Summary of IMS World Forum 2014

It was a funny old IMS World Forum, I found it both uplifting and depressing. Uplifting in the presentations from SK Telecom, Rogers, and Orange as they took control of their future and are delivering business results on service innovation. But also depressing as the telco standards people continue to delude themselves on OneAPI, RCS, and the standards mess they’ve created. How they can claim, “just wait one more year” without a hint of embarrassment is shocking, they have no shame.

In the discussions through the event its clear we’ve reached an inflection point. IMS is now consider just one of a number of control platforms, as we discussed in the pre-conference workshop. Thomas Magedanz from FOKUS highlighted this in his presentation, and several of the panel discussions explored this changed. Below, I show a presentation with some of the highlights from the event and is summarized in this weblog.

SK Telecom provided a good update on its VoLTE deployment, and the importance and challenges of interop. Most Telco have yet to face this issue, and the institutions that should have focused on interop have spent their time working on pointless internal interface standardization that simply does not matter.

HKT shared its plans to deploy VoLTE and had a good review of the challenges across complexity, different interpretations of the overly complex standards, and the vast load of testing required.

Huawei have a fun video on the services enabled with LTE, see the video at the end of this weblog.  Their summary of the issues on VoLTE deployment was good across: simplify, APIs and cloud.

I pick on one of Dan Warren’s slide (which was a great presentation) on the increasingly false assumption on the power of the ‘green button.’  Its generally not the green button, it’s increasingly a click on something else to get in touch with people / brands / services not in your social circles. The power of interconnect is waning from a P2P (person to person) perspective, from an A2P (application to person) perspective it remains important.  This is a subtle but critical point on where for focus service innovation.

A popular theme is “WebRTC extends IMS,” which is true but ignores the importance of focusing on incremental revenues with new customer value and new experiences.

T-Mobile had a nice slide that summarizes the real-world complexity we’re seeing in IMS deployments.

The Rogers One Number update showed continued success, and they are adding RCS features, not evolving to RCS, which is a common theme across many telcos that have taken control of their future.  Though the RCS-bigots claim the services are becoming RCS, look at the slides presented, you can see that is not the case.

The results from a live survey highlighted some of the popular assumptions in the industry, but also the changes in thinking that RCS is simply a capability exposed through APIs not a service, hence most of the Joyn work was wasted.

Patrice from Bouygues gave a good review of their experiences with WebRTC, I differ on IMS being a good platform for WebRTC, it is one of the control platforms, but telcos will need multiple platforms as discussed by Thomas from FOKUS.  For example, video will be better served on a web-centric platform than IMS.  M2M, smart city, web-centric communications, etc. will likely be better served on non-IMS platforms.

There were many great slides on Orange Libon and its success, and the RCS capabilities it is adopting. But its much more than RCS. Libon is a template for telcos to copy. The standards people claim Libon is evolving to RCS, this is incorrect and more evidence of their delusion, Libon is adopting some of the capabilities for interop, but if the number of users remains small and engagement almost nonexistent, then the value of those RCS capabilities will be negligible to most customers.

Thomas from FOKUS had an important slide on multiple control platforms, IMS is just one of a number.

Stephen Sale had some critical results on app usage and how Libon has engaged some customers while RCS remains unused. Seriously, how much more evidence do we need to stop the industry ‘waiting’ on RCS as its next generation communications client, copy Libon, SK Telecom, Rogers – take control of your destiny!

And finally there was a nice WebRTC status update from Victor Pascual.