Multimedia Messaging Service Concept Computer Science Essay

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A method may include receiving a multimedia messaging service (MMS) message from a sending device, the MMS message being addressed to a terminating device. A notification may be sent to the terminating device that the MMS message is available. A user agent profile may be received from the terminating device, the user agent profile including a network indicator to indicate the type of network currently servicing the terminating device. It may then be determined if transcoding of the MMS message is required based on the type of network indicated in the user agent profile and attributes of the MMS message.

Content

Concept of MMS

Evolution

SMS

EMS

MMS

MMS Content

Text

Graphics

Audio

Images

Video

SMIL Representation

Technical Features

Architecture

Message Conversion

OTA Configuration

Hardware and Software

MMS Centre

WAP Gateway

Profile Server

Value-added Services

Emerging User Model

Pleasure with Business

Pricing Model

Money Spinners

Implementing MMS

Power Centre

Interconnect and Roaming

Realtime secure prepaid billing and rating system

Seamless connectivity

Customer service and marketing tools

An MMS Implementation Scenario

An MMS Solution

Speedy Scalable MMS Centre

CMG's MMSC at Work

Realtime Pprepaid Billing and Rating

Connectivity

Personalised Customer Service

Content and Premium MMS Applications

Integration, Connectivity and Sharing

Meeting the Criteria

Conclusion

CONCEPT OF MULTIMEDIA MESSAGING SERVICES

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Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) adds images, text, audio clips and ultimately, video clips to SMS (Short Message Service / text messaging).

Simon Buckingham, CEO of Mobile Streams believes that: 'The transition from Short Message Service (SMS) to Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is as important on mobile phones as the transition from DOS to Windows was for the PC. It represents a revolution.' Unlike other technologies like WAP, Bluetooth etc - MMS offers a complete development and billing environment along with a chance to create compelling applications. Thus, MMS provides an opportunity to foster an industry where all players in the value chain may get an opportunity to earn revenue.

Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) is a messaging service for the mobile environment that has been standardised by the WAP forum and 3GPP. To the end user, MMS is very similar to the short message service: it provides automatic and immediate delivery of user-created content. The addressing used is the phone-number of the recipient and the bulk of the MMS traffic goes from phone to phone. MMS also provides support for e-mail addressing. Hence,messages can also be sent from phone to e-mail and back. In addition to content type used for SMS text , MMS messages can contain still Images, voice or audio clip, and presentation information. A multimedia message is a multimedia presentation created by the sender using, for example predefined templates alternatively the content can be obtained ready made from a third-party content provider.The message can be delivered using to a push to the recipient's phone and the recipient is notified only after the whole message has been received. MMS transport is carried out using WAP protocols and any bearer capable of supporting WAP can be used. Therefore MMS is bearer independent, i.e, MMS is not only limited to only GSM or WCDMA. the wireless session protocol(WSP) specified in the WAP forum, is used for message transport from phone to MMSC and from MMSC to phone. in addition WAP push features are used to deliver the message from the serverto the recipient. MMS uses WAP protocols, but is a separatephone application, independent from the browser. As the MMS concept is built upon SMS the target of service is to bring a new facility to the mass market of MMS users.

EVOLUTION

As the foremost provider of end-to-end telecommunications solutions, Ericsson remains committed to fostering a timely and seamless evolution of the messaging market. This approach is both user- and operator-friendly, as it leads the market towards full mobile multimedia. The key stages of the evolution entail the sequential release of the following services:

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Short Messaging Service (SMS) - text messaging

Enhanced Messaging Service (EMS) - illustrated text messaging

Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) - full multimedia content exchange

SMS

The Short Messaging Service (SMS) was launched in 1992 and has become the most successful wireless data service to date. SMS allows mobile phone users to send and receive text messages of up to 160 characters in a costand time-efficient manner. SMS is a "store and forward"service, meaning that messages are not sent directly between users but via an SMS centre. This aspect allows for a number of key SMS attributes, such as instant delivery, nominal tariffing and message delivery unhindered by network traffic. The "store and forward" service also allows simultaneous SMS and voice capability and international "roaming" without international fees.SMS is also used to notify users of incoming e-mail, voice mail or faxes, as well as to inform them about weather forecasts, news headlines, stock quotes or other events they can subscribe to user.

