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Friday, June 30, 2006

Commercial Context for IMS

I don't think I've explicitly mentioned here our new Telco 2.0 blog - it provides 'real time' analysis on the commercial future for telcos and, thus, the critical context for IMS.

The Editor, IMS Insider
editor@ims-insider.com

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Report from Intel/BEA IMS seminar

Martin Geddes (master blogger, Chief Analyst at STL and contributor to the Telco 2.0 Report) went to Intel and BEA's IMS Application Delivery seminar at 'The Brewery' in London today. This is his report:

Today’s penance is being conducted via “Death by Powerpoint” in a dungeon at the edge of the City of London, coincidentally not a million miles from the infamous old Newgate prison. The seminar is being hosted and sponsored by Intel and BEA. Their respective jobs are to sell you expensive processors in cheap metal boxes, and very expensive application server software in cheap cardboard boxes.

There’s no 2G, 3G, WiFi, Ethernet or any other form of network connectivity in this seminar room, no power sockets, and it’s hidden down the end of a long underground set of passages. Perfect telecom territory – maybe I’m supposed to be giving my undivided attention to the front. I’m beginning wonder when the dungeon doors will be closed and the IMS community locked away only to be discovered by some future archaeologists.

Anyhow, what we’re looking for are signs that IMS is able to exploit chinks in the armour of the Internet. Are there indeed functions that the operator of the network has an unfair advantage in performing? Does it make sense to locate those functions in a heavyweight IT architecture embedded in that same network? If it didn’t exist today, would we invent it anyway?

I was late to the meeting, but a colleague told me that Intel started out with a sensible presentation describing their focus on the PC (‘ultra mobile PC’) as the key service client. Their over-riding aim is to ‘simplify the user experience’ (for entertainment, communications and information) at home, on the road, at work. And they believe that a hardware platform and strategy built bottom up on ‘Moore’s Law’ is the best way of supporting this at the lowest cost. I’ll come back to this in a future posting…

What is still missing of course, in this seminar and all vendor (and indeed all telco) discussions of IMS, is a clear description of 1.) what is the telcos’ path to growth, 2.) what services are needed to deliver it…and 3.) therefore the spec for supporting technology. (Hence the reason I’m involved in the IMS Services Forum brainstorm in October, and the just-released Telco 2.0 Report which, I hope, for the first time answers points 1-3).

On to BEA. What’s the big value-add of the BEA stack? It looks like they want to buffer the IT developer from the mess of different vendor network implementations. So it’s a hedge against future IP application standards being universally understood in the same way as SS7. I’ll buy that.

They also want a framework to deploy latency-sensitive applications. I’ll definitely buy this one. If you’re running 24x7, and you want to run a backup or extract some management or operations stats, the normal environment doesn’t do this well. If you’re a UNIX hacker, you’ll know you can “nice” a process to a different priority level; but the control is very crude. You can’t “nice” its network load at all.

Next up is they want to protect the resources of the network from being subjected to an accidental denial-of-service attack by the services. This means defining SLAs and policy between the applications, their servers in which they’re embedded, and the network. To the extent that networks define services that are resource constrained (rather than suffer from packet congestion), this makes sense.

If there’s any “convergence” going on here, it’s really the usual story of “displacement”. BEA is an IT vendor, with IT channels and IT values. They say they’re moving into telecom solutions, but really they’re cutting the air supply to the Alcatels and Nortels of the world anywhere up the stack beyond bit transport.

I can believe that a multi-modal application of the future does indeed follow a hybrid P2P and application server approach. Some signalling and session control via the application server and some going direct between the end points (“His mute button is on and he can’t hear you!”). But this will all be done by application service providers outside of the network operator, even if they choose to co-locate in NOCs to reduce latency between the components.

IMS solutions in the end may be deployed more by non-operators than operators. BEA has a better chance of success in this scenario because of their experience with Java virtual machines (theirs runs direct on raw iron with no OS in the way), developer programs, career trajectory of their staff, relationships of their sales staff, alliances, etc.

IMS looks increasingly like relatively sensible technology being badly positioned. The traditional telco vendors want to make $50m sales of kit to operators. BEA are probably more used to $5m sales to corporations. How much will the market for “telecom equipment” shift from operators to systems integrators and enterprises?

