FierceWireless is coming to you live today from our IMS Executive Summit in downtown Washington D.C. Day 1 has opened with an inspiring and exhaustive overview of the sectors that IMS will bridge, followed by a riveting first panel session covering the business case for the converged network scheme. Former Yankee Group executive Rob Rich kicked things off with best practices for implemention IMS. According to Rich, five percent of service providers worldwide will implement IMS network schemes by 2007. Rich also stressed one major advantage IMS will bring to a carrier's quiver is a single point of control for collecting user/subscriber data, much like Google Adsense, only across all all platforms.
During the first breakout session: Business Case for IMS, Apertio's Stuart Jones, Hewlett-Packard's Chief Technologist David Croslin, Cox Communication's Mark Kaish, Alcatel's director of strategic solutions John Love and Nortel's Rob Scheible talked about the all-important "killer apps" of IMS. Not surprisingly, none of the panelists would reveal their picks for killer apps, because as Croslin noted "If I knew what the killer app of IMS was going to be, I wouldn't tell you--I'd quit my job and start the company to develop it." Kaish agreed with Croslin, but may have let his hand show when he made the joke "You start talking about presence at a focus group, and they think you're talking about Christmas." Apertio's Jones may have had the right answer, he explained that the true killer functionality that IMS enables is that it lets network operators roll out dozens of applications quickly, so they can test out new apps sift around for a killer one and throw out whatever doesn't work. The all-important spaghetti against the wall metaphor: Keep what sticks.
Jones also noted a recent report found over 25 percent of the data in a carrier's network today is duplicated in more than two databases throughout the network. IMS aims to streamline that information, which is surely another killer functionality for the network scheme.
The breakout session ended with a lively Q&A, which closed with brief definitions and comparisons between IMS and fixed-mobile convergence (FMC). Croslin mused that "IMS is an architecture that allows you to do FMC, FMC is a pre-IMS acronym... which basically comes down to 'I'm going to hook it together with any wire I can find' whereas IMS is much more organized." Nortel's Scheible defined FMC as the ability to roam over converged fixed and mobile networks and the killer app of FMC is to not lose that signal when you switch over to your desk phone from your mobile. Jones echoed a theme many had offered during the session--FMC and IMS enables "one common identity for the end user, regardless of devices or platform, but he will maintain a common subscriber identity wherever and whenever." More coverage of the show tomorrow, stay tuned. -Brian