EMS

EMS can be referred to as "enhanced SMS", and adds life to the users' SMS text messages. Messages sent with the 3GPP standard EMS (Enhanced Message Service) contain a combination of text and simple pixel-image and/or melody. Users may download images and melodies from the Internet, or for even greater self-expression, create them on their own directly in the phone. Unlike SMS messages, the text of an EMS message can be formatted using a variety of fonts, sizes, type styles, etc. Ericsson's EMS is backwards-compatible service, meaning that the text portion of its messages can be received by terminals not supporting EMS. EMS is an open 3GPP standard, and paves the way for the introduction of MMS.

MMS

MMS is the pinnacle of the messaging evolution. Currently being defined and specified by 3GPP as a standard for third generation implementation, theMultimedia Messaging Service (MMS) completes the potential of messaging. MMS is expected to become the preferred messaging method of mobile terminal users, since there are virtually no limits to the content of an MMS transmission. An MMS message can contain formatted text, graphics, data, animations, images, audio clips, voice transmissions and video sequences. Sending digital postcards and Power Point-style presentations is expected to be among the most popular user applications of MMS. Greatly anticipated by young users in particular, MMS is projected to fuel the growth of related market segments by as much as forty percent.

. adding progress to mobile messaging

MMS Content

Rich content to communicate the richness of our lives.

Although MMS is a direct descendant of SMS, the difference in content is dramatic. The size of an average SMS message is about 140 bytes, while the average size of an MMS message will (in the early stages) be around 30,000 bytes, but is actually unlimited. In the future, the user will be able to store a large number of messages, including those with video clips. The size of these messages will be about 100,000 bytes. That is why the key word to describe MMS content is rich. Complete with words, sounds and images, MMS content is endowed with the user's ideas, feelings and personality. An MMS message can contain one or more of thefollowing:

Text

As with SMS and EMS, an MMS message can consist of normal text. The length of the text is unlimited, and in the future it will be possible to format the text. The main difference between an EMS and MMS message is that in an MMS message, text can be accompanied not only by simple pixel images or melodies but by photographic images, graphics, audio clips and video sequences.

Graphics

Graphs, tables, charts, diagrams and layouts are just a few examples of the kinds of MMS graphic capabilities sure to have a major impact on the way we work. Maps, drawings, sketches and animations are likely to play a larger part in our personal lives, helping us to find our way, feel safe, express ourselves and have fun. MMS supports animated GIFs.

Audio

MMS provides the ability to add full sound to a message. Not only can users share a favourite song with a friend, but they can use the mobile phone to record sound and send it along with a message. Because sound includes speech as well as music, this extra dimension of an MMS message makes for tremendously enhanced immediacy of expression and communication. Rather than sending a downloaded birthday jingle in EMS, for example, a user can send a clip of his or her own personal rendition of "Happy Birthday". With MMS in a mobile phone, the user can download MP3 files, and the MMS standard also supports streaming of sound as well as images.

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By using either a digital camera attached to the mobile terminal with a cable or a built-in digital camera, users can take a snapshot and immediately send it to a recipient. The ability to send images is one of the most exciting attributes of MMS, as it allows users to share meaningful moments with friends, family and colleagues. Mobile image transmission also offers inestimable utility in business applications, from sending on-site pictures of a construction project to capturing and storing an interesting design concept for later review. Editing an image by adding text allows users to create their own electronic postcards, an application that is expected to substantially cut into the traditional postcard-sending market.

Video

The ultimate extension of MMS's digital imaging capabilities, MMS video content, once developed, could initially comprise something like 30-second video clips. Instead of using, for example, the mobile device's digital camera and media editor to photograph a scene, label it with text and add appropriate audio, users will be able to record the scene and transmit the clip to a recipient. In the future, streaming of video clips will be possible. This will be a popular feature for people subscribing to news and entertainment services. The list of possible applications of this extremely exciting type of MMS content is virtually endless.

