Alcatel-Lucent expands toolset for third-party app developers

Alcatel-Lucent has developed a suite to foster the growth - and revenue opportunities - of third-party apps.

The business of developing apps is getting bigger and more complex, what with the number of platforms growing and businesses increasingly interested in them as a way of increasing efficiency.

Alcatel-Lucent, continuing its commitment to streamline the ways apps are developed and distributed, today is announcing a new ecosystem that includes the tools for developing apps, a sandbox for testing them and a distribution system for exposing them. In December, the company first unveiled a suite of services for application development. Today's news builds on that.

The enhancements that the company is announcing today are trying to meet the needs of three different groups: Developers, Enterprises and Service Providers. The developers are looking for things like tools, broad distribution and a testing ground while enterprises are looking for things like revenue opportunities, customer engagement and brand expansion. Service providers are looking to securely open their networks to spark some app development while ensuring that they can distribute with little risk while, of course, monetizing. Alcatel-Lucent believes it's meeting the needs of all three.

One of the biggest challenges, though, is getting enterprises to understand the significance of opening their APIs to third-party developers, of exposing what they have - SMS, MMS and Voice, in the case of mobile service providers, for example. It's a big risk, given challenges are security and scale, but if they want to be competitive in their industries, they have to learn to let go, said Laura Merling, the company's VP of developer strategy.

"They have to allow people to build those apps," she said. "They need to let third parties build cool stuff" for them.

The announcement is being made at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona today.

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