Network operators and service providers today are in a unique position, as they build out their next generation communications networks to enable them to not only phase out costly legacy infrastructures, but to deliver a host of new and innovative services to users who have also embraced technology and adopted
The challenge, though, is determining where are these new services - and the devices, for that matter - going to come from. Most applications are already being developed by third parties, which means network operators have to forge solid relationships with them, which also means they have to identify those that will provide the greatest value to their subscribers and, consequently, to their own businesses.
There are already several platforms for delivering these applications - the most well-known, of course, being Apple's App Store, but that is just what its name implies, a venue for distributing applications to users.
Alcatel-Lucent, when it founded the ng Connect program, sought to establish a valuable resource for the other half of the services equation: an ecosystem of a broad spectrum of companies that have a forum to collaborate to drive innovation and remove the business and technical barriers that is needed to accelerate mass adoption of new services in a next generation environment like LTE.
"Any company that is interested in leveraging next generation networks in their future offerings, and are interested in learning more about it today, before it's implemented," he said.
The goal of the collective - and the reason any vendor with eyes on ultra-high bandwidth technologies should be interested - is to increase the pace of development of devices and services by focusing on cross-industry interoperability and common practices for developing services for and delivering them across LTE, GPON, and other next generation network solutions.
The result will be lower time to market with new services, ultimately delivering a much improved user experience. For carriers and service providers, it will also help create new revenue streams through an opportunity for collaboration with partners that might otherwise been off the radar - but whose objectives are in line with theirs, and whose technology can be leveraged a larger community.
In other words, it's an opportunity to grow a diverse ecosystem of partners that will benefit everyone - from developers to content providers to carriers to end users in a wide range of industries.
"It's about truly transformational and innovative companies that are willing to collaborate and understand how they are going to use broadband technologies in a way that betters the user experience," said Derek Kuhn, Vice President of Emerging Technology and Media at Alcatel-Lucent. "We can collaborate to benefit the operator community with time to market and time to revenue, and we can innovate and touch industries that traditionally telecom might not reach out to. That's what's drawn a lot of the partners to this program."
ng Connect was founded on the belief that technology is evolving so rapidly, that the only real limitation is innovation, and how quickly the vendor and developer communities can deliver new products. That limitation is most easily overcome through a collaborative project, like ng Connect.
"The ng Connect ecosystem has the power to create a nucleus to showcase what is actually possible when you connect all these devices in a real LTE environment that provides the bandwidth that is necessary to provide an enhanced user experience," explained Volker Hirsch, EVP at ng Connect member Connect2Media. "When that is achieved, the full power of mobile can be released."
It's that very dream of unleashing the true power of the mobile experience that provides the momentum for ng Connect. It's also why the greater this ecosystem becomes, the greater the benefit for its members will be.
For more on how you can leverage the ng Connect ecosystem, read here.
Check out this video with comments from several members who are already enjoying the benefits of an expanded ecosystem.