SMIL PRESENTATIONS

Standing for Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language and pronounced "smile", SMIL allows for the creation and transmission of Power Point-style presentations on the mobile device. SMIL is an advanced XML-based protocol, and Ericsson MMS supports a subset of this protocol. Using a simple media editor, users can incorporate audio and video along with still images, animations and text to assemble full multimedia presentations. The idea of SMIL is to allow the user to customize the page timing in Powerpoint presentations. The user can decide in which order the image and text will be displayed, as well as for how long the images and text lines are to be shown in the disolay. Essentially enabling the mobile terminal to serve as image processor and conveyor, Multimedia Messaging accommodates the exchange of important visual information as readily as it facilitates fun. Business and leisure usage of MMS will be dynamically merged, resulting in enhanced personal efficiency for users and increased network activity for operators. In short, MMS affords total usage for total communication. Because MMS uses WAP as its bearer technology and is being standardized by 3GPP, it has wide industry support and offers full interoperability, which is a major benefit to service providers and end users. Ease-of-use resulting from both the gradual steps of the messaging evolution and the continuity of user experience gained from interoperability is assured.

The MMS server, through which MMS messages are sent, supports flexible addressing (to both normal phone numbers (MSISDN) and e-mail accounts), which makes user interface more friendly and allows greater control for operators. The MMS server, moreover, is responsible for the instant delivery feature of MMS. software, limited access outside the workplace, etc.).

TECHNICAL FEATURES

Architecture

The MMS Centre (MMS-C) is comprised of the MMS Server, the MMS Proxy-Relay and the MMS Store. The MMS Centre is the central element of the MMS network architecture, providing storage and operational support, enabling instant delivery of multimedia messages from terminal to terminal and terminal-to-e-mail, and supporting flexible addressing. The centre's MMS Proxy- Relay interacts with the application being run on the MMS-enabled terminal to provide various messaging services. WAP is used as bearer of an MMS message between the MMSC and the MMS client (application). The WAP Gateway is used for delivery and retrieval of messages.

Message conversion

The MMS-C is able to perform limited message conversion - for example, from MMS to SMS - so that processing and air time is not wasted in sending messages to mobile terminals that do not have adequate capability to receive them. It also handles service aspects such as store and forward, guaranteed delivery, subscriber preferences, operator constraints, and billing information. The MMS-C also vouches for high quality messaging, e.g. by format conversion. This means that the MMS-C recognizes which formats are supported in the mobile phone, and adapts the MMS messages to these formats.

OTA configuration

Users can easily get MMS into their phone. MMS supports OTA, meaning that the user does not have to configure the settings manually. The configuration is done by the operator.Supported formats Currently being standardized, MMS is likely to support the following formats.

Image - JPEG and GIF 87, 89a, WBMP

Video coding - ITU-T H.263, MPEG 4 (simple profile),

Audio - MP3. MIDI, AMR/EFR (for speech)

Video-MPEG4,H263

HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE

To launch MMS a number of practical preperations have to be made in network prior to the service launch:

MMS centre

The MMS centre (MMSC) is the store and forward network that delivers the messages from the sender to the recipient. The MMSC concept is similar to an SMSC ; i.e. the server stores the message only during the time that is required to find the receiving phone. Afterb the reciving phone has been found, the MMSC immediately forwords the multimedia message to the recipent and the message is deleted from the MMSC. Thus the MMSC is not a mailbox server, because it does not store the message if it can be delivered. The MMSC is a new network element that is needed to launch the MMS services. The SMSC can not be upgraded to an MMSC in term of software, as the capacity and interface requirements are diffrent. MMS is primarily targeted at phone to phone traffic. There is always a possibility that the receiving phone can not be reached due to being switched of f, having a spent battery or poor network coverage. The MMSC is needed to store the MMS messages until the receiving phone can be reached. In addition, the MMSC host a no of interfaces for connecting to other networks,e.g. the internet, and an external application interface to enable delivery of value added services. The MMSC may also have an interface for E-Mail.

WAP Gateway:

Although the MMS user experence is similar to SMS, MMS is not transsmitted in a SMS channel. The SMS transmission channel is too narrow for transsmitting multimedia content.teh Nokia view is that any cellular data carriar providing at least 14.4kbits/sec is sufficient for MMS.

On the protocal level, MMS is transported using the WAP wirless session protocal(WSP). In addition, the lightweight MMS protocol data units defined by the WAP forum used.the WAP browser is not involved in MMS. Only the WAP transport protocols are used to enable the use of the WAP protocols in the MMS message transfer, a WAP gateway is needed to connect MMSC to the wirelessWAP network.