One observation: I also don’t believe a lot of the examples they keep giving. Not because it isn’t technically compelling, but because it’s solving the wrong *business* problem. The assets of a telco that are hard to replicate are often “asynchronous” – customer support, retail, billing, provisioning. The real-time services like directory and profile are easily accessible via long-established protocols like LDAP and vanilla web services. No HSS, IMS, HLR, TLA, or Old MacDonald’s EI-EI-O required.

I really like the idea of turning the OSS/BSS into a service rather than being a screen in an application in some dimly-lit operations centre. (Vitamin D deficiency is the key personnel heath risk in telecom.) There’s probably more gold here for the telcos than under most other stones. Even if intelligence is at the edge, without actionable data about the state and nature of the network, endpoints and environment it’s hard to make smart decisions when you start to reach technical and make choices about allocating resources.

I wonder if P2P is a threat to BEA and Intel’s big iron business. Skype hosts 100m accounts and over 5m concurrent users constantly exchanging presence information and making audio and video “calls”. I suspect that their operational infrastructure for their e-commerce store and PSTN interconnect is way bigger than the on-net directory servers. BEA and Intel are making a big deal here on scalability and extracting value from centralised hardware.

Intel are praising their lab efforts on building reference hardware platforms. Yes, there’s a real unresolved issue of what goes “in the network”, but it’s by no means clear that the IMS architecture reflects the P2P reality of most Internet traffic. Even services like YouTube are having to throw vast amounts of money at interconnect because the PC browser and OS has no integration with BitTorrent etc.

Furthermore, we need some terminology that differentiates from vertically integrated “owned and operated” services from the network provider, “externally owned but internally hosted” (“Akamai for streams not files”) and the more traditional Web model of Amazon and eBay where it’s remotely hosted and ‘just deliver our damn bits’. It’s not clear to me what the long-term balance will be between these different deployment architectures.

A lot of people here seem concerned about the handsets and how open they may be. Perhaps there’s an operator opportunity to go a “next-gen unlock code” where you buy back the openness of the device. I suspect the handset vendors I consult to would shudder at the thought!

An interesting little point was that your device turns up on some network and wants to interrogate what services are available (e.g. PSTN-VoIP, push-to-talk, etc.) There are two problems: nobody can quite agree on the semantics of these applications any more (because surely you want to differentiate yours in some way!) and everything is shoe-horned into SIP headers, which aren’t always the most natural way of carrying this data. A by-product of SS7 was that it limited what your PSTN service could do. Even with the constraints of SIP (as opposed to P2P IP) you’ve a lot of scope to invest ways to break interoperability.

Comverse, who typically provide carrier voicemail solutions, are doing a Powerpoint demo (remember: no connectivity in this room, this is telecom) of a premium rate video call as part of a dating service. I suspect my friends at leading dating company Lavasoft (who produce Lavalife and a huge legacy base of traditional phone shag hunting) might have a few things to say on this, having recently announced Skype integration. What value-add from IMS would they perceive? Outside of IMS, what could and should carriers be doing to create win-win models that exploit those marketing, distribution, support etc. assets?

(Actually there’s probably a whole lot in managing privacy, billing and identity that could go on here, but IMS isn’t necessarily the architecture to implement it. Also, the chances of an operator getting a dating app right themselves is very small. So this whole app platform would be bought and hosted by someone like Lavasoft without a carrier getting a look in.)

Do you want to have the network call you with a video call as soon as your kids get home? Comverse think so. In fact, there’s a wonderful history of canonical service examples from vendors (the Starbucks location-based coupon, and onwards) never turning into compelling user-adopted solutions.

And BOOM on cue: A cold snowball question from the floor right in the face – what does IMS add to the two examples? Answer: “Reliability…” (although what he describes is more an interoperability) “…and time-to-market and development effort...” There’s a clear disconnect even in the language and concepts between the two sides of the fence. Comverse grant that IMS isn’t adding much value here because there’s no real application integration. The IMS value-add comes from the management side, maybe?

Is there ever going to be a “PSTN 2.0” or “Universal Operator Push-to-Talk” app application that requires horizontal integration between operators? Probably not on current trends, because anyone on the Net can achieve the same user outcome by not inviting any operators to the application party. If you’re an operator you might use IMS as a toolkit to deploy more stovepipe solutions.

