Jim Machi : Industry Insight
Jim Machi

We ask the experts: How can exceptional QoE be achieved in VoLTE networks?

By: Jean Jones, Director, Wireless Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

What does voice over LTE (VoLTE) offer your subscribers? Better voice quality, including HD voice. Rich communications with messaging and video. And whatever inventive applications you choose to introduce. In other words, VoLTE can provide a superior quality of experience (QoE) for subscribers and give you a competitive edge — particularly when your service operates at its best. 

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In my last blog[CCE1] , our experts explained why an end-to-end strategy is the key to maintaining peak VoLTE performance. Now we’ll look at how this strategy gets put into practice to optimize real-world service offerings. The information here is based on interviews with Luis Venerio who works with our VoLTE Readiness Services team. And his observations come straight from his experience on VoLTE deployments that serve millions of subscribers.

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Wearable Tech Expo 2014 Kicking off in NYC

My team is at the Jacob Javits Center setting up for Wearable Tech Expo 2014 which will take place Wednesday and Thursday...

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When Does WebRTC Need a Media Server? Reason #7

Tsahi Levent-Levi’s white paper, “Seven Reasons for WebRTC Server-Side Processing,” details a variety of WebRTC-related scenarios that necessitate a media server....

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How signaling spikes affect networks: 3 real-world examples

By: Josee Loudiadis, Director of Network Intelligence, Alcatel-Lucent

Data and signaling growth are usually good news for network operators, since growth often translates into higher revenues. But when growth is averaged over a month or quarter, the daily highs and lows of network activity are smoothed out. And signaling spikes remain hidden within the averages. These spikes can overwhelm available signaling capacity, which impairs the customer experience, as well as the operator’s reputation.

What happens when a spike occurs? Typically, a CPU Overload alarm appears on various mobile nodes. And the Network Operations Center (NOC) immediately starts praying that the burst is short-lived and doesn’t go over maximum peak-rate capacity. Because when that happens, all consumers are denied service access. Then, the process of identifying the source of the problem begins. This can be arduous, because it often involves applications completely out of NOC control. And the issue can’t be resolved easily without solid network analytics that enables engagement with application and device developers.

That’s the reason signaling information is a crucial part of the Alcatel-Lucent Mobile Apps Rankings report and why LTE World 2014 devotes an entire pre-conference day to the topic. It’s also why this blog offers a closer look at how some real-world disruptive signaling spikes got started — and were finally resolved.

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The Expanding Channel Programs

Not only do I see more cloud service providers looking to the channel for sales, I see other channel programs expanding....

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When Does WebRTC Need a Media Server? Reason #6

In a recent blog about the current state of WebRTC, I mentioned that readers should check out an excellent white paper...

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The Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: It's Not All About Data- Mobile Voice and Messaging Share Plans Offer Plenty of Appeal

Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe continues the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series by examining the degree to which consumers are interested in share plans that include unlimited voice and messaging but don’t include data.

The last Six Degrees blog explored consumer attitudes toward two different mobile share plan options: sharing data only and sharing voice, messaging and data. This blog will explore attitudes toward a 3rd option: sharing unlimited voice and messaging — but not data — across multiple devices or subscribers.

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LTE and Germany

June 23, 2010

Back on April 15th, I wrote about Germany's spectrum auction for the spectrum beyond 3G, likely to be used for LTE. The auction ended a couple of weeks ago netting a price tag of 4.38B Euros, much less than the recent $14.5B auction of 3G spectrum in India and much less than the 50B Euro 3G auction in Germany from the year 2000.
  The price tag is seen a sign of the times. $50B was a lot for the operators to pay for 3G. Given that, and given the state of the world and European economy right now, 4.38B is what was netted. Still, that low a number was a bit of a surprise to some in EMEA and the feeling is that the LTE winners will clearly be able to monetize this. How will they monetize this - well the mobile broadband will create many opportunities for data, video and voice. And likely we'll see very innovative apps be created with this awesome mobile broadband power available.

The HD Voice Growth Path

June 16, 2010

HD Voice is on a growth path.  Some say slower than expected, some say faster than expected.  Like many things, that is dependent on your point of view.  One way to measure growth is the amount written about a topic.  There is an HD Voice News site that I visit from time to time.  And a quick search yields quite a few articles - here is a recent one talking about mobile VoIP and here is one in Polish - I don't know what it says (though it seems to be talking about telepresence) but it clearly says "HD Voice" in there, as well as "HD Video". 

Another way to measure growth is my use of a new technology.  I'm about to get an HD capable phone at work, so I'll be HD enabled soon.  Basically I'll be voice enabling my email address.  There is a whitepaper at siptosip.net that explains how this works.  I won't be able to get to the PSTN, but I'm looking forward to making some HD Voice calls and I'll let you know how it goes.