Segmentation and reassembly(SAR) is a software feature of WAP. It enables large messages to be sent in small packet reducing the retransmission time for lost packets, SAR also reduces the network load due to the more efficient retransmission schemes.

Profile Server:

Personalisation is key to any service, the wireless device users desire and expect to control the messaging domain. Profiling will enable user and operators to effectivily supply,control and manage value-added services.the profile server should be fast with high capacity network element optimised for read requests, insuring that MMS network elements share an equal view of subscriber profile information.

Value-added Services:

The combination of high capacity multimedia messaging and application provides a comprehensive multimedia solution. The applications will complement person to person messaging. Two MMS features that are invaluable in any operator services are provided: support for non-multimedia terminals(commanly referred to as legacy phone support) and storage. Legacy phone support will be crucial to the initial deployment of MMS services. This will increase the number of subscribers who are able to send and receive multimedia messages thus enabling MMS to reach an important mass status. The main features: permanent massage storage with multiple access allowes all users to store and manage message therefore providing network storage to the exiting terminal storage. To seamlessly combine the internet and mobile messaging words, format conversion are required. The MMS solutions converts messaging formats that are supproted on the internet and mobile networks to address important compatibility requirements.

EMERGING USER MODEL

The mobile device has become 'personal' and ever-present; almost a part of our dress attire. Initially, mobile users just needed to communicate or be contactable at all times. Now, they need to inform and be kept informed. A new powerful and demanding mobile-user model is emerging, where instant communications and information are taken for granted. Messaging is a natural way to communicate: instant, location-independent, personal and fun. First and foremost, Multimedia Messaging is about fun messaging can also be generational. Today's youth, grown up on video games and the Internet, has adopted SMS as an icon and is expected to embrace MMS as well. And there is potentially a new user group: subscribers who consider recording a voice memo, for example, easier than composing an SMS message. As business and work-related activities sometimes intrude in our private lives, mobile devices will be used increasingly for leisure and other personal activities, and the boundary between the traditional business and consumer user will start to blur. If the SMS experience is Implementing Multimedia Services Within A Comprehensive Messaging Strategy © CMG Wireless Data Solutions 2001 9 used as a model, the uptake of MMS will most probably start among consumers, especially the young, and certain 'niche' professionals, before business users discover its attraction and switch over in increasing numbers.

Pleasure with business

MMS messages can be fun and exciting, like downloading celebrity video clips of famous pop artists, sharing holiday experiences by attaching a spontaneous snapshot with verbal annotations and sending it to family and friends. Then there is the question of convenience. Some subscribers will be delighted with the simplicity of an MMS voice-memo instead of typing in a text SMS message. And utility, perhaps not absolutely necessary, but it will be very handy to be able to receive a map of the local area alongside verbal or textual instructions, for example. MMS is also for professionals. A journalist working under difficult conditions in the field could file a report with images and sound. Implementing Multimedia Services Within A Comprehensive Messaging Strategy. Typical MMS applications Driven by MMS, other services, such as news, sports and location-based information, are also expected to benefit from new functionality and capabilities. Subscribers can expect new applications, like Internet-based interactive video games, or having their simple text messages embellished with a celebrity jingle, animation or video clip. And subscribers will also have access to a Personal Store to save their favourite MMS messages, as well as, a photo album and library of images and sounds.

some typical MMS application

Pricing model

Present connect-time pricing models (designed with voice in mind) are not suitable for data traffic because they tend to reward slow networks with higher payments by the subscriber; thus hampering mobile data services. Thankfully, this is about to change with always-on, high-speed networks, where the model is most likely to be based on data volume. However, the MMS pricing model should be similar to the SMS one, in order to accelerate the introduction and acceptance of the service. Successful pricing will be on a per-message basis and where the initiating party pays. In addition, premium rates can be applied to high-value content and, to a lesser extent, to richer media formats.

