The independent industry operator association, Small Cell Forum has announced the availability of its hosted small cell emulator for use by mobile developers globally as well as the inclusion of its FemtoZonal Awareness API within the GSMA’s (News - Alert) wider OneAPI program.  

As a result, according to the Forum, mobile developers anywhere in the world can now build small cell enabled applications using the GSMA’s OneAPI and then test them using the Forums emulator, which simulates a small cell environment. The emulator is designed and hosted by platform provider Aepona.

According to Forum’s explanation, the GSMA OneAPI (News - Alert) initiative defines a commonly supported set of lightweight and Web friendly APIs to allow mobile and other network operators to expose useful network information and capabilities to application developers.

According to the Forum, the inclusion of the Zonal Awareness API means operators can give developers access, with appropriate subscriber permission, to highly accurate location and presence information from small cells even deep inside buildings where GPS and macro triangulation cannot penetrate. Combined with the fact that small cells provide guaranteed high speed mobile broadband connections, developers can build a range of new applications or enhance existing services, added the Forum.

In a statement, Andy Germano (News - Alert), chairman of the Small Cell Forums services working group, stated, “The list of potential new applications is limitless. These range from simple home reminders when you walk through the door to enhanced enterprise follow-me call services and clever personalized e-commerce shopping mall apps”. “The key right now is to lower the barrier to entry for developers. They need to know that they can target apps at a global market and simply build and test them without any small cell kit or knowledge of radio networks this announcement gives them those guarantees,” added Germano.

In another statement, Graham Trickey, senior director of GSMA, commented, “By giving developers a simple, standard way of leveraging operators network information, they can build a new generation of mobile applications that incorporate capabilities such as messaging, payment systems and location-based data. The addition of small cell information can extend the reach and the attractiveness of location-based services.”

Likewise, Michael Crossey, chief marketing officer for Aepona, stated, “While small cell application development has been possible for some time, the availability of the emulator delivers the missing link to enable the developer community. It is the basic toolkit that they needed to build their application. We know from experience that developers want to be able to test their applications as far as possible before moving them to production, and the emulator provides them with that capability.”

Edited by Brooke Neuman