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Press Release

18. November 1997, Santiago de Chile

TINA Consortium delivers software architecture for advanced multimedia networking

The Telecommunications Information Networking Architecture Consortium (TINA-C) announces the delivery of a set of coherent, architecture specifications that promise to enable advanced multimedia networking and help create a telecommunications software component marketplace. TINA-C has been defining an integrated architecture that embraces a whole range of telecommunications and information services: high-quality/broadband multimedia, mobile, the Internet/intranet and other telecommunications and information services. This newly-defined architecture will usher the telecommunications industry into a new era, where customers will have the ability to select and control telecommunications services for themselves. It also provides a common base of software specifications that allows competing telecommunications service offers and also provides the software base for a new telecommunications software component industry to grow.

The set of architecture specifications include Reference Points, Computing Architecture, Service Architecture, and Network Architecture. The reference points provide well-defined interfaces between business domains, for example users, service providers and connectivity providers. The specifications are available on the TINA-C website (

TINA-C was formed by leading telecommunications and computer companies to define a common software architecture that resolves the increasing complexity of creating and managing new services and enables and integrates multimedia telecommunications and information services. The solutions TINA-C chose adopted the latest distributed object technologies harmonized with CORBA. These solutions define service control and management mechanisms that enable their interoperability, flexibility and independence from underlying transport mechanism, whether STM, ATM or internet. The TINA architecture also allows for graceful evolution from existing services and network elements.

TINA-C was created to meet the challenge of laying a common foundation for a full multimedia information society. The TINA architecture is our answer to the challenge. It enables us to rapidly develop multimedia services that embrace traditional telecommunications and internet services and can interwork with those of competitors. The collaboration has accelerated the development and widespread adoption of the architecture.

"TINA-based services will be implemented by member companies in a series of global trials in 1998. By the year 2000, we expect a large-scale deployment of TINA-conforming products and TINA-based services," said Mr. Mossotto, General Director of CSELT, Italy, and President of the Steering Board of TINA-C.

Though TINA-C has completed its initial objective of developing a coherent set of architecture specifications, the consortium has decided to continue its collaboration for three more years. This period will allow TINA-C to further refine the specifications and facilitate the market-driven adoption of the architecture by a wide spectrum of industry (information technology, telecommunications, and service providers).

Annex 1 Features of the architecture

The set of architecture specifications includes Business Model and its Reference Points, Network Architecture, Service Architecture, and Computing Architecture:

TINA has defined a Business Model that encompasses the multiple roles in a deregulated environment: the Consumer (that consumes various services), the Retailer (that provides various services), the Broker (that provides information about how to find certain services in the system), the Third-Party Service Provider (that provides services to other stakeholders rather than to consumers), and the Connectivity Provider (that provides transport facilities). It is worth noticing that this model has no equivalence within the telecom industry, is often referred to in the literature and has served as input to standardization proposals (e.g., to ITU-T SG11, DAVIC, ATMF, OMG Business Object SIG).

The relationships between the business roles defined in TINA Business Model are used to identify and define Reference Points. Their specifications provide well-defined interfaces between business domains -- for example, customers, service providers and connectivity providers -- enabling multi-vendor/multi-operator interworking and cooperation across different technologies and management domains as in the case of the emerging worldwide alliances.

One of the major added value of TINA is its Service Architecture. The Service Architecture aims to define a set of concepts, principles, rules and guidelines that is applied for the construction, deployment, operation, and withdrawal of services in TINA environment. It also describes the service environment including a set of reusable software components to build services, hence fostering rapid service development, integration, and deployment over the network.

Application services may require several types of communication that are supported by various underlying transport network technologies. To provide application connectivity and portability over the heterogeneous multi-vendor network, a uniform view of the network resources is necessary. The Network Architecture provides a generic, technology-independent model for the control and management of network resources.

TINA Computing Architecture specifies the Distributed Processing Environment (DPE) which resolves the complexity caused by heterogeneity and distribution of computing resources. It extends OMG's Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA) technology to satisfy the requirements of telecom applications (e.g. performance, reliability, Signalling System No.7-based kernel transport network, extended services, support of software management, and stream communication of continuous information flow).

Annex 2 Benefits of the architecture

The coherent set of concepts described above is largely recognized in the industry as a reference for the evolution of today's architectures and the integration of telecom and information architectures. The following benefits are already identified to the various stakeholders of the emerging telecom market:

The provision of services relying on a common architecture enables Consumers to make an integrated access to a large set of customizable services independently of the network offers or operators.

By hiding the complexity of the existing network, the TINA architecture enables Operators to rapidly introduce new services within an intelligent service infrastructure, thereby reducing operations and maintenance costs. Furthermore, the generic TINA computing platform ensures portability across multi-vendor equipment, enables operators to develop their own services, to fully benefit from advances in computing technology (e.g., object orientation and distribution), and to retain independence from telecom manufacturer's product lifecycles, and guarantees easy interworking between operators.

The use of a common architecture for all kinds of services enables Manufacturers to adopt a common approach to services and their management. Reallocation of functional entities in different architectures and better integration of applications will, in the long run, reduce development effort and improve software quality as a result of distributed processing.

Annex 3 Member companies

Alcatel, AT&T, Bellcore, BT, Cable & Wireless, C-DOT, CSELT, Deutsche Telekom AG, Digital Equipment Corporation, Ericsson, Eurescom, ETRI, France Telecom, Fujitsu, GPT, Hewlett Packard, Hitachi, IBM, IONA Technologies, KDD, KPN, Korea Telecom, Lucent Technologies, MCI, NEC, Nokia, Nortel/BNR, NTT, OKI, Portugal Telecom, Samsung, Siemens, Softwire, Sprint, Stentor, SUN Microsystems, Swiss Telecom, Telecom Italia, Telecom Malaysia, Tele Danmark, Telefonica, Telnor, Telia, Telstra, Unisys.

Annex 4 Background

To define the common software architecture for telecommunications, more than forty companies formed the TINA-C at the end 1992, with three goals. The first goal was to make it possible to provide versatile multimedia and information services. The second was to make it easy to create new services and to manage services and networks. The third was to create an open telecommunications and information software component marketplace.

The TINA architecture has been developed over five years by a group of some one hundred engineers from member companies. The architecture has been further refined through feedback from validation projects in member companies. TINA-C interacts with standards bodies and industry consortia, including ATMF, DAVIC, ITU-T, NMF, and OMG, in order to achieve harmony of mutual specifications and avoid duplication of work. While TINA-C member companies cooperate in defining common specifications, they will compete in developing and providing software applications which conform to these specifications. Hence, TINA-C is characterized as "a cooperative solution for a competitive world."