Money spinners

MMS exploits subscribers' experience and familiarity with SMS to help it over the acceptance threshold. And it is being assisted by other technologies. For example, the rapid growth of digital imaging and instant (digital) photography-pictures delivered instantly-is just the impetus needed to set the multimedia ball rolling. Based on the SMS experience, the majority of MMS messages will contain self created information, in some form or another. In many cases, this will be personal text with a digitised photograph attached; or a personal note with some novel embellishment, which can be downloaded from a website (service providers, take note). Moreover, coupled with a mailing service and a distribution list, a holiday postcard can be sent to all relatives, friends and colleagues in one single action. For operators, MMS offers competitive differentiation and can induce customer

loyalty, as well as attract content providers and subscribers. All of this is expected to

create

submit

store

MMS Centre

MMS Personal

Store

deliver

Built-in

digital

camera

create

Built-in

microphone

Implementing Multimedia Services Within A Comprehensive Messaging Strategy stimulate service usage, where operators will profit from a significant growth in revenue from higher message volumes and larger messages. Due to be commercially launched in 2002, MMS is expected to reach critical mass by 2004.

IMPLEMENTING MMS

Demanding technical specifications and operational requirements add to the challange of finding an IT solution that satisfies MMS subscribers' high expectations. Implementing Multimedia Services within A Comprehensive Messaging Strategy of a quality user experience. Applying the effectiveness and efficiency criteria (outlined in the previous section) to MMS produces the following requirements:

Power centre

The exciting user experience of bandwidth-hungry multimedia comes at a high cost to network and message-processing capacity and performance. This means high capacity networks (GPRS or 3G) and highly reliable MMS centres. While high-capacity networks are expected to alleviate network congestion (GPRS networks will practically deliver speeds between 24 and 40 kilobits per second, and 3G networks even higher speeds, high performance MMS centres will be required to handle the exponential rise in both multimedia-message size and volumes. As more sophisticated mobile devices become available, the MMS message size is expected to grow from 10-100KB in the early years, and even further as video and audio streaming come online. There is also the question of the 'smoothness' of the service. While delays in Basic SMS (person-to-person) may be tolerated, for applications, such as Interactive SMS, delays are unacceptable because they drastically degrade the user experience. Considering that even Basic MMS could contain streamed video or audio content- applications especially sensitive to 'jerky' reception-latency becomes an even bigger issue with MMS. Compare the current throughput requirement (in the order of megabits per second) for high-performance SMS centres, with the typical throughput MMS centres are likely to demand (in the order of tens or even hundreds of megabits per second), and the need for powerful message-processing engines becomes clear and obvious. Furthermore, as MMS popularity and profitability rise, so will the demand from operators, service providers and subscribers for an uninterrupted service. This will mean high-availability centres that are also scalable and can be upgraded onsite with minimum disruption.

Interconnect and roaming

Highly available MMS also implies a service available anywhere. This means that an operator's MMS centre and billing system should be able to interconnect with other national and international networks and MMS infrastructure; thus enabling subscribers to exchange MMS messages with other subscribers in any network, evenwhen roaming. Thus, an anytime, anywhere quality service.

Realtime secure prepaid billing and rating system

Prepaid subscribers have been seen as a driving force behind SMS and are expected to play a key role in MMS as well. Offering prepaid MMS means operators need to install a prepaid billing system that can match the performance and reliability of their MMS centres, and is effectively integrated. Differentiated charging (rating) is critical for MMS because of a wider selection of Premium Services and a much longer and broader content classification. Furthermore, with a higher (average) transaction-value, revenue risks will also increase accordingly. Operators are also burdened with an average monthly loss of US$ 500,000 in prepaid fraud, and security procedures need to be in place (including Implementing Multimedia Services within A Comprehensive Messaging Strategy in the prepaid billing systems) before launching m-commerce applications. This means secure prepaid systems which do billing and rating in real-time. This is not only to prevent the creation of fraud windows, but also operational bottlenecks. Finally, prepaid billing systems will need to cater to MMS roaming, requiring full mobile originator and terminator charging. Also business users will benefit from the rich experience offered by Multimedia Messaging.

Seamless connectivity

With the expected uptake of external and internal applications, and the continued use of legacy services, like SMS, operators need to ensure their MMS centres can be connected to and inter-work with other application servers or message centres. This will heighten the user experience with a seamless path from one service to the next and with uniform, consistent and user-friendly interfaces.

