Telecom Web is reporting that the NGN Forum and the IMS Forum, the two major trade groups promoting the convergence of telecommunication voice and data services, have merged. Both have been working to promote the integration of wired and wireless technologies, with the IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) viewed as focusing on consumer markets and the NGN Forum focusing on enterprise-oriented services, using the term Unified Communications (UC) rather than IMS. Telecom Web reports that in recent months, the two had already begun cooperating in endeavors including plugfests. By combining IMS with SIP and UC, and using Service Delivery Platforms (SDP), the united organization is expected to bring together developers, service providers, integrators and solution vendors.
ITU has carried out notable work in developing the detailed standards for the deployment of NGN. ITU has launched the NGN Global Standards Initiative (NGN-GSI) to give service providers the means to offer the wide range of services expected in NGN and to harmonize different approaches to NGN architecture worldwide. ITU's Study Group 13 (SG13) has developed a standard (ITU-T Recommendation) for interworking between the two dominant technologies in NGN, Ethernet and MPLS (multiprotocol label switching). SG 13 has also done significant work in the field of Virtual Private Networks (VPN) on standards that will allow VPNs to work over all kinds of networks - optical, MPLS, IP etc.