Ericsson are saying some sensible things about trying to hunt for new business models. Ads? Transactions? Subscriptions? Interactions? They define a middle space between “walled garden” and “bit pipe” as “channel provider”. We (in Telco 2.0 Report) frame this as “platform”, which tends to conjure up APIs, but I do really like the more business-centric framing.

Horizontal network model (hybrid during transition from circuit/SMSC world) + vertically integrated distribution model. That means you go to the Vodafone store and all the kit is compatible, supported via one number with no buck passing, and offers some level of service integration (just as Apple do across their product line).

The Ericsson presenter sees that the operator role is in co-ordinating value chains (e.g. preventing fragmentation of handset base – are you listening, Vodafone, Orange, Verizon?), not extraction of the value of all bits passing over the network. I guess that means you move more towards a membership fee: what’s the American Express of network operation?

Clearly he’s struggling, as is everyone, to name any compelling services. Perhaps it’s time to take the hint that operators aren’t cut out to do this, and they’re ultimately selling to the wrong audience. Wouldn’t you see those who’ve been living in an all-IP world for a decade and more as your most natural leads?

Netwise are pitching their hosted PBX and IP centrex solution. Two years ago, I’d probably have been less favourably inclined to these solutions. Now I feel there’s yet another chink in the “intelligence at the edge” armour: that there’s no cost in deploying, managing and maintaining that intelligence. Whilst I see Peerio-like technologies (pure P2P) ultimately prevailing, the transition period is likely to be two decades – plenty long enough to fill your pension fund with intermediate centralised (but not network-integrated) solutions.

A hint to all vendors: the demo the Netwise guy gave was short, sweet and showed managing a call both on the web and mobile handset at the same time. (This is clearly differentiated, say, from what Skype does). No endless powerpoint: show what you do for users if your business is user-facing! Finally someone’s shown me something that is powered by IMS (whether or not it’s necessary is another debate) that actually creates some end-user value.

He claims his business is also not directly threatened by Asterisk because that product can’t scale to the full user base of a network operator (at any sensible cost level, I guess). I wonder what the Googles of the world would think, with their “small, cheap, and lots of them” approach to computing.

The Voice Objects rep had a great quote: “there’s no IMS killer application, but there are killer cost savings”. He was referring to automating call centre transactions, but the wider meaning won’t be lost on readers.

One idea from Cap Gemini was that IMS can be about customer service. When you bolt together transmission and service, you know where the problem is. End-to-end control of device, network and application gives the potential of end-to-end support. I’ll leave you to judge the likelihood of it working as a business proposition, but at least it’s plausible in theory.

It’s a bit chilly from the aircon in here, so I’m pleased to have the laptop on lap to keep me warm and cosy. I can’t see any immediate computing comfort, however, for vendors looking for a replacement business for circuit switches. Good bye old scale and margins, hello thin and lean.

My summary? The IMS weather forecast remains cool and cloudy, but with sunny periods. Much like London’s weather.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

IMS event and research - discounts for readers of this blog

I'm delighted to make 2 pre-summer 'Special Offers' to readers of this blog for:

1.) the IMS Services Industry Brainstorm, 4-5 Oct, London
2.) the Telco 2.0 Market Study Report

1.) IMS Services Industry Brainstorm, 4-5 Oct, London - Special Offer

I'm delighted to say that we have already confirmed stimulus presenters from Telefonica, SFR, Telecom Italia, TeliaSonera, SK Telecom, Swisscom Mobile, MultiServiceForum, Disruptive Analysis, and pending from KPN, France Telecom and Vodafone Group. And IMS Insider has started its special analysis programme in preparation for the event. (See event 'Inputs' and 'Outputs'.)

Special Offer: IMS Insider reports worth £995 for those that register for event before 15th July*

In addition to the ‘Early Bird discount’ we are also offering to those who register for the event by 15th July: six back copies of the IMS Insider Monthly Report (Jan-June 2006) + Latest IMS Global Deployments Register + Six month's subscription (personal, individual license) to IMS Insider for July - Dec 2006. Normal Price: £995. See IMS Insider for editorial list.

If you'd like to take up the offer, please email me directly: editor@ims-insider.com quoting this blog post.

* Note: There are only 20 places available for (non-sponsoring) vendors at the event. All our effort goes into attracting the right number and proportion of Operator participants to make the brainstorm effective for all.