Customer service and marketing tools

As a market, such as MMS, gets more sophisticated, so do its consumers. A recent article4 in The Economist says it all: "On the face of it, companies seem keener than ever to sell you their stuff… But why do you so rarely feel that you are getting special service, or that the company knows the faintest thing about who you are or what you really want…The right approach to retaining customers starts with trying to understand more about them, and then work out what to do with the knowledge." In other words, effective personalised customer care. Furthermore, operators and service providers need to proactively 'track' the market to be able to anticipate and adequately respond to subscribers' needs (tailored marketing): "The winning operators will be those with, for example, a thorough and 'Keeping the customer satisfied' and having accurate understanding of what services the market actually wants, and the ability to market these services effectively," says Ben Donnelly, Mobile Telecoms Analyst at Frost & Sullivan. To be able to offer prompt proactive personalized customer service, operators need efficient and effective tools that track and analyse the market, as well as customer behaviour and preferences, as well as have access to relevant information (billing history, for example). In this case (as for realtime billing) 'effective' means the marketing tools must be able to keep up with the rate at which the MMSCs process messages.

AN MMS IMPLEMENTATION SCENARIO

An MMS solution

Let us consider an example of how MMS can be implemented and review it in the context of the framework already discussed. CMG Wireless Data Solutions has been involved in mobile messaging since the early 1990's when it was asked to design and develop a SMS Centre for a Nordic consortium. Since then, it has become a leading global supplier of wireless messaging, mobile Internet and customer care and billing solutions for the telecommunications industry, and is renowned for its quality of service solutions. Building on other market successes, most notably in SMS, CMG offers a complete, turnkey MMS solution , which provides many benefits over multi-vendor solutions in the area of quality of service, cost of ownership and manageability. Furthermore, CMG maintains a policy and reputation for consistent quality-high scalability, capacity and reliability-across all solutions. By opting for separate, dedicated and best-of-breed components, CMG offers a quality solution made up of quality parts. This contrasts with the 'Swiss army knife' approach available in the market today, which comes with full functionality, integrated and 'under one roof'. While this does not actually meet the specialised needs of the operator in implementing an MMS strategy, the 'Swiss army knife' solution might appear to be 'handy' and less time consuming to implement. However, its individual functions typically lack quality, flexibility and scalability.

Speedy scalable MMS Centre

At the core of the solution is its Multimedia Messaging Service Centre (MMSC), which processes MMS messages to and from an operator's network, as well as external networks and applications. The MMSC's functionality is distributed over five main modules:

1. ttp Receive: receives MMS messages from mobile devices connected to the operator's own network;

2. Http Send and Message Store: has a dual function. It sends MMS messages to mobile devices connected to the operator's own network; and temporarily buffers (stores and retrieves) all MMS messages for further handling;

3. SMTP Receive: receives MMS messages from external operators' networks or Internet applications;

4. SMTP Send: sends MMS messages to external operators' networks or Internet applications.

5. MMS User Database: maintains extensive subscriber information and service profiles containing subscriber preferences and options; also shared by such functions as prepaid billing, customer care and marketing.

CMG's MMSC at work

CMG's MMSC

This distributed, modular architecture (above figure) makes it seamlessly scalable To virtually unlimited performance requirements-only physical and network constraints, limit its size. In line with other CMG products, MMSC's performance and capacity are matched by its reliability (which translates into availability). It has no single point of failure; the system as a whole can continue to function in the event of network failures. There is redundancy in processors and critical devices, and each function module has the capability to operate independently from the other modules in the face of partial network and system failures. Furthermore, hardware components meet NEBS Level 3 standards for reliability and availability of 99.999%. This means any component failure will never lead to data loss. The low mean time to repair also means full service capabilities are quickly restored. Cost of ownership is low because running and maintaining the MMSC is virtually automated. Human intervention is only required in the event of hardware failure or new software installations. Even then, upgrades to the MMSC can be done online and while the system is still running. CMG's MMSC comes with rich functionality. It supports a number of user features, like legacy-handset support, with message filters and SPAM and virus control.

