Saturday, April 11, 2009

Who reads The IMS Lantern?

As a complement to my latest post on IMS deployments, I think that an analysis of the audience of The IMS Lantern can provide interesting insights about the IMS community all over the world.

Since June 2007, this blog generated over 41,000 visits from 132 countries.

Worldwide audience

From a continental perspective, Europe accounts for half of the traffic and generated more than twice as many visits as the Americas and Asia, which are head to head.

However, the USA are, by a large margin, the country which tops the others in terms of traffic.

Here are the top 20 countries:
1. United States

2. France

3. India

4. Germany

5. United Kingdom

6. Sweden

7. Canada

8. Spain

9. South Korea

10. Switzerland

11. Italy

12. Netherlands

13. Japan

14. Slovenia

15. Israel

16. China

17. Singapore

18. Taiwan

19. Austria


Visits come from three main types of companies:

- Big network equipment vendors including those leading on the IMS market, but not only.
- Operators, mainly from the USA, Canada, France, Spain, Germany, South Korea, Japan and Australia.
- Application service suppliers, with a huge domination from India.

However, a significant part of the traffic is also generated by smaller vendors providing equipments, services or OSS/BSS systems, by suppliers of service platforms, and by research centers, engineering schools and universities.

Subjects of interest

Visitors are mainly interested in posts describing technical details about the IMS service architecture, IMS identities, the SCIM, and IMS data management. This may hint at a deficiency in the way the literature, courses and IMS specifications address these topics.

Just behind come posts dedicated to the innovative features of SIP and the IMS service architecture, like the User Oriented Architecture (UOA), fixed mobile convergence, multimedia SIP sessions and CPM, and the various service patterns I had the opportunity to describe. I am personally very happy to see that CPM, which is by far the most ambitious IMS standardization initiative, attracts a lot of curiosity and is often entered as a keyword in search engines. Moreover, the post dedicated to it is the one visitors spend the most time on. Another source of more personal satisfaction is to see that the concept of User Oriented Architecture that I associated to the IMS has started to spread outside of the blog, even if it is far from having reached mainstream acceptance yet.

The IMS Lantern therefore seems to be accessed as both an educational and thought-provoking resource on the IMS.

Sources of traffic

Visits mainly come from search engines with IMS-related queries and from people who regularly visit the blog or get notified about new posts.

A smaller portion of the traffic comes from links on other sites (mainly blogs addressing telecom or technological topics). I have done very little to advertise The IMS Lantern on the Internet, but do not hesitate to link to it if you have the opportunity to do so.


Does The IMS Lantern have an influence on the work of some people or companies in the industry?

I know from direct contacts and some references visible on the Internet that The IMS Lantern has influenced research activities, the writing of theses, articles and even a book that will be published in the coming months.

It is a great source of motivation for me to learn that others can benefit from what I am writing and I have no problem with the reuse of ideas and information I am providing through this blog. So don't be shy: if this blog has a direct or indirect influence on what you are doing, just let me know.


Nightcrawl said...

Hi Christophe.

I've discovered "The IMS Lantern" when "googling" in my Master Degree study about IMS/GSM messaging interworking.

I confess that I'm very excited about the standardization around CPM, and awaiting advances in the matter.

Filipe ;)

Anonymous said...

Great going. All the best. This is a great blog..i have always enjoyed it.

I would love to see a post on border controllers..especially the I-BCF..and what took 3GPP so long in incorporating it formally as part of its architecture. With the introduction of I-BCF, I believe, that the I-CSCF has been reduced to a very light-weight rudimentary node.


Hasan said...

Thanks for the informative post/list

I was wondering that given there are so many IMS deployments then why don't we see any roles/jobs on offer for people related to IMS/CSCF etc ?

Just search for ims on any job site and you won't find much whereas the job market for R4 expertise is booming

Sachin Parnami said...


Tell you frankly i am rookie in terms of IMS, but i must say the explanation i have observed here helps me a lot, Great work ;)

Sachin Parnami

Christophe Gourraud said...

