Cable IMS Resurgence?

Cable's hot and cool relationship with the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) could be on the front burner again, or at least that's what we're supposed to think after Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC) and Camiant Inc. announced the completion of a product interoperability test. (See Ericsson, Camiant Do Interop.)

The technical teaming and validation of Ericsson's IMS platform with Camiant's policy control platform came at the request of several tier-1 operators, company officials say.

"We had, simultaneously, requests from the cable and wireless sides," says Solomon Israel, Ericsson's senior director of system integration and multimedia business development.

Such an integration will enable operators to piece together their own IMS architectures, where otherwise they might be locked into proprietary options, says Susie Kim Riley, Camiant's founder and chief technology officer.

The CableLabs PacketCable 2.0 platform borrows heavily from IMS, but some cable operators have indicated that deployments are still at least a year away, due to significant up-front investments and the lack of a revenue-driving application that will turn the tide quickly. (See The Slow Road to PacketCable 2.0.)

Israel insists that cable operators are making evaluations now and putting IMS into lab environments with the anticipation of rollouts later this year and into 2009. For its part, Ericsson claims to have 46 IMS contracts in place, with 20 already serving live commercial traffic. Among them, Virgin Media Inc. (Nasdaq: VMED) is using Ericsson's IMS technology for VOIP applications.

Operators are looking at IMS for wireless VOIP services that tie into their common infrastructure. Riley expects operators to start by looking at SIP-based, multi-line commercial VOIP services delivered over IMS.

"Everyone ultimately agrees that they have to go in the direction of IMS, because legacy [technology] won't take them there," she says.

At the same time, these nearer-term business opportunities could give operators a way to "get their feet wet" with IMS before deploying it to millions of subscribers, she says.

IMS will also touch IP-based video services, particularly when real-time communications are baked in, Israel notes, citing examples such as multiplayer gaming.

But the proof will be in the pudding in terms of how rapidly cable operators introduce IMS and PacketCable 2.0 into their networks.

"There might be a couple of MSOs looking at it right now, but I don't think there's a great cable wave of IMS activity going on," says Heavy Reading senior analyst Alan Breznick. He expects most IMS-related activity to be focused on wireless operators rather than cable MSOs in the earlier phases of deployment.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

prabhatlightreading 12/5/2012 | 3:48:29 PM
re: Cable IMS Resurgence? IMS trials have been going around for the past 2-3 years and yet we do not have many buyers of IMS enabled applications and bundles. Why? Do we have applications?

Well there are three key challenges:

1. IMS Vision has not been shared and socialized across the entire service providerGÇÖs organization starting from board/C-levels down to engineers at the back end. How to get financially driven board excited about new paradigm shift - IMS? Should CTO take the lead? Should CFO drive it?

2. The true value of IMS enabled applications and bundles (UC, FMC, BVoIP etc.) gets diluted further when front end organizations (marketing & sales)do not have the complete depth about "How to" sell IMS led APPLICATIONS. So where do we get the meaningful and realistic "REVENUE FORECAST" numbers? Do we need upfront buy-in?

3. IMS platform project is in "Experiment Arena" due to the push by vendors and SP's technology organizations buying into it without having full support from the Back-end (OSS/BSS and Customer Care) and Front-end organizations. So you do not have the realistic cost of integrating IMS with legacy networks and systems for provisioning and billing. In addition, one cannot estimate the potential cost savings due to simplifications in management systems, network operations and service delivery platforms, brought by IMS led one access network for all media access - wireline, wireless, cable, DSL etc.

In summary, IMS needs to be led by the marketing & sales organization to have a real business case with year over year growth through IMS applications and simplifications in VoIP offers.
Otherwise, IMS may fall into the trap "Too Little Too Late" when SaaS, Web2.0 and GRID applications become a huge success without IMS???

How to make IMS a reality?? Well next time!!!

Prabhat Kumar
[email protected]
fgoldstein 12/5/2012 | 3:48:29 PM
re: Cable IMS Resurgence? But what IMS applications are there, at least that customers care about?

IMS is a complicated way to do something that can be done much more easily without it. It's a Rube Goldberg complexity layer atop something already too complex for its own good. Cable folks are usually smart enough to not waste money on vendor sloganeering. They're not rich ILECs, after all.

If there's anything that needs IMS, how much market is there for it? FMC? Puh-leeze.
Star Man 12/5/2012 | 3:48:25 PM
re: Cable IMS Resurgence? FMC and IMS please both are stone dead!

Only old startups on life support are trying to pitch this baloney.
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