Mobile connectivity amongst colleagues is a must in today’s world. From instant messaging services, to emails, online presence and calendars, we like to know what’s going on around us. Considering the variety of enterprise-level software, connecting and collaborating across different organizations can be challenging – particularly when cross-functional teams are also cross-company teams. Researchers at AT&T Labs have created a solution to this conundrum through Federation as a Service. The system federates messages, calendar, instant messaging and online presence across the varying software systems to enable businesses to more effectively communicate and collaborate. By connecting two organizations with separate systems, workers can make a seamless connection between calendars and presence information so that hybrid teams and colleagues can work together more easily.
The idea for Federation as a Service began when people started running separate software on their devices and realized how their battery life and overall performance was greatly impacted. An AT&T employee then submitted the idea to The Innovation Pipeline (TIP), AT&T's crowdsourcing engine. Through the TIP process, the idea garnered funding and business unit support along the way. Federation as a Service appealed to so many throughout the process because the service itself operates in the background, allowing for an easy and more collaborative way to interact with contacts at other organizations.
Today, researchers in AT&T Labs are working to trial this service with large corporations. As more organizations begin to use Federation as a Service, the more value it will bring to corporations and the interoperability between software will become simpler than ever. Future advancements we can expect to see for this technology include:
- Common Platforms. As interoperability becomes increasingly important, we’ll see more movement towards common platforms and services.
- Increased Efficiency. With a focus on simplifying device software, users will notice their devices work faster and with less battery than before.
- IT Convenience. IT organizations will gain more control over types of communications, while allowing employees the ability to communicate with who they need to. This is achieved through the use of policy control for inter-company communications.
John Murray, Lead Member of the Technical Staff Research at AT&T Labs, focuses his work on new service creation, incubation, and platforms. His work has concentrated on converged IP services and next-generation wireless services. He has a master’s degree from Stevens Institute of Technology, has been with AT&T Labs for 17 years and holds more than 20 patents.