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The IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) defined by the 3rd Generation Partnership Projects (3GPP and 3GPP2) represents today the global Service Delivery Platform (SDP) standard for providing multimedia applications in Next Generation Networks (NGN). It defines an overlay service architecture that merges the paradigms and technologies of the Internet with the cellular and fixed telecommunication worlds. The architecture enables the efficient provision of an open set of potentially highly integrated multimedia services, combining Web browsing, email, instant messaging, presence, VoIP, video conferencing, application sharing, telephony, unified messaging, multimedia content delivery, etc., on top of possibly different network technologies. Also interworking with the Internet and legacy networks is supported. As such the IMS enables various business models for providing seamless business and consumer multimedia applications. Knowing that the full potential of the IMS can only be revealed by the early nondiscriminant provision of IMS know how and related technologies to the different market players the Fraunhofer Institute FOKUS has launched the "Open IMS Playground" in July 2004 as part of the German 3G beyond national testbed. This paper introduces the IMS standard and provides an overview of the "Open IMS playground @ FOKUS".