GSMA, China Mobile complete multi-vendor Image Share trials

Image Share is a service allowing a mobile customer to share images with the person he or she is speaking to. Several companies have just carried out trials of Image Share with the help of China Mobile's laboratory in Beijing ...

The GSMA and China Mobile have successfully completed the first multi-vendor trials of an interoperable Image Share service. The service, which allows mobile customers to share images with the person they are talking to on a phone call, was tested using mobile applications and devices provided by Nokia, Ericsson, Siemens , Motorola, Samsung and Comneon on an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) provided by Nokia Siemens Networks in China Mobile's laboratories in Beijing. The ability to send images across GSM networks was also verified using inter-working capabilities provided by Aicent.

 The GSMA, the global trade association for mobile phone operators, envisages that Image Share services, together with voice and video streaming, will form an important part of the multi-media communication experience enjoyed by both consumers and business users. There is a clear demand to be able to share images while engaged in an ongoing communication, whether it is young people discussing pictures from a party or other social event, or an estate agent sending pictures of a house during a conversation with a prospective buyer. 

The GSMA, drawing on input from leading operators and vendors, has developed guidelines for the Image Share service. They are based on IETF-developed protocols such as MSRP, RTP, SIP and, in particular, file transfer for SIP, as well as 3GPP specifications for IMS and combinational services.  These protocols and systems enable near real-time communication over wireless and wireline Internet Protocol (IP) networks and are also the basis for ongoing work on other services such as Instant Messaging in the Open Mobile Alliance standards bodies.  

"Although these tests were the first of their kind, they showed that the world's leading vendors have taken significant steps towards interoperability," said Alex Sinclair, Chief Technology Officer of the GSMA. "Interoperability across networks and across devices is the key to the success of any new person-to-person service and these tests bode well for the development of an exciting range of IMS-enabled communications services." 

"China Mobile is delighted to have hosted this successful event with the leading terminal suppliers demonstrating the interoperability of this service on multiple terminals," said Madam Zhiqiang Yang, Deputy of the Research Institute of China Mobile Communications. "Together, IMS and 3G will play a key role in the development of compelling mobile multimedia services in China and elsewhere." 

Looking to the future, this initial trial has laid the foundations for further development of the Image Share service and further tests will be hosted by the GSMA as part of its SIP Trial programme. The ongoing programme has already demonstrated IMS interoperability and inter-working over the GRX, as well as developing a Video Share service.  

The SIP Trials programme is part of the GSMA's IP Inter-working (IPI) initiative. This is a programme of work developed with the support of operators that has produced a commercial and technical framework that will help all stakeholders build a successful business from the provision of IP Services. 

The GSMA press release on which this report is based contains a short glossary of terms:


  • IETF - Internet Engineering Task Force - a body responsible for Internet standards; 
  • MSRP - Message Session Relay Protocol - a protocol for transmitting a series of related messages within a communications session; 
  • SIP - Session Initiation Protocol - a protocol to set up a communication sessions between two network nodes. The SIP protocol allows for easy extensibility of sessions with any kind of media; 
  • IMS - Internet Protocol Multimedia Subsystem - a system to support the setting up of communication sessions between various network nodes;
  • GRX - GPRS Roaming Exchange - a network to support the transfer of data services between mobile operators, and 
  • RTP - Real-time Transport Protocol - a protocol to support streaming type of services such as video or voice.

More info:

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