The IMS World Forum – launchpad for telco innovation

Written by on April 26, 2017 in Opinion with 0 Comments

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Jan Rijk Vonk is Director of Innovation Strategy at KPN, and is a speaker at the forthcoming IMS World Forum, 23-24 May in Madrid.

What we wanted to know is why IMS seems suddenly to have come of age, and gone mainstream. “It is as simple as the fact that legacy systems are not flexible, they are not software based. Now that networks are increasingly software defined, we can take advantage of the flexibility of IMS” says Vonk.

IMS has been a ‘thing’ for 15 years or so. Indeed, when it first emerged, the Global Billing Association did a quick survey of operators. ‘Is IMS in your strategic plan’ we asked. The reply was ‘yes, but we have no idea why’.

Now it is becoming very clear why. “The OTT players are forcing us to move” says Vonk. “Also, 10 years ago when the promise of IMS was identified, we were running a high margin, safe business. Now margins are much thinner and we need it to keep up, to work with the OTT players”.

“OTT players are providing APIs on which you can build your own products, and that is exactly what we need to be doing. All the new players are using APIs – Uber is using Twillio, for example, so is AirBnB”.

“The point is that the new players need us because we can provide 99.9% uptime. Interestingly, wee are seeing that SMS is on the rise again because it is more reliable for alerts. 99.5% uptime is not reliable enough for many applications. iMessage is not that reliable, and interestingly Google is going in the other directions by buying Jibe, and using RCS. They can start providing SMS, enriched SMS, and offer it as if it were a Google service”.

IMS is a foundation of innovation and Vonk firmly believes that the most interesting propositions will come from OTT players and telcos combined. “ We have just started and are building some applications already. Once we see the outcomes of the initial projects, then we can roll out innovative B2B services. Our goal is ‘Open Telco’ or ‘Open Innovation’ if you like”.

“If you are working with large corporates to modernise their systems, the cost of integration drops,” says Vonk. “It becomes a wholesale game. Now you have Open Source IMS, you can, for instance, become an MVNO. Instantly. And the cost of entry drops, dramatically”.

IMS is a solution that proves that a new technology takes 10 years to become real. “Even three years ago the use cases were not really there. Now it enables many things, and we believe that the development community can make you grow faster than you can by yourself”.

Judging by Vonk’s excitement, the IMS World Forum is going to be a great event.

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Alex Leslie

About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .

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