The addition of powerful multimedia capabilities to next-generation mobile phones will drive industry's need for a new "IP Multimedia Subsystem" (IMS). This will enable the handling of smooth integration between mobile and Internet networks with tomorrow's rich service environment. A new report from third generation mobile industry body the UMTS Forum explains the IMS concept, illustrating its vital role in the 3G end-user experience as well as the benefits it offers to mobile operators.
Titled "IMS Service Vision for 3G Markets" and available now from the UMTS Forum web site, the new report presents a compelling vision of IMS that includes interoperability between fixed and mobile IP networks that will further the possibility of a seamless end-user experience across services, networks and devices.
Seamless access to services
Examining the crucial role that services will play in the success of 3G, the report emphasises the importance of providing end-users with access to far richer multimedia services than are available today. IMS will help address this demand by delivering IP-based, real-time, person-to-person multimedia communications, integrating real-time person-to-person with non real-time person-to-machine, providing the ability for different services and applications to interact, and allowing the end user to easily set up multiple services in a single session.
For mobile operators, IMS provides the potential for interoperability of mobile and fixed networks and a strong service creation platform - factors that will play a vital role in enhancing differentiation of 3G services.
Driving new revenues
Migration towards IP-based multimedia services (IMS) presents the industry with a number of significant challenges, but its adoption will be essential in achieving 3G's predicted market opportunity over the next decade, advises the UMTS Forum.
UMTS Forum Chairman Dr. Bernd Eylert comments: "Operators and the mobile industry must consider the benefits of implementing IMS and how they can make mobile data services natural, intuitive, convenient and easy-to-use."
"For the mobile operator, IMS provides the potential for interoperability of mobile and fixed networks and a robust service creation platform", adds Eylert. "The UMTS Forum has forecast annual 3G service revenues to reach $322 billion in 2010 (see Forum reports 9, 13 and 17), but this potential will only be fully realised through timely implementation of IMS".
What Is IMS?
IMS ("IP Multimedia Subsystem") enables a vision of robust, high-value services that integrate multimedia activities and allow services to interact with each other, thus enhancing the natural, intuitive process of the end user, in whatever network they are operating, whether fixed, mobile, or roaming. The resultant integration and interaction of media types opens up new possibilities for far richer services than are available today.
At the heart of IMS is an IP-based transport mechanism for both real-time and non-real-time services, plus the introduction of a multimedia call model. The Third Generation Partnership Project (www.3GPP.org) and 3GPP2 have both selected the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF)'s Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) for multimedia call control.
- The ability to deliver person-to-person real-time IP-based multimedia communications (e.g. voice)
- The ability to fully integrate real-time with non-real-time multimedia and person-to-machine communications
- The ability for different services and applications to interact
- The ability for the user to very easily set up multiple services in a single session or multiple simultaneous synchronised sessions
IMS Service Vision for 3G Markets
UMTS Forum Report 20