2.) Telco 2.0 Market Study Report - Special Offer

Discounts available before 15th July

“The only market report today that a.) fully analyses the transformational changes to the industry, b.) the effect on Network Architectures, and c.) offers practical steps to making money in an IP world.”

The full Telco 2.0 report (“How to make money in an IP-based world”) is now available for purchase. This provides the critical context for IMS, NGN and Product Development design and investment decisions. Team licenses (1-5 people) and corporate licenses (whole company) are available. A cut down version with a more technical focus is also available.

Special Offer: We are offering 10% off the list prices (details at
www.telco2.net/report). (Please email us and quote ‘June Promo’: contact@stlpartners.com)

The report (250 pages long) is very different from typical analyst reports because:


· It clearly articulates the fundamental technological and cultural shifts affecting current operator business models
· It provides the ‘killer stats’ to help communicate these issues internally
· It describes new practices for taking advantage of IP Convergence
· It provides an holistic road-map (commercial and technical) for moving forward, a.) For developing the optimal corporate, product and technology strategies to win in an IP-based world; b.) For optimising existing business processes, technology and organisational structures and for effectively migrating to the new world
· It is written by senior telco execs (not researchers or journalists)
· It is presented in an easy to use slide format


Key Questions Answered:

- How is the Telco-Media-Technology market really transitioning?
- What are the fundamental technical and cultural shifts affecting the market?
- When and how will the impact of this disruption be felt?
- What are the proof points of market change? Are we really hitting a ‘tipping point’ in business models and service types? And when will they happen?
- What are people thinking today within operator and vendor organizations about NGN, Standards and IMS deployment?
- What strategies should operators adopt to effectively respond to IP-based Convergence?
- What are the key barriers to success?
- How should operators plan their investment strategies in the Network and IT (IMS, NGN, OSS/BSS); in Products and Services (Legacy, FMC, VOIP, Triple Play, IPTV); in Partnerships (Content and Commerce); in Handsets (UI and supply chain); and in Corporate Strategy.
- How can operators build understanding of change internally?
- How can corporate, service and technology strategies be re-aligned to deal with disruptive market forces?
- How to embark on high-return optimization and low-risk migration?
- Which companies are taking the best approaches to IP Convergence?
- What can be learnt from non-Telco competitors – Internet Giants, Start-Ups, Retailers and others entering Telco?
- How should operators choose vendors and partners, given the above?


More info, or email contact@stlpartners.com

The Editor, IMS Insider
editor@ims-insider.com

Monday, June 26, 2006

IMS strategy for fixed line players

I heard an interesting presentation by Dr. Jospeh Schaefer, Head of Technical Strategy and Innovation, at Arcor at an NGN conference I spoke at earlier in this month. Arcor are the no.2 fixed line player in Germany behind DT, covering 50% of German geog, part of Vodafone (part of the Mannesman acquisition), and currently profitable.

Vodafone had largely left Arcor alone. But now, VF having ditched their fixed-mobile substitution strategy and decided to embrace fixed/internet/VOIP, they are starting to get very interested in how to integrate much more closely with Arcor to fend off the DT/T-mobile/T-Online integrated threat.

Dr. Schaefer said that his company accepts there is a paradigm shift occuring - a "separation of the layers of transport and service". They worry about fixed carriers being reduced to transport only. (See www.telco2.net/manifesto). They feel that an NGN-based IMS model may be a way forward ("the heir to legacy POTS?"), but aren't 100% sure.

They recognise that their voice revenue will eventually whittle away to very little (from 50% of total today), but they need to shore it up for now. So, they are focused in the short/medium term on stabilising their voice business.


So, they have developed something called 'Voice over NGN' (VoNGN), to compete with 'VOIP' (* See Our Comments below).

It involves a Session Border Controller which creates a sort of 'intranet' (secure/high quality) for the consumer's home. It links ('federates') Arcor's walled garden with other carriers' walled gardens (a sort of inter-carrier connection, a bit like how ISDN worked) as well as to the open internet.

It competes with 'pure VOIP' (*) due in 3 ways (Dr Schaefer calls is 'Q3' strategy):

1.) Quality of Service
2.) Quality of Security features (no malware, no number spoofing)
3.) Quality of service features (new voice features, eg. call completion/busy etc)

The business model is: Network Access + Services bundled in a flat fee + a Service Portfolio of digital home stuff (to be developed).

