Monday, October 24, 2005

IMS Insider Blog (2) 

I reported on the new IMS Insider Blog in a previous post. In the meantime I had time to read some other posts there. This is quite interesting, because this blog is in own words part of a new service dedicated to commercializing the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS).

The motto is a combination of Richard Shockey's Law: "Money is the answer, what is the question?" and Martin Geddes' "Internet Monitization System" for IMS, adding 2 and 2 together:

IMS is the answer, what is the question?

There is e.g. one post on a very serious question:
IMS primarily for cutting costs or growing revenues?

Here an operations director and a marketing director of an unmentioned mobile operator are discussing in a Socratic conversation if IMS is primarily for cutting cost or growing revenues.

Of course the operations director sees the major benefit in cutting costs, although he is not precisely stating how and why, and he is also not stating related to what: the existing circuit switched system or a plain SIP implementation on the Internet.

The marketing director finally seems to win the argument by growing revenues with new services (or so, maybe, I have some difficulties to follow the arguments)

MD: But new services don't just drive usage & price (ARPU) they drive adoption too - new services have been one of the key reasons why Vodafone Japan has been so unsuccessful in Japan - it has lost subscribers to Docomo and KDDI. Yes, ARPU is down at Docomo since 2002, but revenues have held up quite well because the company has won market share. Revenues will always do better if you continue to invest in new services – IMS enables you do this. Without this investment in growth you may become more and more efficient, but you just cut yourself to death.

This leads of course to the basic question: What new services to implement? (New in context of circuit switching - not compared with e.g. Skype or other SIP implementations - here most of these services are old hats already).

IMS-insiders tries to answer this question too. Since nobody else seems to have a basic idea, they raise the question: What New Services will IMS best enable?

IMS technology is clearly developing fast. However, it's unclear which new services will be the winners in an IMS-enabled world. So, what criteria should telco marketers and product developers use to prioritise their services?

Chris Barraclough, who used to develop propositions for European mobile operator, Orange, and who's now a consultant at our sister company STL (, describes the issue as follows:

"We all know that the voice market is in decline. Operators we speak to are desperately seeking new services that can leverage IMS. They got lucky with SMS. Since then they are trying to work out the next 'big product'. The problem is there isn't a single one.

Operators recognise they need a portfolio of services, and they're getting there...but very slowly. And it's even more difficult to define a portfolio for IMS-enabled services that don't yet exist - it feels too hard, too esoteric.

Note: finally a true statement ;-)

As a result, we see very unscientific approaches to making investment decisions today, and they are not factoring in IMS enough/at all.

No comment on this from my side (it would be too sarcastic)

So they do a survey: Top IMS Services - IMS World Forum Survey . They

... created a short-list of 22 services that could be significantly enabled or enhanced by IMS (listed below). These guys know their stuff - they include an ex-CEO of a major European Mobile Operator, an ex-Marketing Director of another European Mobile Operator, an ex-Business Transformation Director of a US Fixedline player, an ex-Strategy Director of a European FMC company, and a consultant who previously set up a Mobility Centre of Excellence for one of the Big 5 Consultancies and also worked in Product Strategy for a leading NEP.

Clever guys ;-)

The next post already showed the results:
Top IMS Services – Survey Results

Top 10:

1. Video Sharing 30 votes
2. Unified Messaging 29 votes
3. Single Virtual Directory 25
4. Unified Communications 23
5=. Click to Conference 22
5=. Net Meeting 22
7= Personal Assistant 19
7= Multiplayer Gaming 19
7= Friends & Family Tracking 19
10. Virtual PBX 18

Ranked 11-22:

Location-based profile match 13 votes
Security Monitoring 9
Field Force Efficiency 8
Logistics/Fleet Tracking/Mgt 7
Single Number/Dual Ringing 6
One-Device, Two-Number 6
Inbound call screening 6
Call completion 5
Intelligent Call Centre Routing 4
Find-me-follow-me 4
Multi-Channel Tele Voting 4
Group Hunt 1

Here the explanation of the top 4:

Video Sharing
Integration of video clips into a voice call, where both parties can view and discuss the video

Unified Messaging
Single mail box for email, voicemail and other asynchronous messaging, which can be accessed through any device.

Single Virtual Directory
Directory of contacts (personal and/or business) accessed from any device. With optional gateways to public directories.

Unified Communications
Multiple numbers (fixed, mobile, Instant Messenger ID, VOIPid) combined to behave a single logical number for all real-time communication services.

I think we all can learn from this. What? This I leave to your discretion. Und aus.

Wow, these guys really are smoking crack, aren't they!?

> 1. Video Sharing 30 votes
This requires IMS why?

> 2. Unified Messaging 29 votes
Already easily achievable now without IMS. This is mainly a client issue anyway.

> 3. Single Virtual Directory 25
Again, a directory issue, not an IMS solution per se.

> 4. Unified Communications 23
Achievable now with SIP and UM.

> 5=. Click to Conference 22
Integrated address book and software-based SIP client or simple web portal. Again, don't need IMS for that per se.
Do I sence a IMS propaganda Machine inching into action?

Here is the circular argument: "We sell consulting to telecom companies, we know IMS is a huge new effort to deploy, that no one really feels safe commiting to, we know it might solve some problems, we know you could deploy services using it, it's something you need to explore, but that you need guidance on all this from experts, from us..."
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