According to a new study, fixed and mobile network operators will invest a total of $4 billion in service delivery platform (SDP) capital infrastructure over the next five years. This will yield a significant payoff, both in reduction of operating expenses for Intelligent Networks and IP networks, and in the creation of new revenue from IP-based services. Worldwide, ABI Research forecasts that operators will generate $49.6 billion in service revenue from IMS-enabled applications in 2011.
"Telecom networks are going through a period of profound change as they adopt service-oriented architecture and implement IT systems based on open standards," says ABI Research analyst Ian Cox. "This brings with it all the advantages of a vast range of new data services, beginning with click-to-dial but rapidly moving to rich voice sessions, all under the control of next generation service delivery platforms."
Cox further comments that "Progress is also being made on integrating network and Web-based services and developing secure and reliable charging solutions for complex user sessions. But additional work is needed to formalize the relationship between IMS, service delivery platforms and session border controllers."
For users, says Cox, SDP will allow many new services, including VoIP, to be offered over SIP-enabled networks. Each service—instant messaging, for example—can be used at the same time as another service because the user will be able to see the "presence" of another user. It also allows users to have a single device that can be used on both fixed and wireless networks.
For vendors, SDP will allow specialist firms to develop applications and equipment independently of each other, secure in the knowledge that they will work together and can be deployed by any service provider. SDP enables new services to be introduced quickly, tried and discarded if they are not popular. A single database holds all subscriber information, leading to lower operating costs for multiple services over multiple access technologies.