Sunday, February 05, 2006

IMS Crucial for Cable VoIP?!? 

Up to now the only group not infected by the S4 Syndrome and IMS Mania was the cable operators. Of course manufacturers do not like this. But there is also other groups making money out of IMS: the consultants and conference organizers. So IDC, being active in both areas, cannot stand this.

In their press release on February 1st they are blaming of course the manufacturers: Softswitch Vendors Hope to Ride Cable Companies Straight to the Winners Circle, IDC Says, but basically they are trying to sell you their report Softswitch Suppliers: The Battle for VoIP (and IMS) in the Cable Market for $2500, with the following arguments:
After sauntering out of the gate, cable companies are finally ready to hit stride as they race toward VoIP and associated next-generation services, unencumbered by the back-breaking weight of legacy-based TDM networks. This 'run for the roses' presents tremendous opportunity for softswitch suppliers that recognize the cable market as one of the most important segments for VoIP-based softswitch sales.

So the benefits is with the softswitch suppliers.

According to IDC, the U.S. market for cable-based VoIP will grow from 2.2 million subscribers in 2005 to 19.8 million by 2009. However, to truly compete with incumbent carriers, cable operators must extend bundled offerings that will allow them to provide voice, mobile voice, and multimedia capabilities. "Convergence has created some fierce competition between cable companies and ILECS as both strive to capitalize on the opportunities presented by triple play and quadruple play," said Tom Valovic, program director of IDC's VoIP Infrastructure service.

This is nice: a market of 19,8 million only in 2009? Nebbich.

BTW, Skype has already >70 million subscribers now and may have > 250 million in 2009. And with whom the cable operators will have to compete according to IDC: with the incumbents!

But it gets even more funny:

The rapidly evolving PacketCable architecture and standard, developed by CableLabs, is at the heart of these efforts. However, one potential obstacle that threatens to slow down cable companies is the emergence of IP multimedia subsystems (IMS), a rapidly advancing standard slated for the development of SIP-based multimedia services. If cable companies can't overcome potential IMS hurdles, which include meshing the standard with PacketCable specs to take full advantage of the multimedia capabilities offered by SIP, they may find themselves behind the IMS power curve over the next 2-3 years. On a more positive note, progress in this area will bring with it some distinct advantages. "Over the long term, if PacketCable successfully adopts IMS, this will open up the market to a broader range of softswitch and call session control function (CSCF) providers," said Valovic.

The IMS power curve! I personally have not seen any feature that Skype and other VoIP providers using SIP already have implemeted now implemented in IMS yet. They have plans to start implementing this within the next two or three years or so. Can you imagine how far advanced Skype, VoipBuster, Tello, iotum, et. al will be then?

Some more fun can be found in the VoIP Magazine:

The adoption of IMS as part of the PacketCable standard will help cable operators in another way, Valovic adds. Optimizing softswitching equipment for cable currently is challenging, and only a handful of manufacturers do it well, including Cisco, Nortel, and Siemens, as well as second-tier vendors Cedar Point and Nuera, he observes.

But when standardization on IMS becomes mandatory, it will make it easier for other manufacturers to compete, he says. And that will drive down the price of equipment.

So currently the price is high!

One little example: take the latest must have gadget Nabaztag - the French Smart Rabbit. Skypeteer has a connection to Pamela aready and is working on integrating this fully into Skype.

Can one imagine such a fast reaction if you are using IMS. No way.

What did Francis Ford Coppola say recently at the Management and Consulting Congress com.sult this week in Vienna:

Listen well to the consulants and then do the opposite.

A good summary of what cable companies have been talking about for about 1 year now. However, as many of them have investigated IMS, some have backed off (scared at the complexity). I suspect a pitched battle is raging within nearly every company on plain SIP vs fancy IMS.
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