Hi Hasan,

Good question.

Many IMS deployments are ongoing and there might be a delay for actual demands for associated expertise, as many operators initially rely on their suppliers to get things work.

After all, operators started to deploy R4 earlier, and as you are stating, the job market for it is now booming.


Christophe Gourraud said...

To whitelassiblog,

I try to write on issues for which I think I can say something at least a little bit original, and I think many people can write better things on I-BCFs as I would.

It is true that 3GPP was very late at introducing I-BCFs in the architecture.

Potential reasons:
- The IMS core network was specified before the advent of I-BCFs.
- Initial specifications lacked a grasp at reality (see for instance the initial statement that IPv6 was mandatory for IMS)
- Reality checks came essentially from ETSI TISPAN requirements related to VoIP.

As you are implying, the I-CSCF initially had features that are now associated to the I-BCF, like topology hiding. It is true that the I-CSCF is the most lightweight CSCF in the network. However, it is important to keep in mind that all CSCFs are complementary to each other and an IMS core network cannot make the economy of any.


Anonymous said...

Just an other question:

How do you see IMS reshaping the telco vendor market?

The core network market today is monopolized by NSN/Ericsson/ALU/Huawei and given the amount of R&D and investment involved it seems almost impossible for a newcomer to compete with these vendors in R99/R4 domain

But wil IMS it will be different story, you won't necessarily need dedicated hardware, no E1/T1 terminations, just a high end server and you can fire up your CSCF over it. There are already time tested Open source implementations of SIP stack you just need to tailor them to your needs and any good software company would be able to do that.

So do you think that IMS will in a way end the monopoly of big vendors from Telecom Core ? Will the vendors allow that to happen?

Christophe Gourraud said...

This is an excellent question.

I may be wrong, but I think that CSCFs are likely to remain under the control of the big telco vendors. These entities are highly standardized, heavy duty and fairly complex, not necessarily the optimal mix for a new entrant. Moreover, operators may be reluctant to purchase these essential nodes from smaller companies, which may not have the workforce and global presence to fix problems.

More generic components, like SBCs, are already dominated by smaller companies partnering with the big ones.

The HSS might be a special animal. As a database, it could eventually be delivered at least partly by other companies, more especially in a multi-tiered architecture as proposed by some vendors (see my May 2007 post on user data). However, this would require standardization of such an architecture, and for this the unlikely good will of big vendors.

On the other hand, the whole IMS application layer (extended to MRFs) might eventually be lost for the big telco vendors, as services become more and more advanced IT applications developed on standard Java platforms like J2EE.

I think that the application layer will be (is already) the real battle ground, more especially as this is there that innovation (i.e. money) is expected, while the highly standardized core network will be a commodity.


Anonymous said...

IMS application layer? you mean Application Servers ?

I am not able to comprehend that other then offering some extra features ( prepaid billing, call park, custom dial plans etc) for voice calls what else can we expect from Application servers as essentially AS is going to talk with CSCF in SIP and SIP is protocol designed for VoIP calls

Christophe Gourraud said...

Yes, I meant "application servers" in the "application layer".

I would advise you to look at the index and read posts dedicated to SIP.

They try to explain the great potential of this protocol and to correct common misconceptions in the industry, around the two following statements:

1) The concept of SIP session cannot be limited to VoIP. It is much much richer.

2) SIP itself cannot be limited to SIP sessions. The concept of event packages may be nearly as important and extends the application of SIP further into the data area.


Raka said...


Greeting from Mexico :)

I also read IMS Lantern. I'm also writing about IMS on VoIP (SIP, mobile) focused blog. In fact, I'm making a video series on SIP-servlet based application development.

Actually I'm quite skeptical about IMS, but probably that's just because of my ignorance.

By reading IMS lantern I hope I can learn more about the trend (techology and business-wise), and maybe can pick some ideas for the services I can develop for IMS.

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