Next Generation Communications Blog

July 2010

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IP-Enabled Energy Distribution: Using Smart Utilities to Drive Eco-Efficiencies

By Susan J. Campbell

While a priority focus on environmentally friendly initiatives began some years ago, it wasn't until the concept of "going green" emerged that companies and consumers alike began examining ways to drive system implementations that would deliver sustainable improvements over energy consumption.

This is a growing focus in the utilities sector as utility companies are exploring opportunities to allow consumers to partner with them to help control the amount of energy consumed in any given time frame and by any device or building. Much of this focus has led to the smart grid and Alcatel-Lucent continues to explore opportunities to use smart utilities that will drive eco-efficiencies.

According to a the white paper, "Smart Services: Eco-Sustainable Opportunities for Telecom Operators" developed on behalf of Alcatel-Lucent, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) collaboration is vital for helping other industries to achieve their carbon footprint goals.

GeSI estimates that the involvement of ICT in these industries by 2020 will help to deliver cost avoidance savings that will reach as high as $946.5 billion by reducing consumption of electricity and fuel. To do so, IP-based telecom networks must be the next-generation backbone of these and other industries.

Best Practices for Securely Exposing Network Assets

By David Sims

To continue competing in the marketplace, a recent post from Alcatel-Lucent contends, service providers "must increase their influence on the content delivery value chain by adding unique value to it." Service providers have network assets that offer a quantifiable value to third parties looking to provide consumers services, the post says, adding that "these assets can be used to monetize the massive streams of content and application services that traverse the network." And the first step, naturally, according to Alcatel-Lucent officials, is "to figure out which assets can be used to attract those who design or deliver applications, video streams, and other multimedia services." But security is a big issue here. "Securely exposing control assets to content providers and third-party application developers enables service providers to offer differentiated services to multimedia companies and application developer communities," the post notes. The Alcatel-Lucent Application Enablement vision, company officials say, helps service providers "identify their service capabilities, then expose and package them in a consistent and formalized way, while retaining access control." The company's Application Exposure Suite provides a layer of protection and controlled access, company officials say, "allowing service providers to identify and expose capabilities required to deliver multimedia content, securely via open application program interface constructs, while protecting mission-critical assets." They also offer a Developer Platform that facilitates rapid market entry for service providers and enables frictionless collaboration and support of technical and commercial interactions with application developers, and a Multi-Screen Foundation, which provides capabilities removing much of the complexity behind multimedia service provisioning. Using open SOAP/XML interfaces, then, Alcatel-Lucent officials say there are some services which can be exposed to Web developers: ·         The Multi-screen Head-end, which allows operators to extend asset delivery to any terminal type. ·         Federated identity, which brings subscriber data together into one place. ·         Converged payment, which facilitates e-commerce and flexible payment mechanisms.

Content is King: Choosing the Right Partner Ecosystem to Create High Value Multimedia Services

By Susan J. Campbell For those network operators hoping to drive revenue and profits in this new market, the primary focus must be on rich, quality content delivered whenever and wherever the customer demands it. An inability to do so is putting the customer on the fast track to find another provider, leaving the network operator struggling to find new customers in an intensively competitive industry.

When content is the primary focus, service providers may find themselves struggling with making the change in a way that is successful, profitable and sustainable. One of the best ways to make this change is to leverage a partner ecosystem to create high-value multimedia services.

Think about the direction of the market: Internet content is steadily moving to broadcast TV and online content remarkably resembles TV output. As platforms rapidly converge, the surviving media is searching for a home.

Monetizing the Multimedia Value Chain

By Susan J. Campbell

In the realm of media communications, there is a state of unrest. Multi-channel TV and Internet content distribution has enjoyed strong growth, but something had to be taken down in order for this growth to succeed: incumbent terrestrial public and commercial broadcasters. As a result, these companies are struggling with significant revenue stream and business model issues.

As these companies must change the way they do business to monetize the multimedia value chain, what elements should they consider to get the job done? One option is the pay platform. Free-to-air (FTA) broadcasters can take advantage of the opportunities in this space as the market has long favored the pay-TV business.

