Parlay (pronounced PAHR-LAY as in the French verb "parler" - to speak) is an evolving set of specifications for industry-standard application programming interfaces (APIs) for managing network "edge" services such as call control, messaging, and content-based charging. Parlay specifications are being developed by the Parlay Group, a consortium of member companies that include AT&T, BT, Cisco, IBM, Lucent, Microsoft, Nortel Networks, and others. Other companies are invited to become members. (The name Parlay may also have been chosen because its meaning to exploit existing assets successfully. In horserace betting, a parlay is a bet using the proceeds of a previous winning bet.)
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Use of the Parlay specifications is expected to make it easier to add new cross-platform network applications so that users need not depend solely on the proprietary offerings of carriers. The Parlay Group is not a standards group itself, but sees itself as a facilitator of needed interfaces. Application program interfaces are or will be defined for:
- Event notification
- Integrity management
- Operations, administration, and maintenance (OA&M)
- Discovery (of the closest provider of a service)
- Network control
- Performance management
- Audit capabilities
- Improved integrity
- Generic charging and billing
- Policy management
- Mobile M-commerce/E-commerce
- Subscriber data/user profile/virtual home environment (VHE)
The Parlay APIs are said to complement and encourage use of the Advanced Intelligent Network (AIN) protocols.