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IMS

IMS: Pulling the Pieces Together

CHICAGO – Supercomm 2005 – Partnerships between mobile convergence startups and established networking vendors are in the air tonight in the windy city [ed. note: drum fill!].

Lucent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: LU) says that it will resell Kodiak Networks's RTX platform worldwide. The deal gives Lucent the means to plug a number of sophisticated voice capabilities into its proto-IMS core network. Push-to-talk startup Sonim Technologies Inc. is working with Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERICY) on similar applications.

Meanwhile, Nortel Networks Ltd. (NYSE/Toronto: NT) is talking with companies like BridgePort Networks Inc. about "applications for wireless LAN to cellular mobility," according to Alan Stoddard, Nortel's general manager of converged networks.

A spokeswoman for Nortel notes that the company is in discussions with many related companies about working together. And the firm already has a long list of partners that it is working with on convergence.

So what's with all these partnerships?

Bruce Lawler, VP of business development at Kodiak, thinks the sheer complexity of IMS forces companies dealing with the relevant parts to work together to develop a cohesive whole.

"There's just a lot of moving parts. It is a lot of new things," he says.

Nortel's Stoddard agrees and adds that as IMS networks evolve, firms will also need to concentrate on testing each element of the chain – from the network core to the converged device – to ensure that it all works together.

All this means that most don't expect to see fully-fledged IMS networks in the field for years yet: Most people who spoke to Unstrung on the subject seemed to have the number "2008" floating about their noggins.

But that doesn't mean the hype about IMS is likely to die down anytime soon. Proto-IMS converged services of all different stripes are in the works now, and it's clear that different vendors are going to experiment with a number of different converged voice, data, and video services on the road to IMS.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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