Videooooooooooooooooooooo Gooooooooooooooooooooooal!!!

June 14, 2010

  

With the World Cup now in full swing, people will do anything to watch a soccer game or get information on any of the games. I had to be away from a TV when the US played England this past Saturday, and using my mobile phone, I had to go to espn.com to get automatic refresh on comments to get results from the game as I could not get video of that game. (My battery juuuuuuuuuuust made it through the game). And I couldn't see the goals until later on. 
  I wish I had a video goal application, as did one of my colleagues who happened to be in Brazil the Friday the World Cup started. Since the taxi ride to the airport from downtown Sao Paulo takes a while, both he and the taxi driver were looking for goals from the first day of the World Cup.   I know CallTech is working on one
  Creating something like this is what the Dialogic Innovator Challenge is all about.

The Dawn of a New Mobile Video Era

June 9, 2010

On June 7th, Apple announced the iPhone 4.  And the title of this blog is somewhat tongue in cheek, since the resultant hyperbole generated from this is seemingly iNdelible, iNcredible, iNdubitable and iNdefatigable. This iPhone must be iNvincible! This shows the power of Apple at this point in time. So I do use the word somewhat above instead of leaving that word out entirely, since, well, if Apple does get millions and millions of people to use mobile video telephony, maybe that announcement will indeed be an inflection point in mobile video and bend the curve to be steeper.
  But as readers of this blog know, I've long been talking about mobile video applications. And Apple did get something very right, which is a camera on both the front and back of the device.  And they are using the H.264 video codec, which we've put in our products and I can tell you that the quality with that video codec is impressive.
  With a camera on the back, which is what most mobile phones have today, you can take pictures or movies of what you see. But someone on the other end can't see you, so it's not a true video calling experience. As readers of this blog also know, there are many, many mobile video apps that don't need a camera on the front - a video IVR for instance works well on a mobile phone since you can see the menu on the phone, instead of listening to it. And we're even seeing commercials in the US now with regards to someone doing video banking while she is working out in a gym, using an IVVR on her mobile phone. So there are plenty of apps that are possible without a camera on the front.
  But with a camera on the front, you can make a video call with another person from your mobile phone. So it opens up an entirely new realm of innovative mobile video applications.


Doesn't Everyone Know What FoIP Is?

June 7, 2010

Apparently not, as evidenced by this interview that Carl Ford did with me at CTIA a couple of months ago. If you go to the end of the interview, this is where Carl asks me about Fax over IP and is genuinely surprised, in a positive way, that the community calls this FoIP. Yes, Carl, and I've even seen Data over IP referred to as DoIP. 

But that fact that Carl asked me about fax shows he does understand that the fax business is alive and well. Yes, email communications impacted some forms of faxing, but faxing is still important in ordering, health care communications, and in industries where record keeping is key. And leading the fax charge are solutions based on FoIP. Statistics show that FoIP is indeed growing. So keep on faxin.'  



3G Video + Humidity = Singapore

June 2, 2010

A couple of weeks ago I visited Singapore for some press meetings. One good thing about Singapore is that there is a 3G network here and when we talked to the press, we were able to demonstrate some live 3G video applications that have been built on Dialogic video enabling platforms. 
  One bad thing about Singapore is that anytime you move when you are outside, you sweat. And since you have to move when you are outside, well, you sweat. In case you haven't figured it out if you've never been there, it's super humid. I guess that is your lot in life when you are on the equator next to an ocean. Luckily for me, I found a place called the "Eski Bar." This is a bar that has been set up essentially in a meat locker environment. So it's coooooooooooooool inside.
  But back to the 3G video apps. If you go to the Dialogic YouTube channel you can see some interesting videos of some of these apps, but it was nice actually showing live demonstrations of Video Value Added Service apps that our partners have built - such as Voice SMS, Video Portals, 3G video call completed to a non-video 3G phone, and IVVRs. Showing these in action to the press is very powerful.

Not Oxymoronic Part II

May 26, 2010

Last time, I wrote about mobile video and whether it had a place in the enterprise application space. Yes! To continue that thought, think about some of the applications that might be possible.    Mobile banking is gaining in popularity. If you can look at a menu and see the choices - how much money to do you have in savings, how much do you have in checking, do you need to move money into checking to cover a check you just wrote - it would be so much easier and faster to see all that on a screen and then make whatever decision you needed to make. The bank wouldn't have to use an agent to do all that and it would enhance the whole self-service aspect of the IVR.   Or think about the insurance industry. If you could take pictures of a damaged house or car, and email them in or MMS them into the insurance company, it would certainly speed the process.    Speech portals were the rage at one time. They have now become pretty well integrated into a contact center.   The next step will be to put videos into the contact center - video portals if you ask me will proliferate and then like speech, the technologies will allow full integration. But video portals again would be a business application.    My point is that when people hear video and the enterprise, they automatically think of your CEO sending a streamed video message that you have to listen to. Just remember that there are many access points to an IVR or a contact center, and increasingly these access points are mobile devices. And these mobile devices are video capable. Your enterprise application also needs to be video capable to confidently address these inquiries.

