3GSM Wrap-Up: IMS and FWC
Two topics that came up a lot on the Riviera were IP Multimedia Subsystem and its cousin, Fixed-Mobile Convergence. IMS is a new layer that will be inserted into networks as they migrate to 3G which blurs the lines between a voice call and a data call. Essentially, IMS makes them all look the same, as IP-based traffic across a data network. With IMS, the silos that have separated PTT, voice, MMS, email, etc. will merge together, as an IP-based session can start with a PTT call, and morph into sending a picture or live video, and then morph into voice. With IMS, it doesn't matter what kind of content a conversation contains, since it's all just IP based data packets. The reason FMC is a cousin, is because with IMS, the lines between mobile, and fixed broadband also blur, as do the lines between a handset and a PC. Phones using IMS could just as easily do PTT or send video to a PC as they could to another phone. At the show, O2 discussed that IMS was now a current top priority, while Ericsson announced IMS deployments at TeliaSonera, TIM, and 23 other carriers. FWC: the IMS developments lead directly into the FWC progress, since when data networks all become all-IP, it matters little whether data originates or terminates on a DSL PC, a mobile phone, a car-based system, or anything else. All that matters is that both end devices have client applications that speak the same language, like SIP, .mp3, etc. With FWC, for example, a user's phone calls could follow them between mobile and fixed phones, and they could access their data services whether at home or mobile.