Challenges/opportunities:
- they recognise need to become much more IT literate (get away from bad old telco habits).
- they need to investigate User Generated Content and blogs and see how to leverage them.
- they need to leverage their core asset, their network, which will soon be delivering 50 meg/sec (up from 16 today).

[NB: As an aside, they don't see Wimax working due to low availability of spectrum in Europe, and very poor indoor coverage - they've done lots of trials and it just doesn't work].

OUR COMMENTS:
We like this approach. It's practical and relevant and focuses on 'LEGACY OPTIMISATION', one of the twin pillars of our 'Telco 2.0 Roadmap'. Perfect for the short term. However, in parallel with this we need the GROWTH story (the second pillar); and this is clearly still missing at most telcos (as current P/E ratios demonstrate).

To start with we need to be careful about terminology around 'VOIP' and thus what we are trying to compete with (esp. in terms of 'quality of service'). As Wittgenstein might observe, we are are using the wrong language to describe the problem.

'VOIP' still means different things to different people:

- Meaning A: applying SIP URI's on softphones over unregulated wireless bandwidth (very open to spam etc).
- Meaning B: semi-closed proprietary systems like Skype (very useful presence functionality if you can get on people's buddy lists, but fast innovating and, if linked to an e-commerce and payment community like eBay/PayPal, then very useful).
- Meaning C: PSTN simulation of VOIP (approach being taken by the operators, open and relatively safe with high 'QoS', but rather dull on its own and not profitable).

So, Arcor are really competing against Meaning A and Meaning C, but not Meaning B, and B is where the value/profits are most likely to be.

To compete properly then (ie. the GROWTH part of the strategy) fixed line players like Arcor should focus on where the QoS problem is most acute: in the home, in the set up of a home network. This should therefore be the fourth 'Q' (a 'Q4' strategy). They should try to own the access point via a Home Gateway package bundled with DSL and FMC offerings. (Ignore Set Top Box for now, as it's too complicated).

A standardised Home Gateway such as the one Verizon offers via OEM'd Westell kit could offer low support costs and greater consumer 'lock-in' and thus shore up the dam a little longer and more effectively.

The Editor, IMS Insider

editor@ims-insider.com
IMS SERVICES BRAINSTORM, 4-5 OCT, LONDON: www.imsservicesforum.com





Friday, June 23, 2006

IMS - Rube Goldberg or Heath Robinson?

How should IMS best be applied? A key question and one which super practitioner Adam Uzelac at one of our favourite companies (Global Crossing) ponders in a recent post.

Many seem to be approaching it like 'Rube Goldberg', he says. In England we refer to madly over-engineered inventions as 'Heath Robinson-like':


We'll be looking to crack this problem once and for all at the IMS Services Brainstorm in October. (Update on the event next week, watch this space).

The Editor, IMS Insider
editor@ims-insider.com

Thursday, June 15, 2006

IMS Devices - Linux Platform the solution?

Continuing, serendipitously, on from the previous post today, Vodafone sent out a press release a few minutes ago called: "Mobile industry leaders to create world's first globally adopted open mobile Linux platform". I asked Dean Bubley, speaker at our www.imsservicesforum.com, to comment (below the link to the announcement):

"15 June 2006 - Motorola, NEC, NTT DoCoMo, Panasonic Mobile Communications, Samsung Electronics, and Vodafone announced today their intent to establish the world's first global, open Linux-based software platform for mobile devices. [Rest of announcement here:
http://www.vodafone.com/article_with_thumbnail/0,3038,OPCO%253D40000%2526CATEGORY_ID%253D205%2526MT_ID%253Dpr%2526LANGUAGE_ID%253D0%2526CONTENT_ID%253D282953,00.html]"

Dean says:

- handset Linux ain't free... or cheap, or easy. The "free" bit is the kernel, but there's about 500 other bits of software that need to work on top of it & therefore probably about $5-10+ worth of amortised integration work. Hence the role of companies like MontaVista and (perhaps more critically) Trolltech. Moto is rumoured to have spent $300m+ trying to get its Linux implementation to work (at 8m handsets = $35+ per device), and DoCoMo/Panasonic/NEC probably much the same.

