and their developers.
Telecommunications companies including Telcordia Technologies, Nokia Siemens Networks, Nortel, Avaya, Ericsson and Alcatel-Lucent have provided communications integration interfaces and infrastructure since the early to mid 1990s. The cost-saving success of IP-based VoIP systems as replacements for proprietary private branch exchange (PBX) systems and desktop phones has prompted a shift in industry focus from proprietary systems to open, standard technologies.
This change to open environments has drawn software focused telecommunication companies like Teligent Telecom and HP - Communication & Media Solutions to this segment and has also given systems integrators such as Tieto, Accenture, IBM, TCS, HP, Alcatel-Lucent, Tech Mahindra, Infosys, Wipro, Xavient and CGI the opportunity to offer integration services. In addition, new consortia of telecommunications software product companies have also emerged that offer pre-integrated software products to create SDPs based on key product elements, such as value added services, convergent billing and content/partner relationship management.
Since SDPs are capable of crossing technology boundaries, a wide range of blended applications become possible, for example:
- Users can see incoming phone calls (Wireline or Wireless), IM buddies (PC) or the locations of friends (GPS Enabled Device) on their television screen
- Users can order VoD (Video on demand) services from their mobile phones or watch streaming video that they have ordered as a video package for both home and mobile phone
- Airline customers receive a text message from an automated system regarding a flight cancellation, and can then opt to use a voice or interactive self-service interface to reschedule
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