Today, most of the IMS deployments start with the implementation of a VoIP service. Even incumbent telcos now consider it as an opportunity as their marketshare in the overall VoIP market increases sharply. At the same time, beyond voice, a plethora of Over the Top (OTT) services are available on the Internet, challenging telcos' position in the value chain. Most of these services are delivered on a best effort basis, opening an opportunity for telcos to offer control-based applications and enhanced features. Huawei IMS proposes a wide portfolio of applications that mix the best of both worlds: IP flexibility for rich features and fast innovation, and carrier-class service level for customer's satisfaction.
Efficient services for the business users
Even if corporate and Small and Medium Business (SMB) markets only generate an average 10% to 15% of the overall telcos revenue, they generally contribute up to 50% to their profits. Keeping those customers happy and upselling them is strategically important. To achieve that, telcos must answer the strong demand coming from the business market for services that improve the work efficiency. Delivering converged communications is part of the answer and is also a way for telcos to lock in these customers by providing services that cover fixed, mobile and broadband access networks. The following services are the one generally rolled out during the first phase of the IMS implementations worldwide.
Convergent IP Centrex
Business users care about being easily reachable whenever and wherever they are. With a convergent private numbering plan and flexible call forwarding rules, Convergent IP Centrex is one of the Huawei IMS services that best match the needs of the business users. It gathers fixed lines, PBX–even TDM based PBX–mobile phones and soft phones into groups with on-net tariffs. A web console is provided to corporate customers to manage their own Centrex service including their numbering plans, their corporate ring-back-tones or their call forwarding rules. Convergent IP Centrex also provides open interfaces (APIs) to connect with the corporate IT applications enabling rich features, such as voicemail-to-email or click-to-dial, which enhance productivity.
The business case for Convergent IP Centrex is simple: in Huawei IMS portfolio, the convergent IP Centrex application server is embedded into the voice application server (ATS 9900) which means that telcos that have already invested in Huawei IMS voice do not have to re-invest in any hardware or network adaptation for Centrex; only additional licenses are required. From a revenue standpoint, Convergent IP Centrex can be sold by telcos to their corporate and SMB customers as an upgraded version of the existing Centrex offers–if any–thanks to the innovative features.
Device recycling and refurbishing, energy consumption… Telcos are challenged today on their ability to be "environmentally friendly". Conferencing is becoming a must-have in the telcos' portfolio to help them position themselves as "green", that reduces the cost of unnecessary travel for their business customers.
Huawei HD Conference brings both a high definition image (1920×1080p) and a CD quality sound for face-to-face meeting feeling. And thanks to IMS, it also provides an open environment for workers who can not attend the meeting at a specific location: Huawei HD Conference gathers into one conference not only attendees in dedicated conferencing rooms, but also home workers with soft clients and mobile users. No proprietary network is required. This solution re-uses the existing infrastructure. A web interface is used to easily set up a conference, invite, mute or manage attendees. From an implementation standpoint, Huawei HD Conference requires a specific application server on top of the IMS core and specific media controllers that can be located in the customers' premises. From a revenue standpoint, two business models can be proposed by telcos: leasing dedicated conference ports for heavy corporate users or scheduling on a pay-as-you-use basis for lighter SMB users.
eSpaceTM is a unified communication solution based on a downloadable soft client. eSpaceTM is linked to the mobile or fixed subscription through the phone number (one number). When eSpaceTM runs on the PC, the phone and the soft client both work simultaneously to make and receive phone calls. Beyond telephony, eSpaceTM enables business users to set up video calls, send email or short messages and find their colleagues through the interface with the company address book. eSpaceTM is also an efficient solution for travelers who want to cut their roaming expenses as calls can be made as soon as the PC is connected to the Internet. This can be seen as a double-edge sword by telcos, but taking into account the alternatives that exist on the Internet today, eSpaceTM is the solution for them to leverage their key asset–the phone number–as an ID. eSpaceTM can be adopted by telcos as a free of charge anti-churn option on top of the voice subscription. The additional revenue will be generated by the traffic initiated from the soft client.
Entertaining services at home, easy to use services outside
Most of the telcos that are currently rolling out IMS services start with the enterprise applications described above. However, the consumer market, especially the high-end consumer market also requires cutting-edge services that make life more entertaining at home and easier on the go. For these customers, the availability of the services on the 3 screens (mobile, PC and TV) becomes a key success factor, especially if a consistent and seamless service continuity can be provided across the different access networks.
To answer that requirement, Huawei IMS provides a wide range of applications.
IMS based IPTV
At home, beyond voice communications and broadcast TV, end users require personalized and interactive services. Huawei IMS based IPTV is a highly interactive solution that blends TV and communication services, and opens up new business opportunities such as video telephony, e-commerce or voting on TV.
Thanks to the IMS core, the service is available on any access network, on the 3 screens and can be seamlessly handed over from one device to another. A video on demand (VOD) stream can therefore be transferred from the TV to the mobile phone. As another IMS benefit, the application allows to blend access networks for multimedia call: using fixed or mobile phone for voice, and STB/TV screen for video. It also supports channel recommendation, messaging and caller-ID display on TV. Based on the USC, the centralized user database information, content services such as the VOD portal can be personalized for each user in order to increase sales.
Huawei IMS based IPTV is the solution to make TV truly interactive. The business case for IMS based IPTV relies both on ARPU increase thanks to additional high value-added personalized features plus on churn decrease thanks to the 3 screen strategy.
On the go, ease of use is a strong requirement for services on mobile phones or on laptops. Rich communications solutions (RCS) are emerging and Huawei strongly supports the RCS initiative with a specific focus on the release 2.0 and beyond which will bring stronger value to the end users' devices. In this environment, Huawei IMS developed One Key, which is an application that puts the phone into a soft client running on a USB dongle. Keeping one number is the main feature of One Key as the soft client is linked to the phone number. Any connected PC can therefore become an extension of the fixed or of the mobile phone, including when traveling abroad.
For mobile operators, One Key brings an enhanced user experience as the USB dongle is embedded with data connectivity, a SIM card which enables a transparent authentication and a synchronized access to the address book. As for its corporate equivalent eSpaceTM, the business case for One Key is based on loyalty and additional traffic generated from the soft client.
All the services described here are based on applications servers that can be easily plugged on top of an IMS core through a standard SIP/ISC interface. Huawei strongly believes that interoperability will be a key success factor in the rapid adoption of IMS and highly emphasizes it in its R&D efforts; recently, Huawei IMS core and IMS services have been ranked number one for IOT by several Tier-1 telcos and standardization bodies' tests. A standard interface drastically reduces the time to market and the development costs especially when telcos plan to launch their services on the 3 screens simultaneously. Once implemented, the IMS based services generally deliver higher ARPU and less churn thanks to their improved user experience and convergent features.