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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This information would be collected from a variety of places, such as the network, customer care portals, set-top boxes, mobile devices, and billing systems. It would have to be 100 percent accurate and also accessible in real time. The SCTE 130 specification is laying the groundwork for a subscriber information system (SIS) that would provide this kind of functionality, but only within the cable TV domain for now.

Payment Systems and Billing Transparency

Payment systems will represent a key integration point in enabling service ubiquity. Credit cards have already merged with landline, mobile, and Internet services, but not yet in a way that makes every transaction seamless. Retailers are beginning to provide mobile Internet experiences, promotions, and payments through the wireless channel. Interactive TV is close behind. But integrating these services, delivering the "I've been here before" functionality sites like eBay provide, and ensuring privacy across service domains still needs to be accomplished.

This makes sure your mobile phone doesn't accidentally buy a Ferrari.


mobile phone doesn't accidentally buy a Ferrari. Delivering an advice of charge message and the charge amount to a user presents another fulfillment process. It will require real-time fulfillment of information from the correct system to the user in the correct format, and may incorporate personalized upsale offers.

Beyond protecting the user from himself, an open mobile payments environment creates new opportunities for crooks to steal identities and account information. Transactions need to be transparent in order to help customers protect themselves and security must be in place to separate the user from personal information. A PayPal-like payments model—where the authentication process is integrated into the fulfillment chain, but the user can choose from multiple payment options through a unified identity—will be an integral component of

New requirements for billing transparency will come along with integrated payments. Though CSPs are often removing usage detail from bills, it doesn't work for credit cards. People won't use the payment channel if they don't feel they can control it, so billing must continue to provide detail. This detail likely will include location and presence or status information.

Security and Privacy

Advice of charge will also be necessary, as it is on the Internet, as part of the payment authorization process. This makes sure your

service ubiquity. The authentication processes around it will need to be unbreakable.

Creating A Place for IMS

Asking whether IMS is necessary is like asking Charles Lindbergh whether he wants to fly United or American to Paris. It is necessary for the industry to think about how it will solve some big challenges when its future catches up with it. We're in the early stages of this emerging, and financially promising service model, but that's usually when the hardest work is yet to be done.

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