» IEC panel says IMS late but OK
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IEC panel says IMS late but OK
By Kevin Fitchard

Jun 19, 2007 12:00 AM

Industry expectations for the IP multimedia subsystem shouldn’t change, given that more than 75% of service providers worldwide consider it a core architecture for IP-based converged services. But the real market ramp won’t come for another year or more, according to a panel of experts at an IEC “Deploying IMS” panel Monday.

Tom Valovic, program director of voice-over-IP infrastructure at IDC, identified IMS as being in a liminal state, which can mean either transitional or uncertain. However, with a forecasted compound annual growth rate of 83.5% over the next four years, which pushed the market to $9 billion annually, IMS is pretty certain, he said.

“We just need to adjust our expectations in terms of the timeline for IMS,” Valovic said. He added that the market for IMS will start ramping up in 2008 and 2009.

Session moderator Amir Atai, lead scientist of the converged business group for Alcatel-Lucent, said commercial deployments are proceeding as carriers take a phased approach but acknowledged that “sometimes there is a need for service providers to go beyond the standard.”

Valovic warned, however, that deviations such as Verizon’s advances to IMS (A-IMS) threaten the “harmonization and synchronization of the IMS standard.”

Naseem Khan, chief architect for Verizon, said A-IMS is not a separate standard, but an addition of key enhancements, including Web services, to the IMS standard.

AT&T, on the other hand, sees IMS not as a goal but as a tool to build the network of the future the way it believes it should be built, said Siroos Afshar, chief architect for AT&T. And that is reflected in its Common Architecture for Real-Time Services (CARTS) strategy. CARTS supports all access technologies without preference, and the company looks to IMS to see how it can support that vision.

Saying telcos are facing an icy blast from ISPs with different business models building around convergence, Malcolm Wardlaw, director of converged services for BT Group. He said IMS will make things a bit warmer and more profitable. He said BT has had its fair of failures during its 21st century network implementation and is concerned that some IMS elements are not quite carrier grade.

“Other problems were around integrating vendor equipment. Everyone meets the standards, but not quite enough,” Wardlaw said.

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