Nortel partners for IMS presence technology

Nortel this week said it has partnered with Follwap, a developer of presence and instant messaging technology, to provide personalization, mobility and security for Nortel's IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) product portfolio.

Nortel will integrate and resell the Followap technology in its IMS-compliant product line. Nortel already includes and will continue to provide homegrown presence and IM capabilities within pre-IMS versions of its multimedia and communications server products, says Rob Scheible, director of product marketing in Nortel's IMS group.

Presence technology provides real-time information about the status of subscribers. This information can include a range of details from whether a device is on or off, through to more advanced information about users' availability, such as indicating whether they are driving or in a meeting. Presence can provide visibility on how best to communicate with other subscribers whether by text, voice or IM.

Conceived by the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), IMS is designed to deliver uninterrupted, seamless communications regardless of network, making it possible for interactive services such as IM, VOIP, push-to-talk and multimedia gaming to follow users in real-time as they roam across wireless, wireline or cable networks. As a component of IMS, presence technology enables networks to be intuitive, allowing users to specify their availability and willingness to communicate via the network and device of their choice.

As it stands today, however, IMS has been received coolly by analysts who say it is still immature and unproven.

Followap's Presence Platform, called iFollow PSP, incorporates the company's Presence Server and Group List Management Server (XDMS/GLMS). The products are designed to allow operators to "presence-enable" their existing services and design future IMS-based services.

The iFollow PSP collects and broadcasts in real-time subscribers' availability and willingness to communicate to other subscribers and services. Such status information is displayed and updated through the device's address book using Followap's XDMS/GLMS.

PSP will be integrated into Nortel's IMS Core solution, which is responsible for authenticating users and setting up IMS sessions using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). Once a session has been set up and user availability communicated through the iFollow PSP, data transfer will be handled by the appropriate media server or application, Nortel says.

Nortel's IMS solution supports 3GPP, 3GPP2, Packet Cable 2.0 and TISPAN standards. The company selected Followap after evaluating six vendors and engaging in trials with two of them, Scheible says.

Nortel has 18 trial deployments of IMS but has not announced any "pure" IMS contracts. Rival Lucent, meanwhile, claims to have 10 IMS wins.

Nortel does, however, have more than 100 carrier VOIP wins around the world, Scheible says, including those with Bell Canada, Cox Communications, Rogers Communications, SaskTel, Sprint, and Verizon.

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