IP Multimedia Subsystem. IMS. Sounds familiar? Well, it should, in fact, sound familiar, because is one of the key technologies for the services that are going to populate your communication services in the near future. Yes, I said communication services, not fixed, cable, xDSL, mobile… It doesn’t matter. The standard (IMS is a set of communication standards) has evolved to allow telecom companies to offer additional services over their IP networks.
You can have access to all your multimedia services, and the system (your mobile phone, your IPTV, your computer…) will recognize you and let you switch sources, receive only one invoice, access the same service from different platforms… that is real convergence.

With more and more broadband at home and in our pockets, the advent of video services in the same session with voice, instant messaging, gaming… makes the need to coordinate the initiation of all those services and its back office management (how you bill them, how to change from mobile to fixed lines, how to keep the user identified at any time…) a priority for telecom companies and their providers. Just try to find IMS in any of the major network providers. See, they are all playing the game.

It has also bad news. The standards are under development. That means technologies that are not completely trusted, which implies slow deployment. That also means (remember, standard) the creation of a new software infrastructure that is based in open standards, taking some power away from the Telco’s, and sending it to the application providers. That could create a new space for competition delivering services directly to customers. But obviously the carriers are not happy about it. What we will see in the next months is a new breed of services combining fixed and mobile communications, voice and data… an opportunity for creativity and a challenge for the industry to develop new concepts. Hopefully we will also see and evolution of prices to help in the roll out of those services.


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