[via Paul Golding] Excerpts from a Q&A with Greg Papadapolous, CTO and Executive VP for Sun:

There aren’t many things in the telecom industry that are more transformative than IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS). IMS is network convergence at its best. We’re rapidly moving from a world optimized for voice to a world optimized for data. In the world of IMS, you’re able to dynamically co-mingle media types voice , video, data in a myriad of ways. This is what multimedia means the simultaneous existence of several media types. It doesn’t matter whether you want to talk, stream a video, instant message or email a picture, and by the way, do so simultaneously with two other callers. The network doesn’t care and neither do you. It’s just another data type. IMS is changing, irreversibly I suspect, the way in which we will communicate.

One big piece of IMS is the notion of session. It’s a way to provide call control and manage multimedia sessions over IP networks. Today when you make a phone call, a connection is established and torn down the instant you hang-up or attempt to do something else, like send an SMS or take a picture. There’s no ability to combine these services together. A few years ago, the Third Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) decided to adopt the IETF-defined Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) as the basis of a new session-control layer for 3G core networks. Choosing SIP was a significant decision that ultimately is going to have manifold implications in the telecom world. With SIP, operators can can combine services from the circuit-switched and packet-switched domains in the same session, and for sessions to be dynamically created ‘on the fly.’ Things like adding a video stream while on a voice call will become commonplace. The beauty of SIP is that it’s based on HTTP making it fairly easy to create new services. SIP service developers can use all the service frameworks developed for HTTP, such as CGI and Java servlets.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.