FORCES Project Scope

Project Context

For many decades, telecommunications was dominated by POTS (Plain Old Telephone Service). However, from the early 1980s there has been demand for more sophisticated services such as Call Forwarding, Call Waiting, Three-Way Calling and Voice Mail. The USA has led the field with the development of the Advanced Intelligent Network. ITU-T (International Telecommunications Union - Telephony) has been progressively standardising services for the Intelligent Network. Industrial groups such as TINA (Telecommunications Intelligent Network Architecture) have also been active in promoting the importance of services.

Building a telecommunications service encompasses many activities including market research, conceptual design, investigation of feature interactions, implementation, deployment, management, operation, customer services, billing, maintenance and upgrade. Although these are activities in almost any software development, the engineering of telecommunications services presents unique difficulties: extreme reliability is needed, telecommunications systems must operate continuously, services must be available concurrently with other (possibly conflicting) services, services need active management, and the telecommunications environment is multi-vendor and international.

Developing telecommunications services is thus very complex and expensive. A small number of companies have produced dedicated environments for creating services. As the range of open services to be provided increases, vendor-independent approaches will be needed. Service engineering is an interdisciplinary task that requires techniques from many areas such as communications protocol design, network architecture, software engineering, theoretical computer science, operating systems, user interface design and cognitive science.

Project Scope

The project is driven by the research challenges arising from industrial needs in telecommunications service engineering. Because of this, the project does not artificially restrict itself to a limited range of topics. The scope of the project includes issues such as:

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Last Update: 17th July 2006