The Parlay Group is a technical industry consortium that specifies APIs for the telephone network. These APIs enable the creation of services by organizations both inside and outside of the traditional carrier environment. In fact, it is hoped that services can be created by IT developers, rather than telephony experts.
Important Parlay APIs include: call control, conferencing, user interaction (audio and text messaging), and charging. The APIs are specified in the CORBA Interface definition language and WSDL. The use of CORBA enables remote access between the Parlay gateway and the application code. A set of Java mappings allow the APIs to be invoked locally as well. A major goal of the APIs is to be independent of the underlying telephony network technology (e.g. CDMA vs GSM vs landline SS7).
Parlay work historically stems from the TINA effort. Parlay is somewhat related to JAIN, and is currently (early 2003) completely unrelated to the Service Creation Community.
The Parlay Group works closely with ETSI and 3GPP, the Parlay specifications are co-published by all three bodies. Within 3GPP Parlay is part of Open Services Architecture, so we often use the term Parlay/OSA.