Some of your business focuses around numbering. What happens when users dial by username rather than a number in the future? What do you foresee you role in those scenarios?
A dialed address whether a series of numeric digits or a qualified name involves very similar processing. They both have rules associated with them that deal with uniqueness and appropriate lengths as well as mappings between the customer address and the routing within the networks to connect that call. A move to alphanumeric identifiers will however present challenges as it is likely that customers will want to be able to assign abbreviated versions of their contacts that will be accessible across a range of domains and to be able to search for contacts based on limited information that they have about them. The various strategies by which these will be tackled are still in early stages and Evolving Systems will continue to track these initiatives as they move forward.
Just like service providers typically charge higher tariff for a vanity number, can you make a business out of selling a vanity username in the future?
The major difference between a vanity number and username is within the complexity of identifying and tracking what are appropriate vanity usernames and ensuring that trademark owners do not have their rights infringed. Evolving Systems current products help enable network operators to differentially charge for vanity numbers and we certainly foresee those operators wishing to continue to monetize desirable identifiers in future.
The type of products you sell requires a lot of customization. Does that have an impact on the scalability of your business model?
Our solutions are highly scalable. Comcast the largest broadband and cable provider in the US uses our solution to handle number management and number portability requirements. Our products do require customization but we use project management tools to assist the process.
Your Dynamic SIM Allocation solution reduces the need to pre-activate SIM cards which can be an attractive proposition. But what quantum of SIM cards would a company have to transact in, in order to cover the cost of investing in this solution?
Any provider with a healthy proportion of pre-paid subscribers would qualify to use our dynamic SIM allocation solution. In Panama, which has a population of 3 million, how many would you expect to have wireless connections â€“ maybe one million? This number too, would be divided over several market players. We have a client there and have also installed our solution for Telefonica in Mexico. Iâ€™d say our solution would even be attractive to a provider with as few as 500,000 subscribers. On the other hand, MTN has 16 million subscribers.
You deal with wireless carriers a lot. How far have they progressed in implementing IMS? And what implications does IMS have for a vendor such as Evolving?
IMS presents both a challenge and an opportunity to both network operators and Evolving Systems. We have seen several of our customers embark on IMS projects utilizing Evolving Systems products and expertise but as of yet these tend to be limited in scope.
For mobile VoIP, some of the mobile operators are mapping the IMSI and MSISDN identities to maintain the same number across the IP and GSM clouds. Does your solution have a potential role to play in such implementations?
Dynamic SIM Allocation can take inputs from many sources to decide on which identities are most appropriate for a customer - this may include using as much as possible of an identifier from another domain within which a customer already has a subscription. Once identifiers are allocated then these may be communicated to other OSS/BSS systems within a customer to ensure that subsequent subscriptions to other services can re-use these identifiers as much as possible.
How is the numbering system going to evolve from here onwards?
There are various initiatives ongoing to improve the interoperability of identifiers between domains which include ENUM amongst others. We foresee that the increase in the pace of convergence across the industry will lead to an acceleration of the adoption of these initiatives.