Pipeline Publishing, Volume 5, Issue 6
This Month's Issue:
IMS: the Way to True Convergence?
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Milestones on the Way to IMS
IMS Isn't Necessary...Yet

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and setting up connectivity and QoS. Something else needs to tell IMS what to do and whether or not to do it.

Policies, permissions, and rules govern the execution of real-time service fulfillment processes. These are impacted by accounting checks; parental controls; privacy factors; the ability of the network and devices in a transaction to do what the user wants; and security authorization and authentication steps that limit or allow access to certain types of information, transactions, or content. Real-time service fulfillment systems are needed to stage all of the information that determines the "yes" or "no" decisions that make up an executable chain in a fulfillment process. IMS needs that information to function.

Currently, all of that information lives in back-end systems, is constantly changing, and isn't always accurate – which was our initial problem. The related problem is that all of the necessary information isn't accessible online or in a common format. Some SOA

If IMS is going to deliver personalized advertisements, promotions, and information to users, then it needs to operate off of a common customer profile.


shopping mall, interactive advertisements call out to him by name and holograms jump out to greet him, offering help and asking him how he liked the sweater he'd bought. What the movie wizards left out was the ability for Tom to say "shut up," or "go away" or more politely "thanks, but I'm not interested." This would be an intuitive means of setting user preferences, which will be critical as advertising becomes more personalized.

The cable industry is already moving to a near-term vision of this sort of interaction. Their idea is to drive advertisements and applications to subscribers based on their usage and potentially on their preferences. It makes sense to let people tailor their experience so that the stock ticker shows

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projects are attempting to identify this kind of critical information, standardize it, and make it accessible in real time, but these are by no means mature efforts across the entire industry.

Leaders like BT are showing that SOA programs can succeed, but not every CSP is on the SOA bandwagon and of those that are, not all are using the technology for this purpose. Most are using it as another means of creating point-to-point integrations, which will likely replicate the inflexibility problems that already exist in many large, integrated IT environments.

Customer Profiles and Preferences

The movie Minority Report shows us a vision of where personalized advertising might be headed. As Tom Cruise runs through a

their portfolio and the weather and traffic overlay relate to their location. It also makes sense to offer people things they might actually want to buy, rather than broadcasting anything and everything to them. DVR uptake has shown that many people prefer to avoid commercial interruptions, but the Internet has demonstrated that "if you like this, you'll love this" advertising can work.

If IMS is going to deliver personalized advertisements, promotions, and information to users, then it needs to operate off of a common customer profile. The profile needs to tell the signaling layer where the user is; what device he or she is using; what he or she is viewing or doing at the time; what his or her preferences are; and summarized information about the user's viewing history. For instance, a male subscriber's profile might indicate that he's a documentary and sports nut who likes James Bond and Western films.

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