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Readers Pick IMS Killer Apps

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
10/18/2005
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A fair sum of Light Reading's readers say unified messaging and dualmode wireless/LAN voice services will be the first market successes made possible by the much-talked-about IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). (See IMS: What's the Use?.)

These “blended” applications, in which IMS-enabled operators deftly orchestrate multiple services inside a single call session, may be the key to future revenues for wireline and wireless carriers alike. (See IMS Guide and LR Explains IMS.)

Our current poll asks readers what the first IMS "killer app" will be, who will make it, and who will buy it. (See Cingular Picks Lucent for IMS and SBC Picks Lucent's IMS .) And it has already yielded some interesting results.

Of the poll respondents so far, 33 percent say unified messaging will emerge as the IMS application consumers can’t live without. Unified messaging combines real-time communication modes like IM, voice, and video on a single interface for the user. That interface also often bundles in the user’s email client, as well as a contact database, calendar, and other organizational tools.

Another 12 percent of our poll takers believe “presence” applications will be popular with consumers. Presence management tools are often bundled with unified messaging services to show whether connected users are available to communicate, and which communication modes are possible.

A fair number of Light Readers, 25 percent, also called out dualmode, wireless LAN voice service as a possible IMS killer app. This blended application allows a wireless call session to seamlessly convert to a wireline-based call when the user comes in range of the home or office LAN.

Interestingly, our readers are split on which market will be first to adopt the new IMS applications. Forty-nine percent say residential consumers will be first to latch on, while 51 percent believe it will be businesses and other enterprises.

The poll also asked readers which players in the telecom space would eventually become the dominant providers of IMS applications. Most of the poll takers, 37 percent, believe that large, traditional suppliers like Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) and Siemens AG (NYSE: SI; Frankfurt: SIE) will leverage old relationships to retain that business, while 35 percent say they believe insurgent applications specialists like Ubiquity Software Corp. and Personeta Inc. will emerge as key providers. (See Huawei, Ubiquity Ally.)

Only 11 percent of Light Readers believe that upstart softswitch vendors like Sonus Networks Inc. (Nasdaq: SONS) and Veraz Networks Inc. will take a leading role in providing IMS applications. (See Sonus, AOL Team On IMS .)

With service providers increasingly migrating their architectures toward IMS to enable new services, the payoff of an IMS-enabled "killer application" or two becomes extremely important. Refashioning huge telecom networks for IMS isn’t cheap.

It's a good thing that IMS allows operators to develop and deploy new services at less expense, because it may take a few tries to see which ones gel with consumers.

Still, our poll monkey keeps chattering on about the "wisdom of the crowd," so please take a moment and tell us which IMS applications will be first to catch on. The poll will stay up through the end of this week.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

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