incorporate them into their own offerings. This standards-based service layer – ideally built on a pre-integrated SDP infrastructure – must be practical enough to be delivered rapidly and with minimal risk. It should leverage the networks, IT infrastructures, and skill sets that CSP organizations already have, and it must also provide a fast path to revenue that justifies the business case.
An effective services layer architecture cuts across multiple access networks within a SDP, building on existing services and pulling them together without actually merging or migrating them. The goal is to transform the SDP services layer with a converged service creation and execution environment before implementing IMS so that services are no longer network-specific, but rather are "network-agnostic" and able to fluidly traverse IP-based domains.
In addition, the services layer must draw upon the network capabilities, or service enablers, in the SDP – including presence, conferencing, location, subscription management, charging, logging, quality of service, policy enforcement, and security. Because these capabilities are not inherent to internet-based service providers, they are critical competitive differentiators for CSPs.
Enablers use a simple Java or Web services interface to make systems and services network-agnostic, providing CSPs with an easier way to manage services, reuse network components, and create more sophisticated, converged services than are currently available on the internet.
A well-defined enabler brings underlying network technology features and settings into a component that the CSP can tie into a service and deliver predictably. Enablers help stabilize application development by providing developers with a common way to use the capabilities of the component – regardless of which protocol extensions are in use. This enables migration at the network level and allows the CSP to carry out integration with existing and future network elements incrementally, without the wholesale replacement of silos.
Enablers that encapsulate commonly required capabilities allow operators to consolidate and share operational support system/business support system (OSS/BSS) functionality across multiple services. Consolidation across multiple networks and network technologies is critical for the convergence of wireless, wireline, and broadband networks. Having a unified view of the systems for identity management, charging, subscriber profiles, customer relationship management, and partner management makes migrating services across network technologies and vendors significantly more cost-effective than service-centric or silo-based approaches.
Further, CSPs must build IP-based services layers within their SDPs on open industry standards to make them more easily accessible to third party partners and external developers. The simpler the process, the quicker CSPs can deploy and generate revenue from new services. In addition to a standards-based service layer, CSPs must also embrace service-oriented architecture (SOA)