Last week I was in Finland. And it snowed. And it was dark. And we had an interoperability conference for 3G-324M and for IMS Video Share. And in that location in time and space, these two things were very close physically, but a world apart conceptually.In one world, there was the 3G-324M. This protocol has become popular with vendors of 3G phones, and it is now reaching an envious level of maturity: the basic functions work well, and vendors are mostly busy testing the more advanced features added recently. These feature, such as MONA and the H.264 codec, are working (and more importantly, interworking) well now, meaning that testing was rather smooth and satisfying. It is likely that the group will iron out the last glitches in the next interoperability event (May, Israel, if you must know), which in turn means that the focus of the group will shift to new features.
In the other world, there was IMS Video Share, which is an IMS service over SIP, to the unenlightened. People were holding similar handheld devices, but instead of cheerful faces of their colleagues staring them back from these devices, there were sad interface screens, which may or may not have indicated an error. They were all thinking the same thing: why won’t it work? Why do these 324M guys get to see video, and why do we have to work most of the week just to achieve the same goal?
The answer is quite simple really. The “324M guys” have someone to tell them what to do. Starting with the detailed standard, continuing with certification tests, and right down to bi-weekly conference calls between developers where questions are discussed and answered. The Video Share standard, in comparison, is sketchy and it leaves many details for interpretation (as does the SIP protocol on which it is based). Moreover, developers do not congress outside of these interoperability meetings. That means that they have several months to develop an application as they see fit, and then a week to test it with others who did the same thing.
Someone or something should fill these gaps. Either the standard needs to be thickened with explicit message examples or with detailed scenarios, or the group should sit down and talk about the different ways things can be done, or a single guru should appear to answer all the questions, anyway, someone should tell developers what to do.