Wednesday, January 31, 2007

IMS Forum Plugfest - Off to a Good Start

Between being at PTC and TMC the past two weeks, and my recent web hosting problems, it sometimes takes a while to get around to things, and I wanted to be sure to get a post out about this.

The IMS Forum held its first Plugfest January 15-19 at the U. of New Hampshire interop test lab. By all accounts, the event was a success, and their news release came out last week during the ITExpo. Other media coverage of the Plugfest can be found on their site as well.

This is the first of four Plugfests scheduled for 2007, so there's a bigger plan here. The idea is to build continuity and momentum around something that's much needed to move IMS forward - vendor interop. Plugfest was supported by some of the leading IMS advocates, including Sonus, Tekelec, Tektronix, Empirix, Ditech and Trendium.

With all the talk around FMC, this event formed a test bed to actually demonstrate the handoff of traffic among wireless, wireline and cable networks. The IMS Forum is focused mainly on applications than architecture, so there were a number of real world scenarios tested, namely dual-mode, WiFi, IP Centrex, Presence and Instant Messaging.

Having moderated an IMS session at the ITExpo, I can tell you that nobody has a good fix on this. We all know about the promise from the vendors and the pushback from the carriers. I look at this as a long term process where two opposing forces will go through various stages of denial, and eventually acceptance. Blogging colleague Russell Shaw was on this roundtable, and posted his thoughts the other day, and you can get his take on this state of affairs there. I guess patience is the watchword with IMS.

Patience is a good virtue, but vendors don't have all day. And, frankly, neither will carriers, especially once subscribers start demanding the types of services that only IMS can deliver. So, let's just hope that IMS Forum is on the right track here with their Plugfest. I think they are.

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