Synchronization is an important component of many standards for mobile and wireless technology. The SyncML Initiative is closely working with other organizations, especially Infrared Data Association (IrDA®), Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum™, and Third Generation Partnership Program (3GPP)™, to get them to agree that SyncML (Data Synchronization and Device Management) should be the synchronization technology of choice in their specifications.
Infrared Mobile Communication
The IrDA mobile communications committee defined the Specification for Infrared Mobile Communications (IrMC) [IrMC00], to provide information exchange over infrared. IrMC defines five levels of information exchange:
- Level 1 (Minimum Level)
- Level 2 (Access Level)
- Level 3 (Index Level)
- Level 4 (Sync Level)
- Level 5 (SyncML Level)
Level 1 to Level 4 of the IrMC specification define the exchange of a limited number of different objects, such as business cards, calendar data, messages, and email data over personal area networks with connection-oriented or connectionless links. They do not support the synchronization of other forms of data such as Relational Databases or tabular data. Since the IrMC specification was initially designed for local data synchronization, the methods proposed are not optimized for data synchronization over wide area networks, such as synchronizing the phone book on a mobile phone with one of the corporate public address book datastores over the Internet.
Level 5 was added in 2001 and defines SyncML as the synchronization technology used in IrMC. The SyncML Initiative has closely worked with IrMC in order to produce a Synchronization Profile that strongly recommends SyncML as the preferred synchronization tech_nology.
Wireless Application Protocol
In June 1997, Ericsson®, Motorola®, Nokia®, and Unwired Planet® (now Openwave®) founded the Wireless Application Protocol (WAP) Forum as an industry group for the purpose of extending existing Internet standards for the use of wireless communication. By spring 2002, the WAP Forum® had more than 500 member companies from all parts of the industry, including network operators, device manufacturers, service providers, and software vendors.
The WAP Specification Version 1.1 was released in the summer of 1999, and the first WAP devices and services were available as early as the fourth quarter of 1999. Version 2.0 of the WAP Specifications was approved and released to the public in February 2001.
Since version 2.0, WAP requires all WAP Servers and WAP Client Devices supporting data synchronization to use SyncML. WAP also requires clients and servers to pass the SyncML Conformance testing as a prerequisite for passing the WAP Conformance testing.
The Open Alliance® was formed in June 2002. OMA was created by the consolidation of the supporters of the Open Mobile Architecture® initiative and the WAP Forum. Additionally, SyncML Initiative® Location Interoperability Forum (LIF), MMS Interoperability Group (MMSIOP), and Wireless Village® announced they had signed Mem_orandums of Understanding of their intent to consolidate with OMA. This consolidation should take place by the end of 2002.
Third Generation Partnership Program
The Third Generation Partnership Program (3GPP) was established in December 1998 as an organization of all partners interested in the evolution of mobile systems to the third generation evolving from the GSM technology. GSM is looked at as the second generation, GPRS (GSM Packet Radio Service) and EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution) as the 2.5 generation, and UMTS, UTRA (UMTS Terrestrial Radio Access), W-CDMA (Wideband Code-Division Multiple Access), and FOMA (Freedom Of Mobile multimedia Access) as the third generation of mobile communication technology.
SyncML and 3GPP are working together closely, and SyncML technology has been mandated as the method of choice for data synchronization since Release 4 of the 3GPP specifications.