Femto Forum publishes femtocell APIs for network-based apps

The Femto Forum announced it has published a set of application programing interface specifications that will enable developers to create apps that can be integrated with femtocells.

The Forum said that the first applications have already been built based on these specifications by the Forum's vendor members for operator customers. The specs are for network-based APIs which provide femtocell awareness information to enable developers to create apps that take advantage of enhanced presence, context and location-sensitive features into new and existing apps. Some apps that have been highly touted since 2009, when the Femto Forum launched its apps initiative, include apps that automatically download users' latest podcast to their mobile phones as soon as they return home and home security features.  

In parallel with this work, the Femto Forum has worked with the Broadband Forum to update its TR-196 Femto Access Point Service Data Model, a global femtocell management standard, to enable support for femtocell applications. This will allow mobile operators to use their standard management systems to remotely provision and configure advanced femtocell applications on their customers' equipment as well as issue repairs and updates.

"With residential, enterprise and outdoor femtocell deployments rapidly growing across the globe, there is a major opportunity for operators to start offering unique new applications. Already in Japan, we are seeing mobile operators offering commercial, revenue-generating applications that send an SMS to parents when children arrive home from school. The number of potential applications enabled by this new and exciting API is literally endless," Andy Germano, The Femto Forum's Vice-Chairman and head of the Services Special Interest Group, said in a release. "However, for operators to take this opportunity seriously they need a simple means of managing the applications they offer. The new femtocell management standard is the key to delivering this capability."

A recent report from ABI Research indicates that femtozone services that use location and presence to trigger apps resident on users' handsets will help boost femtocell shipments and generate service revenues for operators.

Sprint Nextel  (NYSE:S) said during last week's CTIA Wireless 2011 show that it currently counts around 250,000 femtocells on its network and expects that number to increase to around 1 million during the course of the next few years. Simon Saunders, chairman of the Femto Forum, said the number of femtocells in the United States is now greater than the number of cell towers. He said there were around 256,000 cell towers in the United States at the end of last year. Globally, he said there were 1.7 million femtocells deployed at the end of 2010

For more:
- see this release

Related articles:
UPDATED: Sprint: We've got 250,000 femtocells on our network
ABI Research: Femtozone apps will drive femtocell success
Femto Forum launches apps initiative
Sprint goes nationwide with Airave femtocell
Sprint begins offering EV-DO femtocells
AT&T unveils nationwide femtocell offering
Verizon femtocell to go on sale Jan. 25

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