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Thursday, January 05, 2006

Federated Identity - Helping IMS really deliver on its potential

We've been delighted by the response to our Global IMS Attitude Survey (here's the link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.asp?u=909631592609, and see previous postings). We have already had respondents from most of the major vendors and telco operators across 3 continents. Roughly 50% are senior technical people, 40% are marketing/commercial and the rest 'other functions' (R&D etc).

We'll be creating a full report in February (for participants only), and presenting a summary on this blog and at the IMS World Forum in Amsterdam. The survey closes at the end of January, so please take part via the link above and have your say!

Interestingly, the biggest issue that the respondents (so far) have identified in the survey is how to identify and create compelling service propositions that take advantage of IMS.

This nicely supports the messages we've been promoting in this blog, and provides excellent context for the next edition of The IMS Insider Monthly Report, which comes out in mid January (subscribe at

This month's Report looks in depth at 'Federated Identity' and the opportunities this brings to Operators if tightly coupled with IMS strategy. (For those who are completely new to this, take a look at

In previous editions of the Monthly Report we covered how to prioritise potential IMS-based services (October Report) and drilled down on what operators need to do to deliver a specific service - a bearer/device agnostic M-TV/IPTV/Movie Download hybrid service proposition (November Report).

We looked in detail at how these kinds of services open up (1) new content revenues, (2) stimulate existing core services, (3) stimulate customer acquisition and (4) reduce churn among end users, using STL's 'IP Services Revenue Scorecard' method (

However, while driving revenues from end user customers has been the core business model for operators historically, alternative sources of value exist from content providers and advertisers IF the value chain can work together more efficiently and effectively to deliver targeted content and advertising in attractively bundled service propositions to end users.

Advertisers will pay more for advertising through telco channels and content providers will provide content cheaper to operators IF consumers are targeted better with advertising and content AND this can be tracked.

So, the question is how can this future utopia be realised? How must advertisers, content providers, operators (and retailers) work together to share customer and transaction information so that more value can be delivered to consumers WITHOUT infringing data protection rights or being intrusive?

The theoretical answer is 'Federated Identity' - a standards-based approach, led by The Liberty Alliance (
www.projectliberty.org), to sharing idenitity information securely across multiple service provider ecosystems.

In this month's IMS Insider Report we explain the theory of Federated ID and we describe the current state of development (what the major mobile operators are doing in this field and what they need to do next). We clarify the tangible benefits to (1) Advertisers (2) Content Providers (3) Operators (4) Customers (5) Retailers. We present a case study of what really needs to happen across the value chain to make this a reality. And, most crucially, we describe how Operators can win in this new world, particularly how to integrate tightly with IMS and future services strategy and other technology developments.

My colleagues at STL (
www.stlpartners.com) will be providing the brainpower on this one, as it hurts my head just thinking about it!


The Editor, IMS Insider

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