MultiService Forum riding off into the sunset

The 15-year-old MultiService Forum is calling it quits, saying demand for the type of large-scale interoperability events it conducted has declined.

In February, the MSF membership voted to dissolve the forum, which was founded in 1998 and conducted numerous interoperability events, testing equipment hosted in service provider labs and networked together on a global basis. Last year, the MSF conducted an RCS/VoLTE Interoperability event in partnership with GSMA and ETSI. Over the years, the MSF also provided realistic proof-of-concept testing for a string of other emerging technologies, including IP softswitches, IMS, LTE IPTV and IP interconnection.

However, the forum has found itself becoming less relevant. "With the growing maturity of multiservice network architectures, demand for interoperability events of this scale has declined. The industry focus is shifting toward smaller events that are already provided by many other forums," said the group.

"Interoperability testing will increasingly focus on specific markets or standards," said MSF Senior Fellow Jim McEachern,

"All groups have a beginning, productive period and an end. The board believes this is the appropriate time to close the MSF. Taking action now to dissolve the MSF protects its legacy and preserves the excellent work it has done. The MSF has chosen to end on a high note," said Kyu Ouk Lee, MSF president.

The group said feedback generated by its events was particularly valuable in the early stages of the transition from service-specific TDM networks to a multiservice IP network.

At its final meeting this week, the MSF published a white paper documenting the results of the final MSF IP-NNI (Network-Network Interface) interoperability event held in January of this year. 

The MSF will wrap up business in coming months. Its last contribution on behalf of the industry will be an award to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History for American Enterprise, an exhibition opening in 2015, exploring the history of business in America and featuring the critical role played by telecommunications. The exhibit is expected to remain on display for 20 years or more. 

For more:
- see this MSF release

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