Alcatel-Lucent's application enablement
strategy, which focuses on network operators' ability to effectively develop, deliver, and monetize new applications and services relies on two distinct components: the operator's network and the relationship
between the operator and the application and content provider community.
In the second iteration
of Alcatel-Lucent's online publication, Enriching Communications
, which focused on the strength of partnerships and ecosystems in today's competitive communications environment, Carrie Hydro, Senior Director for Solutions Marketing at Alcatel-Lucent
, and Patricia Hargil, Head of Global Strategic Programs, focused on the latter half of the application enablement proposition. Specifically, they considered the implications of recent research by Alcatel-Lucent regarding how ACPs (application and content providers) view the opportunity to collaborate with network operators.
Working on the understanding that network operators are going have to rely on third-party applications
and content to drive sustainable growth and revenues, it's evident that their ability to do so lies in their willingness to provide value from their networks to their existing and future partners. However, while operators are in a position to increase the pace of service innovation, to date, the single greatest obstacle has been their ability (or willingness) to deliver a winning proposition to the ACP community.
According to Alcatel-Lucent's research, however, the opportunity
for network providers to collaborate with ACPs is very real - as long as they are willing to expose their network resources to benefit their partners. In fact, network providers were named as the second most valuable partnership opportunities by the ACP respondents, behind hosting/utility providers - and that's only because hosting providers have been a traditional resource for cost-effective, scalable capacity.
Network providers, however, have potential to move to the top of the list because of the potential value that rests in their networks. Their ability to leverage that value rests not in capital investment, but in accepting that allowing access to network resources, like subscriber data, Quality of Service, security, bandwidth, and more.
By offering their partners access to their network intelligence, network operators can foster a more trusting, more equitable relationship with ACPs, prompting them to not only develop more applications and content faster
, but to tailor them to targeted subscribers, creating a more viable and predictable revenue model.
That's not to say that infrastructure investment will not be required - moving to what Alcatel-Lucent calls high leverage networks
will enable network providers to scale effectively as they cultivate new relationships, add new subscribers, and introduce new applications and services. Alcatel-Lucent pegged the ACP market in 2008 at about $800 billion, with double-digit growth expected, so naturally, some infrastructure enhancements will be required (that much is, perhaps, self evident based on the growth of the global smartphone market and the increase in data-intensive applications resulting from the introduction of the iPhone and other similar devices in the past two years.
Thus, in order to offset infrastructure costs, network providers will have to collaborate more effectively with their ACP partners to ensure they have access to a wide range of sticky services and can deliver a differentiated, high-quality user experience
For more on the evolving relationship between network providers and application and content providers, read the complete article, Application/Content Provider and Network Provider Cooperation Drives Innovation and Value for All.