For the W3C Device Description Repository Implementation Workshop

Position paper of MobileAware Ltd.

MobileAware is a leading provider of mobile content and service solutions to mobile operators and enterprises. Our device independent content adaptation technologies employ an extensive collection of device knowledge to ensure an excellent end user experience. Our knowledge and experience in this area has been shared with the wider community through our involvement with the W3C Device Independence Working Group, our sponsorship of the W3C Mobile Web Activity, chairing of the W3C Device Descriptions Working Group, and participation in other related activities beyond W3C.

The necessary device knowledge employed by MobileAware has been obtained from many varied sources through diligent research. It is MobileAware's opinion that in the absence of such knowledge, a quality device independent presentation is almost impossible.

Minimal information for functional presentations

MobileAware recognises that a functional presentation for the majority of devices can be achieved with a minimal set of device descriptions. Unfortunately, our experience shows that even this minimal amount of information can be difficult to obtain, and the task continues to become harder with more and more devices appearing on the market.

The "device description problem" is not the size of the database containing this information, because the numbers are small by database standards, and device capability overlaps can help keep the size small while keeping the coverage high. The problem is in obtaining the information for the database, verifying the information, and updating it where necessary. By comparison, the issue of a storage and access mechanism (API) is relatively simple, yet one does not yet exist.

The absence of a simple mechanism to store and access device descriptions is a barrier to the creation of mobile content. We believe that if this basic information was freely available through an agreed API then many more authors could contribute to the Web in a way that would be accessible to mobile devices. New adaptation technologies would evolve to exploit this key resource. From a commercial point of view, we believe this growth in the mobile aspect of the Web will benefit all commercial players in the market space, while greatly improving the experience for the millions of mobile end users. Furthermore, we believe the new repository technology would not replace existing technologies, but rather compliment them.

MobileAware supports key efforts

MobileAware applauds the efforts of other groups, such as the OMA and WURFL, to provide some solutions in this space, but a global solution that is directly applicable to the needs of content adaptation has yet to appear. For this reason, MobileAware has taken a lead position in the W3C DDWG to reach an agreement on the characteristics of a solution. The solution should respect the contributions from other sources, be open and freely available and address the technical needs of those who would operate, populate and use the solution. After a year of work, MobileAware is please to see that an agreed set of technical requirements is now on the table.

The agreed technical requirements are not the end of this story. The implementation phase will be the most challenging. MobileAware is pleased therefore to have the opportunity to participate in the Madrid workshop where the implementation issues will be discussed.

Presenting at the workshop

MobileAware intends to present its views on possible architectures and how a commercial repository could interoperate with a common global repository, and how this solution would co-exist with technologies such as UAProf and WURFL. MobileAware will also present the rationale for contribution of information to a freely available DDR.

For more information

More information on the MobileAware products can be found on the Web. Here you will find solutions for multi-device presentation, multi-channel services, operator and enterprise mobile applications and more. These solutions demonstrate MobileAware's expertise in the area of mobile and multi-device technologies.

Dr Rotan Hanrahan
Chief Innovations Architect
MobileAware Ltd
May 2006


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