By Ed Silverstein
The growth of broadband has helped to shift user focus from voice and personal communication to multi-media and content communication, and that's just the beginning for a smart network that makes application enablement a reality.
The increase in data traffic has network providers racing to keep up with the demand for bandwidth -- a continuous demand for bigger "pipes."
The challenge is to do so at a profit and in a way that leverages the intelligence of the network. This race isn't just for more bandwidth or greater coverage -- it's about creating sustainable business models that allow for the combination of high value network capabilities with the speed and innovation of the Web to provide consumers and enterprises a richer and more trusted Web experience -- what Alcatel-Lucent calls application enablement.
With Web 2.0 enablement, Instant Messaging (IM) and Social Networking have led to wide-spread yet close-knit communities while viral spread of content and news happens at such a pace that people face 'information overload'. Consumers are now bringing their new tools
to the office expecting them to work seamlessly as they do at home.
In the consumer market, a driving force behind much of the growth is youth and young adults. They are still asking "why" "what if" and "why not" questions.
Alcatel-Lucent's Market Advantage research shows an overall interest in higher quality of service and centralization.
• Users believe the technology will make their lives better
• Users want to do more with TV, phone and PC
• Storing and sharing information are more important
• Mobile shopping provides value;
• and Market trends align with research.
A recent report on App Store's top grossing applications shows the top pick by consumers is a new social networking app, the second most popular is entertainment, third and fifth are mapping/GPS apps, and fourth is -- yes -- a shopping tool.
At CTIA Spring 2009, three new apps stores were launched by major vendors. Six months later, a new app store now offers single stop shopping for most major mobile device operating systems, illustrating the need for centralization.
In the business market, enterprises have experienced shifts in communication needs. They have embraced anytime access to corporate e-mail and knowledge bases. They are pushing corporate applications into the hands of mobile workers for instant information access and superior customer service.
They are exploring cloud computing and its potential benefits versus security and reliability risks.
Simply put, end users want connectivity any time, anywhere. They want a high quality of service (QoS) for all the applications and content they access when they consume it. They want a network provider to provide a trusted web experience allowing them to access more applications and content when and where they want while having a trusted on-line shopping and banking experience without sacrificing control of their personal information. They want value for what they purchase.