Realtime prepaid billing and rating

Crucial to an MMS business, CMG's Payment Broker offers a flexible, high performance (capable of 2000 transactions per second) prepaid rating and billing Implementing Multimedia Services within A Comprehensive Messaging Strategy © CMG Wireless Data Solutions 2001 20solution. Its high-speed, realtime billing, rating (for Premium MMS differentiated charging) and credit checking prevents billing bottlenecks and eliminates prepaid fraud. In addition, the Payment Broker offers such advantages as MO and MT charging, full roaming support and secure m-commerce transactions (with encryption, payment authentication and digital signature), and has been designed to off-load vital network components.

Connectivity

For content and service providers, the MMSC offers a 'large account' or corporate interface, offering a secure MMS Internet-connection to an operator's subscriber base. In addition, the MMSC allows operators to act as service provider and offer their own (or trusted) applications and content services to their subscriber. Because these applications are secure sources, the connection between the MMSC and external application is fast, ensuring fast delivery of MMS messages and low latency, critical for interactive applications and a quality user-experience. Control over content gives operators the flexibility of different charging schemes. Moreover, because operators offer these services directly, their profit margins are broader. On the network side, CMG's Wireless Service Brokerâ„¢ contains an excellent WAP Gateway solution, required in an MMS operation to connect mobile devices to the MMS Centre. The Wireless Service Brokerâ„¢, designed according to CMG'sscalability, reliability and high-performance specifications, can cope with growing data traffic levels and extensive features to create service packages for different end-user segments. In an MMS operation, its Pull and Push Service Brokers fulfil two key functions-the submission and delivery, respectively, of MMS messages-in the exchange of messages between the MMS Centre and MMS-enabled mobile devices.

Personalised customer service

Collectively called The Business Tools, this state of the art software suite provides functionality to easily access and analyse raw operational and business data, transforming it into quality business knowledge. It is possible to store and analyse subscriber usage information to understand user trends and preferences and offer personalised and useful services, thus building customer confidence and reinforcing the relationship. Underpinned by the Customer Relationship Management concept, The Business Tools provides an important means for operators to offer 'tailored and targeted' services, and hence increase profitability of the services as well as customer satisfaction. Timely traffic information means that operators can predict network peaks and bottlenecks more accurately. This means proactively managing the network, rather than reacting to problems after they occur, as is often the case. Furthermore, quality information means more accurate forecasting and better resource planning for operators, leading to more effective resource utilisation and lower costs.

Content and Premium MMS applications

In addition to providing operators with the tools to offer Premium MMS directly (using the MMSC Subscribed Services interface), CMG also offers off-the-shelf applications and content through its Partner Program. These applications have been integrated with CMG's MMS solution and can give operators a head start in marketing Premium MMS. And more importantly start making profits. Implementing Multimedia Services Within A Com- prehensive Messaging Strategy © CMG Wireless Data Solutions 2001 21.

Integration, connectivity and sharing

Furthermore, CMG integrates its MMS offering with its other mobile messaging solutions, like SMS and Unified Messaging (UM). In addition, CMG connects its MMS environment to internal and third party applications and external infrastructures, andintegrates its own products to legacy or third-party products. Not only does this make the whole mobile messaging operation seamless, but common functional components, like billing and customer care and marketing, can be shared by other services.

Meeting the criteria

CMG's MMS solution more than meets the QoS and efficiency criteria that are so key to operators implementing a mobile messaging strategy. Most notably, all critical components-such as MMSC, Prepaid Billing and WAP Gateway-are highly reliable and always provide enough capacity to handle peak message and transaction volumes, as well as the large messages MMS will generate. Not only does this solution prevent message bottlenecks; it also ensures high availability and a smooth user experience.

CONCLUSION

When preparing the MMS service launch, it was recomeended that the operator follows the SMS format. The same service pricing principles, where the sender pays a fixed fee per message sent, should apply. The user experience should also be the same as with SMS-the message is recently delivered to the recipient's terminal,with automatic presentation. In short: MMS should be the same as the SMS expext for richness of the message.

To stimulate the market and to ensure a rapid uptake of MMS from the day of launch, the operator needs to offer value-added services that can be enjoyed by subscribers who still do not own an MMS terminal.

The MMS service roll out has already started. The operators should commence the MMS trials using the commercially available moblile MMSC and terminal prototypes to ensure that the customer care, billing systems are prepared for the service launch.