Why Brands Will Pay More for Interactive Advertising

By David Sims

The number of IPTV subscribers is accelerating. Which means the need to keep the user experience for IPTV entertainment services at the leading edge is far more acute. If you want to use your IP infrastructure to expand your revenues through personalized and interactive advertising, Alcatel-Lucent offers some tips and helpful advice. You many want to check some of their offerings as well. Since you're positioned between advertisers and the subscriber, you can use your relationships with subscribers and network assets "to create audiences -- helping advertisers reach the right consumer with the right ad at the right time," they advise. "Service providers have begun to tap into the potential revenue of interactive advertising or are planning to," Alcatel-Lucent finds in a comprehensive white paper on the subject. "Nearly half of the service providers surveyed by Heavy Reading are already selling advertising and most of the remaining service providers are either evaluating their strategy or making plans to use some form of advertising soon." And bear in mind that not only does IP technology help you to deliver the ads more efficiently, "you are able to more precisely measure ad performance and IPTV usage, providing your media partners with insight into the consumer to better tailor their advertising and content offerings." That sure sounds like a win-win-win situation, as Alcatel-Lucent says: "The consumer sees ads that are more relevant, the advertisers know they are reaching the right consumer, and you unlock new revenues." In fact, the white paper concludes, "Service providers agree that advertising will become an important revenue stream over the next five years. Over two-thirds of the service providers surveyed expect advertising to generate up to 10 percent of their revenue in the next five years.

How Can You Reduce OSS/BSS by Choosing the Right Network Integration Partner

By Susan J. Campbell

The rules of the game are changing for the network operator, demanding the selection of an integration partner. This is not only a challenging task, but also an important one as making the right choice can help to reduce OSS/BSS.

In fact, without the help of an experienced managed service partner, the network operator cannot begin to enjoy the benefits in today's business models. With the right partner in place, the network operator can be assured success in new projects and that their strategic initiatives will remain a priority.

To reduce OSS/BSS, the network operator must first select the right partner. The first step is to ensure the potential partner has global references that support claims of industry-leading experience.

Best Practices for Network Operators to Strengthen Relationships with ACPs

By Susan J. Campbell

The environment for the network operator is changing as consumer demands are changing. Relationships with application content providers (ACPs) are morphing from distant functionality to arm's-length collaboration to drive value in the market. It is essential for network operators to strengthen these relationships, although it can be a challenge.

To overcome challenges to building relationships, Alcatel-Lucent has some keen advice for developing best practices in strengthening these relationships and maximizing market opportunities. Such practices will demand change, but the change is very doable and will deliver measurable results.

Maximize Outsourced Partner Value: Minimize Risk and Transformation Downtime

By David Sims

"The ideal partner," says a recent white paper from Alcatel-Lucent, "will focus on creating business value for the enterprise and will have a broad range of network, services and the multi-vendor equipment experience needed to create a complete management solution." How to choose the right partner, though? Alcatel-Lucent gives some help. It makes good business sense to consider an outsourcing partner that can address all the aspects of enterprise network management and transformation, they advise: "The ideal partner will run and evolve the network better than the enterprise itself and do it at lower cost to the enterprise." In other words, an outsourcing team should become part of the enterprise team. They should report to the enterprise CIO and keep a focused management team on premises with direct access to the other IT functional teams. The right partner works directly with the CIO, manages external IT partners and suppliers and understands enterprise network technology. The right partner will understand enterprise communications, understand voice and data carriers, both fixed and mobile and understand carrier equipment and networks of the carriers. They'll be experienced working in a multi-vendor environment and have no vested interest in the enterprise's other expense streams. They will be experienced in management and experienced in transformation. This team, Alcatel-Lucent advises, "should take over the governance of the network including managing the service, the network team, finances, and vendors supporting the network." This means regular reports to enterprise management should detail the state of the network, updates, revisions, incidents, and performance. An outsourcing partner "must have extensive background as a network integrator, including design and operations of network and IT environments," the paper says.

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