Femto Forum specifies APIs for femtocell apps

But for the applications to work, operators have to open up their networks

The Femto Forum has published a set of API (Application Programming Interface) specifications, which will allow for the creation of applications that can be integrated with femtocells, the industry organization said on Tuesday.

To date, femtocells -- which are small base stations attached to a fixed broadband connection -- have mainly been used to improve indoor wireless coverage. But a growing number of operators are also looking at rolling out applications that take advantage of knowing when a user is in a femtocell's coverage zone.

Applications can, for example, send out a notification when a family member arrives home, while at the same time deactivating security systems, according to Simon Saunders, chairman of the Femto Forum. In public environments, an application can send coupons to people who have opted into a system and are within its coverage zone, he said.

The APIs should allow these applications to be developed in a standardized way.

For all of this to be possible someone first has to take the specifications and turn them into actual APIs that developers can use, which will happen in the next few weeks, according to Saunders. Mobile operators also have to decide if it's something they want their subscribers to be able to use, and open up their networks, he said.

To make that process easier, the Femto Forum has worked with the Broadband Forum to update an existing management standard for femtocells. It will allow operators to remotely provision and configure applications as well as issue updates.

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Mikael Ricknäs

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