DALLAS, October 30, 1995-The Salutation Consortium, an industry association, has released an open interface specification that enables copiers, printers, fax machines, applications, and services to introduce themselves to one another across a network-creating, in effect, an electronic salutation.
The Salutation Specification is available on the Consortium's web site (http://www.salutation.org/salute/).
The Salutation Specification describes a capability exchange protocol and an application program interface (API) independent of hardware platforms and operating system software. The capability exchange is based on a client/server model and allows any device, application, or service to either initiate or respond to a query about data formats and device characteristics. The inquiring client device can adjust its interaction in response. Optional elements of the Salutation technologies may be implemented in devices and application programs to provide compatible packet management or job control functions necessary for interoperability.
IBM, a founding member of the consortium, today announced IBM Salutation Manager, the first product available to support the Salutation architecture. The IBM Salutation Manager is a toolkit designed to help application, device, and service developers make their products Salutation ready. Using the IBM Salutation Manager as a service broker, Salutation-enabled devices, applications, and services can discover and utilize one another's capabilities via Salutation protocols on NetBIOS, TCP/IP and XPF. To fit with today's desktop computing environment, IBM Salutation Manager is designed to support Windows 3.1 and OS/2 2.1 environments with porting capabilities to other platforms through the source code. Vendors can find more information about IBM Salutation Manager on the Consortium's web site.
NetWare Distributed Print Services (TM) (NDPS (TM)), Novell's next generation printer and peripheral sharing architecture for NetWare (R), enables OEMs to expose their individual peripheral features and functions to the user. NDPS will be made available to OEMs through the Novell Embedded System Technology (TM) (NEST (TM)) program. "As the industry's networking leader, Novell understands the need to provide robust printer and peripheral sharing services and to enable the interoperability of these heterogeneous office devices throughout diverse networked environments," said Mary Hill, Director of Developer Relations, Extended Networks Division of Novell. "The Salutation Architecture allows the exchange of capability information between NDPS and non-NDPS environments."
"Salutation fills the information gap when you don't know what's on interconnected devices or networks-the location of a printer that matches my document requirements or the color capability of a copier. Salutation technology allows you to discover the capabilities of the remote device and tailor your operations to suit what you find there," said James H. Barnett, Jr., Mamaging Director of the Consortium.
A draft version of the specification has been in the public domain for review and comment since July. During the review period the Consortium filled more than 100 requests for the specification either over the web or through the office. Barnett said, "The positive response to the specification underscores the value of the prototyping activity initiated by Consortium members to validate the architecture."
At the Consortium's December technical meeting in Provo, Utah, a tutorial will be held for new members joining the Technical Committee and other interested parties. As part of the Consortium's work to promote implementations of the specification, it has held technical briefings for manufacturers in Japan. Similar briefings will be held in other geographies as interest grows.
Member companies developing the specification include manufacturers of computers, network services, information management solutions, and office equipment. Since the draft specification was made available Active Voice, Axis Communications, Brother Industries, Hermes, Rockwell, Seiko Epson, and Wind River have joined the Consortium, bringing the total to 31 companies. Founding members are APTi, Canon, Fuji Xerox, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard, Hitachi, Integrated Systems, IBM, Kodak, Konica, Lexmark, Matsushita, Microware Systems, Minolta, Mita, Mitsubishi, Muratec, Novell, Oki Data, Ricoh, Sanyo, Sharp, Toshiba, and Xerox.
Consortium technical committees are now working to extend the specification to support increased interoperability and further discovery technology. The next release, scheduled to be available early in 1996, will make the specification independent of network transport, increasing the portability of applications written to the standard. In the next release, the Salutation Protocol will adopt Remote Procedure Call (RPC) technology to allow industry-standard communications between various implementations of the specification. In addition, initial proposals from members are now being developed to add to the specification an interface with voice messaging and telephony equipment. Technical subcommittees formed by member companies address issues of the Framework, Document Systems, Telephone, Personal Information, and Application and Services.
The Salutation Consortium is working with other industry associations and initiatives to determine where synergy exists. The Consortium is meeting with Versit, a global initiative formed by Apple, AT&T, IBM, and Siemens, in several areas. The specification is being enhanced to support the Versit Personal Data Information specification for address book exchange data format. Versit-defined commands and protocols related to PBX equipment are being considered for a future release. Salutation has also joined Versit in discussions about supporting an Internet-friendly format. Dialog is underway with the MultiFunction Peripherals Association (MFPA) to determine areas of shared interest. The Consortium presented a tutorial at the recent MFPA annual conference as part of this relationship. About the Consortium
The Salutation Consortium is a non-profit corporation with membership open to all interested companies, organizations and individuals. The Consortium has a three-tiered membership structure with annual membership fees ranging from $300 to $50,000. The Consortium is already active in both the United States and Japan, and plans to include European members.
Future work for the Consortium focuses on gaining additional members to continue development work on the Salutation technology and on promoting the use of the Specification as a common method of accessing and controlling the capabilities of interoperating devices, applications, and services. In support of this mission, the Consortium will provide training and documentation for companies implementing the Specification and is considering setting up certification processes for implementations of the Salutation technologies. The Consortium is also considering the submission of the Salutation Specification to international standards bodies.