With the mobile Internet growing exponentially, the call to develop a single universal platform for the development of mobile internet applications is becoming stronger than ever. That is why more than twenty partners from research and industry (representing the mobile web, consumer electronics, and the automotive industry) have teamed-up to create the Europe-wide Project Webinos. Led by the Fraunhofer Institute FOKUS in Germany, a consortium of major, international companies will develop an open source platform and software components that will allow cross-platform use of services and technologies that can be operated on multiple screens.
The standardized, interoperable technology that the consortium is developing will allow software designers from across the industry to create web applications and services that can be used and shared over a broad spectrum of converged and connected devices — regardless of their respective hardware specifications and operating systems. The developing technology will provide exciting opportunities for the multimedia industry, for example, allowing users to share photos on their mobiles phones, TV, and PC by using the same photo app across all platforms.
The three year project will start in September 2010 and is cofunded by the European Union, which has provided a grant of ten million Euros. Among the industry partners who have already committed to the initiative are global players such as Deutsche Telekom, Telcom Italia, BMW Research and Technology, Sony Ericsson, and Samsung Electronics. Also a member of the consortium is W3C, the international Internet standards body, which will ensure that the reference platform is consistent with current and emerging standards.
“The vision of the project is to create ‘a universal application platform.’ That means, we aim to enable the use of web applications consistently and securely across all Internet-enabled screens — including mobile, PC, TV, and in-car entertainment units,” said Dr. Stephan Steglich, consortium lead at the Fraunhofer Institute FOKUS.
Within Webinos, the consortium aims to develop requirements that are industry based rather than in the interest of any particular organization. By supplying this type of open source technology, partners anticipate a direct commercial value. “We want to overcome restrictions applied by proprietary and vendor-specific technologies, enabling the rapid design of more personalized, secure, and innovative applications,” said Steglich. “Our goal is the development of a secure platform that facilitates the creation of applications for multiple, heterogeneous, devices and operating systems.”
The consortium also expects the new technology to encourage collaboration between enterprises, developers, operators, and manufacturers. The new technology will eliminate some of the economic barriers associated with developing mobile internet platforms, allowing companies to develop new business models and reevaluate their strategic position within the mobile multimedia market.
In addition, this open source regime will be a starting point for an open foundation that provides its members a standardized, interoperable technology to design and operate any web related application on any device or system. Interested organizations and companies are invited to join this foundation.