Mobile Video and Enterprise Communications are Not Oxymoronic

May 21, 2010

I still feel amazed when some people don't get that video will be an important medium in enterprise communications. When they hear someone from Dialogic talk about mobile video, they automatically associate that with a service provider business. Think about it - is Blackberry an enterprise application or not? I remember when the Blackberry forced thousands of CIOs and IT directors to just deal with it, because the CEO loved having a portable device on which to get email. And now it's fairly ubiquitious.   So why is that any different from mobile video having an impact on the enterprise? More people are now, or will soon be, accessing the internet from a mobile device. It's natural that IVRs will need to add video - the devices can deal with it, and it can improve the user experience. If you can see the menu, instead of just hearing the menus choice, it would make the experience easier and faster. Clear ROI for the contact center.   Take an example of checking your seat on a flight with your PDA. If you could see the picture below, you could easily determine if you wanted to move your seat. Thanks to technology such as this, you'll no longer have to call in and talk to an agent, be put on hold for 10 minutes, and then in the end, just keep the same seat.



Which "Spent" is Applicable to the 3G India Auction?

May 17, 2010

I am in Singapore right now, and one of the big telecommunications topics is the India 3G license auction. The bidding is apparently close to coming to an end and once it ends, the winning companies will get to spend what they bid, for the right to utilize the license(s) they won. According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, one definition of spent is also "drained of energy or effectiveness."  And after all the spending going on with regards to India and the 3G license auction, one has to wonder about the ability of the operators to actually deploy the infrastructure within a decent amount of time, mainly because the infrastructure causes more money over and above the license.
  If you go to http://dot.gov.in, you will see the state sponsored website regarding the status of the auction. As of May 16th, a company winning a license in each of the 22 zones would pay 15815 crores or $3.5 billion if I read the tables right and did the math right. Remember there are multiples licenses to be awarded.
Are these bids realistically priced or not? Well, India is one of the largest mobile subscriber markets in the world. If a company wants to "win" in India, it has to have a 3G license. And as I wrote about 6 weeks ago, with huge subscriber growth per month in India, the 3G networks also will play a key role in simply having bandwidth available for subscriber growth. So the 2G networks will play a key role for some time, likely for the lower ARPU customer base. And the 3G networks, as we know, will play a critical role in the higher ARPU mobile data and video services that can come with them.
  I will be in India for VAS Asia 2010 in July and I will report back on what's going on there. Should be interesting.


Dialogic Deals More Cards

May 12, 2010

Well, it's a very exciting day for all of us in the Dialogic community! Some of you may have noticed a press release we issued and/or some press activity regarding Dialogic and Veraz Networks announcing a definitive agreement to merge. The deal is expected to close sometime in the 2nd half of 2010, subject to regulatory approvals, shareholder approvals, and customer closing conditions.

Anyone who knows Dialogic knows we have been a very active participant in M&A since Dialogic Corporation (then named Eicon Networks Corporation) bought the "Dialogic assets" from Intel in 2006. We followed this up by the purchase of EAS Group (Cantata and Excel Switching) in 2007, the OpenMediaLabs business in early 2008 and the NMS Communications Platforms Business in December 2008. Nope, you didn't miss anything in 2009!

This deal continues in the same vein of strengthening the service provider portfolio. The combined company would have an unparalleled product portfolio addressing a span of control of a "bit through the network" from inception to delivery of that bit - enablement of value added services, through to gateways, and softswitches, all with session border control and bandwidth optimization throughout. This ability to service the media (whether video, voice or data) end to end is very unique in the industry and we are excited about the product and service opportunities going forward. 

We see the the future clearly, and we are taking steps to address it so that we can continue to serve our customers. Nick Jensen, the Dialogic CEO said it best in the press release, "We will be creating a company with innovative products that will enable our customers to unleash the profit of video, voice and data for 3G/4G networks." 

And while we are strengthening our service provider portfolio, it does not mean we are de-emphasizing the enterprise market segment. That is still a strong business that we are investing in and that investment will continue. On a pro-forma basis, our enterprise business would still have been about 40% of the revenue of the combined company in 2009. The enterprise initiatives, such as Project DiaStar, remain important to us.

While I will have more to say in this blog space on the deal once it closes, in the meantime, please come and visit us at the various marketing events we have planned. You can find them on the events part of our website. There have been no changes to any planned activities and we'll be very happy to talk to you. 









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