MSML: Enabling Advanced Multimedia Communication Apps

From smart phones to VoIP conference systems in our offices, modern communication is dependent on the reliable transfer of two-way multimedia information. These communication systems rely on the ability to send and receive media streams over IP networks. These media streams are processed by the IP media server – a network element or function found in IP networks across the globe delivering multimedia communication services.

These IP media servers process millions of media streams established using Session Initiation Protocol, or SIP. SIP is the de facto signaling standard for IP communication networks. While SIP provides the backbone control interface for IP communication networks for multimedia session establishment, the application logic that creates and controls various services requires a higher-level language alongside SIP.

That’s where MSML comes in. Media Server Markup Language (MSML), recently published as RFC 5707, is an XML-based language that works jointly with SIP to deliver feature-rich media processing control within an IP media server. The MSML specification, drafted with the help of Radisys, allows for complex new communication methods, including but not limited to advanced conferencing and unscripted interactive voice response (IVR) services. SIP creates and modifies media sessions, while MSML defines and controls the service that a user or group of users will receive.

In short, MSML opens up an array of new communication possibilities. For example, if a caller enters a conference, MSML would allow them to move from a main conference to a sidebar conference and back again, bridging different sessions to create n-way calls or simple sidebars. Popular services such as contact centers rely on establishing conferencing sessions where the caller and the contact center assistant are bridged by a multimedia session, while the contact center manager can join to coach the assistant without being heard by the caller. The entire conference session may also be recorded for quality assurance purposes. Utilizing SIP and IP networks, MSML creates and controls such services in a highly customizable and flexible manner, arming the application developer with a rich set of multimedia controls.

Today, MSML is already the preferred IP multimedia application control language for a broad range of in-service commercial deployments for a variety of applications, from interactive voice/video and speech services to IP multimedia conferences. As a leading author of RFC 5707, Radisys continues to improve and define interoperable telecommunications networking technologies and architectures for IP-based applications and telecommunications systems. By maximizing the benefits of interoperability, easing application development and expanding functionality, MSML widens the nature and scope of ever-increasing IP based multimedia communication capabilities.

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