Pipeline Publishing, Volume 5, Issue 6
This Month's Issue:
IMS: the Way to True Convergence?
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The New Promise: The Path to IMS
from a Service Fulfillment Perspective

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end users will ultimately have the freedom to communicate and interact with the rest of the world and utilize enhanced service offerings, regardless of the type of device that they are using or the networks that they are subscribed to. The IMS infrastructure simplifies the usability and accessibility of these enhanced services, but it is not living up to this promise today.

The Path to the Promise of IMS – How Are We Going to Get There?

It is now possible to deliver IMS-like capabilities while waiting for IMS to mature and become truly available.

Currently, the carrier world looks to product and service catalogs for information about product offerings. The product catalog provides the commercial product offerings available to the consumer and links to the specific services defined in the service catalog that form the product offering. This information is then passed on to a variety of OSS (inventory, activation, etc.) for implementation. Generally, these catalogs are not well integrated and synchronized and are lacking any information regarding the network.

The disconnect with the IMS promise is that it simply did not go far enough to reach the end-user.


user enters a request for what they are looking for. This is provided to an "agent." The agent will go to the network or other sources, locate the recording, and provide the end user with options on the quality, timeliness, and location of the recording they would like to receive. Examples of such options include high-definition (HD) or "normal" definition, streaming it to a mobile device, or downloading it to their laptop or home PVR for viewing later in one hour or even six hours. The customer specifies the options, the content is delivered as required over the network, and the customer is billed. To deliver the content as requested, the network must be provisioned to provide the necessary bandwidth to handle the data transfer to meet the required service level.

In order for this agent to work, there has to be a product catalog, service catalog, and network catalog, within an IMS or IMS-like system. At best, today we have the product catalog and it is not seamlessly aligned with

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A network catalog is required to optimize the delivery of the products and services to the customer. The network catalog identifies specific network capabilities, understands the specific network requirements to provide a service, validates the network resource availability, and, ultimately, implements any required configuration to deliver the service as desired. The network catalog must be dynamic, incorporating additional network resources, topology, configuration, and capacity changes as they are made in the network.

To illustrate this concept, imagine an end-user would like to find a recording of a past sporting event and download it. First, the

the service catalog. There also needs to be a logical layer on top of the network that identifies what resources are available at any point in time and is the network interface, the network catalog.

An IMS-like architecture requires rapid service introduction and provisioning, and connectivity from the point of origin to any user device. This means the ability to dynamically create service components that can be combined to create product/service offerings regardless of the network. Most operators have a service catalog that identifies the services that are available. Others may also have a product catalog that automates the process of distributing product changes across catalogs

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