- to my mind this is "necessary but not sufficient". It partly addresses one of the key weaknesses of mobile Linux - the fact that it's already become horribly fragmented. There's the Moto version, the DoCoMo version, Samsung's got one, and there are assorted other distributions from Wind River & various of the handset chipset companies. There's also a total lack of standardisation on the application framework & associated things like telephony integration, security etc, critical for 3d party developers & operators to give their support. It's no coincidence that Linux has only made headway in China (where operators don't define handset software at all) and Japan (where DoCoMo goes to the other extreme & designs it all in-house)

- There have already been a bunch of other mobile Linux standardisation efforts (CELP, LiPS etc) & they haven't got much further than talking-shop stage.

We're in contact with Vodafone and Samsung about also speaking at the event. More to follow...

The Editor, IMS Insider
www.ims-insider.com

IMS Devices - industry ignoring handsets at their peril

"Naked SIP" phones will create new, disruptive business threats to carriers

In a previous post I previewed a new report by Dean Bubley of Disruptive Analysis. Below are more details.

I'm delighted that Dean will be participating as 'Analyst-in-Residence' at our IMS Services Brainstorm on 4-5 Oct, in London (www.imsservicesforum.com). He'll also be presenting his latest analysis of his work on Devices in the session on 'IMS Devices - How to get round the problems'. (NB: We have a special offer on the event for those that book before end July. See event website).

A new research study from Disruptive Analysis has examined the evolution of IMS- and SIP-capable mobile handsets.


While much attention has focused on deployments of IMS network infrastructure and applications, the need for a new class of phones has been largely forgotten.

In theory, the much-hyped deployment of IMS networks extends carriers’ abilities to deliver new services like push-to-talk, instant messaging and future innovative "combinational services". Many service providers are investing in the IMS blueprint for building out new IP core networks, and a flexible "application layer" which, they hope, will simultaneously enable them to lower operating costs and drive revenues from myriad new services.

But while infrastructure standards are quite well-established, only the most basic technological enablers of the phones have been agreed. There is no consensus on how to create the "user experience" for IMS phones, nor the ways in which applications interact each other, or other functions, on the device itself.

Many widely-envisioned usage models for IMS actually require the phones to be capable of "multi-tasking" – something only achievable by top-end smartphones today. These issues will lead to delayed development of the handsets, and an early focus on carrier-specific proprietary implementations. IMS phone rollout and uptake will be much slower than expected, with negative impacts for service providers and their suppliers.

The report finds that it will be 2009 before massmarket 20%+ penetration of IMS functionality onto handsets is attained, and in most cases this will still only be through "partial IMS" implementations. Nevertheless, the problems should be overcome eventually. In 2011, it is forecast that there will be almost 500m IMS-capable phones shipped globally.

In the short term, however, carriers face another set of challenges. The comparatively "easy bit" of IMS handset software is putting SIP in the phone. That is standardised. And there are various other good reasons to put SIP in the phone anyway, irrespective of implementing IMS.
So, well before we get true IMS handsets, we will have SIP-enabled ones – which are in fact already shipping. And in many cases, 3rd party software developers or competitive service providers can access SIP with their own applications installed on the phone. Examples include disruptive VoIP, competitive IM services, IP-PBX or conferencing tools, or even SMS-bypass mechanisms.


These are "Off-portal SIP applications", using mobile devices equipped with "Naked SIP".
48m "Naked SIP" phones will ship in 2006, growing to more than 220m in 2008 and 500m+ in 2011. Between now and the end of 2011, there will be, cumulatively, 980m more "Naked SIP" cellphones sold than "Closed IMS" handsets which restrict the user to the operator's billable IMS services. That's a billion extra mobile devices capable of supporting disruptive non-operator SIP applications, developed by 3rd parties such as Internet brands, over the next 5 years.


Dean Bubley, author of the report and founder of Disruptive Analysis, says:

"Once again, the telecom industry seems to have under-estimated the complexity and time involved in getting the phones right, before investing billions on new infrastructure. Not only that, but the gap is likely to be filled by ‘open’ or ‘naked’ SIP-enabled mobile phones, which will enable 3rd-party providers - such as Internet VoIP and IM specialists - to exploit a huge mobile user base with their own on-handset software applications.

The mobile industry needs to address the IMS phone issue as a matter of urgency, as well as looking at ways to short-circuit the inevitable delays by exploiting the abilities of ‘Naked SIP’ devices themselves."

