1 August 2005 Research group Analysys has urged mobile operators to be cautious with implementations of the Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem, a network architecture expected to be a cornerstone of the unified communications development.
The analyst company warns that while mobile operators will be attracted to IMS because of the opportunity it presents to develop sophisticated communication services, in the short term, those services are likely to be of limited appeal.
A new Analysys report predicted that most mobile operators will implement an IMS system within five years, but its authors warned that many of the services they hope to support, such as mobile voice over IP and instant video messaging, might be better served by proprietary solutions in the short term.
“The examples currently being proposed do not in themselves provide strong justification for [IMS],” wrote Analysys’ Dr Alistair Brydon.
In the long term, the report’s authors conceded that IMS will enable mobile telecom providers to offer a wide range of services cheaply, helping them to compete with fixed line operators. Although the technology is relatively new, it is cheaper to implement than many alternatives, as it can be run on existing server hardware.
IMS is a network architecture standard designed to handle audio and video data alongside traditional IP packets. Its design lets operators offer a wide range of services over a single network, and should promote the convergence of mobile and fixed-line telecommunications networks.
Early adopters of IMS include BT, Ericsson, France Telecom and 02, which plans to launch its IMS-based services by the end of this year.
This month, Portuguese mobile operator TMN launched a service for customers to share a live video stream on their mobile phones. This service is based upon Nokia’s IP Multimedia Subsystem.
Meanwhile, Nokia plans to launch an IMS-based Push-to-Talk service, which allows users to instantaneously record and send a voice message to a colleague without having to wait for them to pick up the phone. The service will launch in Sweden before the end of 2005.