IMS - Everything You Wanted To Know But Were Afraid To Ask

UK-based Moriana Group has just published an extensive report on IMS, and has been in the works for some time. I know there is overkill on IMS these days, but this is worth a look, and I'll explain why below.

I don't normally post about market studies, but I've got a good reason this time. For those of you who do not know Moriana, they operate on a very different model, and their reports are available for free. It takes a moment to register on their website, and from there you can download PDF files in various formats and pieces.

Mac Taylor has been running Moriana since 2000, and has built a nice track record with other reports using this format - you can see for yourself on the website.

I should also explain this is different from the standard industry studies that focus on market size, market share, etc. The title should explain why - "An Operator Guidebook to IMS". It's quite long and covers much more than the market basics.

The report has numerous sections that stand alone nicely, and here is a basic outline of the contents:

- Section A - Moriana Group's overall conclusions and summary of the research, along with an overview of the IMS architecture
- Section B - vendor analysis
- Section C - resource list of IMS applications
- Section D - IMS white papers from various industry sources
- Section E - Vendor profiles
- Section F - Detailed descriptions of IMS solutions

If you really want the lay of the land with IMS, this is a great one-stop shop, and the best part is you won't have to spend any money!

I've only reviewed the exec summary so far, and here are the key takeaways for me.

1. We're not there yet with IMS, and the long term value proposition may not be that great. Mac notes that Capex/Opex savings and ROIs will be less than what is being touted now. Furthermore, mobile carriers don't need IMS to do most of what they do today, even with 2.5G. Good examples cited are SMS and push to talk.

2. IMS features such as IM and presence only work within IMS networks. Most of the mobile world doesn't work this way, so it doesn't address issues relevant to the majority of end users.

3. Legacy networks will be with us for a while, and IMS is a long term play. Mac notes that it took 10 years for GSM and CDMA to reach wide adoption, and these standards will not be easily displaced.

4. IMS is an expensive, unproven proposition, and new alternatives continue to emerge that cost very little and are adopted very quickly. The usual suspects are cited - Skype, Yahoo IM, etc. It's early in the game yet, but IMS is not THE answer.

5. Distinctly different visions exist within the IP world about whether IMS is a good thing or a bad thing. The SIP purists view IMS as running contrary to their bedrock principals of Net freedoms and decentralized architectures. They believe IMS puts network control back in the hands of the operators, and will kill innovation and lead to less choice for subscribers. I certainly know a few people who feel very strongly about this - right Jeff? Right, Henry?