The report, "The evolution of SIP- and IMS-capable mobile handsets", is available from Disruptive Analysis from today. It is based on a huge research effort spanning 300+ interviews and meetings, and contains extensive market forecasts, industry commentary & analysis and company profiles. Please see www.disruptive-analysis.com for a table of contents and summary, or contact sales@disruptive-analysis.com for more details.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Sneak Preview of IMS Services Industry Brainstorm, Oct 06, London

As readers will know, between January and April 2006 (thanks to those who took part), we undertook a massive research exercise into the problems facing IMS. We've now turned that into a major report (called 'Telco 2.0 - How to make money in an IP-based world'?) - it's now available: www.telco2.net/report.

From an IMS perspective it clearly shows that the industry is still struggling with defining what applications and services IMS should focus on supporting. Following discussions with people at the IMS World Forum (April 2006), we were approached by senior practitioners in the industry to put together a special 'Industry Brainstorm' on the topic.

It focuses exclusively on the thorny topic of 'IMS Services' - how to define them, how to build them, and how to migrate commercial processes and technical architectures to support them effectively.

We'll be launching this officially tomorrow, but here's a sneak preview for readers of this blog: www.imsservicesforum.com

The format is very different (facilitated group brainstorming process stimulated by specially commissioned presentations). Topics covered:

Day One: new vision for IMS services:

The true commercial requirements (business model) for IMS (in light of Telco 2.0)
The true technical requirements from IMS, and migration approach (in light of
Telco 2.0)
The gaps in standards…and how to fill them
A new framework for classifying and defining IMS applications and services

Day Two: Practical solutions to key challenges:

Service Creation, SDP and the Application Layer
Dealing with Client/Device deficiencies
Leveraging User Data
3rd Party Interoperability & Integration
Pre-IMS Services

The Editor, IMS Insider

editor@ims-insider.com


Monday, June 12, 2006

Vodafone New Strategy - Best Analysis is in the Blogs

I spoke at 2 conferences in Europe recently, one on Next Generation Networks and one on SDPs. I presented a very high level summary of our 'Telco 2.0' Report (www.telco2.net/report), and told the audience that the best analysis (in terms of quality, speed and price - free!) is in the blogs. I then asked who reads blogs. One or two hands went up! Lots of people were keen afterwards to get a list of the 'hot blogs'. Says something...

To prove the point, here are 5 of the best analyses of Vodafone's new strategy (which is already prompting a shareholder mini-revolt) - all blogs. All look at it from different angles, but all are aligned in their macro analysis of the 'sustainability' of the strategy (as it has been presented publically, at least). Four of these analyst-bloggers have been involved in the design of our Telco 2.0 and IMS Services Industry Brainstorms on 4-5 Oct in London, and will be participating as 'Analysts-in-residence'.

"Bumps in the long road to Vodafone 2.0":

http://eurotelcoblog.blogspot.com/2006_05_01_eurotelcoblog_archive.html

http://telebusillis.blogspot.com/2006/06/vodafone-mobileplus-in-uk-market-part.html

http://disruptivewireless.blogspot.com/2006/05/voda-data-revenues.html

http://www.telepocalypse.net/archives/000948.html

http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2006/04/catastrophic_st.html

The Editor, IMS Insider
www.ims-insider.com

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Skype/Yahoo/MSN/Google Head-to-Head on stage

A fascinating post from our friend James Enck at EuroTelcoBlog (also chief telco analyst at Daiwa Securities) who last week chaired an 'unprecedented head-to-head meeting' of Skype, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Google for 250 execs from the UK telco and vendor community, under the banner of "New Kids on the Block." Here's the link:

http://chaotica.blogspot.com/2006/06/how-happy-are-you-with-your-place-in.html


Thos sharing the stage with James for 90 minutes were:

James Bilefield, General Manager, Europe, Skype
Eileen Broch, Director, Communications Products, UK and EU, Yahoo!
Jim Holden, Director, Global Wireless Strategic Partnerships, Google
Adrian Whaley, EMEA Business Manager, Communications Solutions, Microsoft

NOTE: A detailed analysis of the implications of these companies' strategies for Telcos is in our new report: "Telco 2.0 - How to make money in an IP-based world" - www.telco2.net/report.


We will also be presenting a special analysis of the implications of this for IMS at our IMS Services Industry Brainstorm on 4-5 Oct in London - www.imsservicesforum.com (see separate blog postings for updates)


The Editor, IMS Insider

Editor@ims-insider.com



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