Home is where Inferno is: new version of Lucent software will support consumer-focused Java app

Home is where Inferno is: new version of Lucent software will support consumer-focused Java app – Lucent Technologies use of PersonalJava applications in its Inferno network operating system

Chris Bucholtz

New version of Lucent software will support consumer-focused Java app

The next generation of Lucent Technologies’ Inferno network operating system will support PersonalJava applications, allowing the software systems to be used together to deliver content to screen phones, set-top boxes and other consumer communications products.

The Inferno/Java tandem will give software developers a means to create and deliver applications for the emerging communications devices and give manufacturers an operating sys-tem they will run themselves. “This is the merchandisable delivery of what we announced last March,” said Mike Skarzynski, vice president and general manager of Lucent’s Inferno Network Operating System Group, referring to last spring’s announcement that Lucent and SunSoft would work to make their systems compatible. “On Nov. 1, we’re going to have the first implementation of PersonalJava to reach the market [as] Inferno 2.0.”

“Smart companies like Lucent are using Java and personalJava to bring the energy of the network to all kinds of devices for all kinds of markets, from smart cards to supercomputers,” said John Kannegaard, vice president of software products at JavaSoft.

Sun’s PersonalJava is designed specifically for network-compatible products in the home. The software is a natural for use with Inferno, a distributed operating system that runs on a wide variety of computers and networks.

Because the Inferno operating system is small enough to fit in 1.5 Mbytes of memory and still leave room for applications, it could provide a platform for PersonalJava applets to run on screen phones, set-top boxes and other devices.

Combining the two systems also lets PersonalJava applications take advantage of Inferno’s security and authentication features while preserving the applications’ ability to run unchanged on a variety of consumer devices.

The initial set of Application programming interfaces (APIs) will focus on a slate of straightforward consumer services, Skarzynski said, including a software download applications framework for introducing new software and providing “screen refreshes” for dynamic Web sites. The APIs also provide for a “soft keyboard,” ISP registration software, a calendar, caller ID history, notepad, memory map, line monitor and a database server product.

The use of the two systems could provide services such as conference calling and electronic directory assistance.

In addition, companies will be able to conduct conferencing and billing for phone services over Internet protocol using carrier facilities.

“This suddenly gives the carriers a value-added service provided by Java,” said Skarzynski. “Carriers can brand these services any way they want, and Inferno will give them the ability to position these next generation services as their own.”

In keeping with their target market of network service providers, Lucent has beta tested version 2.0 differently than it tested the first version of the system. “Initially, it was very `Net-head’ in that we let anyone who wanted to try it download it and beat on it,” said Skarzynski. “With version 2.0, we’ve gone back to providing the code specifically to the people we know will need it and exercise it the way it’s meant to be exercised.”

COPYRIGHT 1997 PRIMEDIA Business Magazines & Media Inc. All rights reserved.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group