In Computing, what is Parlay?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 07 October 2019
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Parlay, as used in the world of computing, is one form of specifications related to application programming interfaces or APIs. Essentially, the purpose of Parlay is to maintain standards for a wide range of network functions, thus making it possible for various components on a network to interface with the components on another network. The current specifications of Parlay are not set in stone, and in fact continue to evolve as computer technology continues to develop.

Parlay is under development by the Parlay Group. This group is a working consortium that is composed of many of the major players in the world of communications and computer systems development. Such well-known companies at IBM, Lucent, Cisco and Microsoft have been part of the Parlay Group since its inception. By establishing standards that all the member companies agree to observe, it makes it much easier to create communication networks using components that will recognize each other.

Parlay is generally considered to be an appropriate name for the specifications, since a parlay has to do with making the most of what one already has in hand. In the case of defining the specifications, the process of Parlay allows the member companies to make the best use of their assets by making sure their products will function correctly with the products manufactured by the other members of the Group. As a result, the creation of unified networks allows all the member companies to make more money from their efforts.


Parlay addresses just about any aspect of a programming interface that can be imagined. The specifications have to deal with such key issues as the control of a network, including the security protocols inherent in the network. The general operation, administration, and maintenance (known as OA&M) is also central to the specifics established by the Parlay Group. Even functions such as mobile commerce and general e-commerce transmissions between networks are accounted for.

While Parlay is an ongoing process that requires some updating as new technology emerges, the API process does help to provide a solid foundation for the function of computer systems across the globe. Without Parlay, the swift access to information and the reliable voice and data communications that are now common in most businesses and homes today would probably not be as easy or as efficient to use.


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