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Wednesday, November 09, 2005

IMS Market Trends - Review

Neeraj Patel of Continuous Computing (www.ccpu.com) presented a great review of 2004 IMS forecasts at the IMS World Forum in Amsterdam in October. I asked my colleague, Pranay Kohli, from our sister IMS Consulting Practice (www.stlpartners.com) to give his own perspective.
NB: In December's 'IMS Insider' Report we'll publish our forecasts for 2006 - subscribe at www.ims-insider.com.

Forecast 1: Users will want ubiquitous access to their communications and entertainment services: more true than ever! Yes, customers still want this, instead of remembering a plethora of userids/passwords for each service through a different process each time. Has it happened? Not yet. But attempts are underway, for example with the concept of Federated Identity which is being developed by the Liberty Alliance (www.projectliberty.org).

Forecast 2: Emergence of a new set of intelligent, interactive & location based broadband services: this is a 'happening' field. Google Earth already offers a good quality “proximity” service, Microsoft is not far behind. But, what about the Mobile operators? Well, there are number of privacy hurdles, but they are sure to go away in the near future. Stay tuned on this area!

Forecast 3: Service control architecture will be standardized over SIP-based services: yes, that’s the long term trend and is slowly taking shape. Like a giant supertanker being built, gradually, piece-by-piece…
Forecast 4: Operators want open IMS systems and apps, but for now prefer reliable, easy to use single vendor solutions over multi-vendor efforts. Very true. Almost all the large IMS projects and trials have so far gone to Network Equipment vendors such as Ericsson, Nokia et al. Will this continue as such? Doubtful, as IT players such as IBM, HP and possibly Sun come up with their own “best-of-breed” IMS solutions and challenge the “closed” solutions from the telco vendors. Of the NEP's, are Motorola and Nokia best placed because they have handsets as well as back end equipment? No way! Ericsson is far ahead of Nokia and Motorola on IMS even though it does not have many handsets and is not so tightly integrated with its SonyEricsson JV.
Forecast 5: Some IMS deals will flow to incumbent packet core vendors, esp. early on: We haven’t seen much movement on this yet. (Please let us know if you know of any developments here - editor@ims-insider.com)

Forecast 6: Vendor partnerships at the services layer, combined with the ability to integrate 3rd party applications will grow in time: Absolutely! In fact some partnerships such as the one between Sun and Ericsson is going very well.
The main forecast that was missed off of course is the critical need to a.) engage the commercial functions inside Operators in planning IMS services, and b.) start putting IMS services onto the formal Product Development roadmap. This hasn't happened yet, but will do in 2006. (See postings below in this blog).
For details of how to plan and prioritise IMS-enhanced services, and of theTop 6 most profitable IMS Services, subscribe to the IMS Insider monthly report - www.ims-insider.com.

The Editor

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