By Mae Kowalke
Thanks to significant advances in broadband communication technology in the past few years, people from many industries and disciplines are coming up with some pretty innovative ways to work, play and do business. These often-disparate innovations represent growing opportunity for even greater changes, and greater rewards, if devices, applications and infrastructures were more effectively brought together.
With that vision in mind, Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) founded the ng Connect Program, intended to create an end-to-end ecosystem for rapidly delivering next generation services and applications, by combining the resources of industry, business and academic leaders. Enterprises, consumers and service providers all stand to benefit.
The ng Connect Program rightly claims that, “The opportunity is unprecedented. “ It has eight main goals:
- Bring together companies that would not otherwise be linked to drive innovation
- Blur the lines between wireline and wireless broadband user experiences
- Foster concepts for innovative applications and devices
- Integrate and validate new service concepts
- Deliver new services, revenue models and applications to enterprises and service providers
- Enable deployment of simple, innovative applications and services for consumers
- Improve time to market for new concepts
- Address key issues around early adoption of LTE and other broadband technologies
Connectivity, ALU points out, is rapidly converging in ways transformative to business, daily life, entertainment, and other areas. Individual companies, however, do not have the resources or expertise to rapidly deploy innovative services, create profitable new business models, or remove barriers to mass adoption.
The ng Connect Program addresses five main areas that represent barriers to success: innovation, connectivity and distribution, digital media management and QoS, applications and service integration, and business models and cases.
Addressing these barriers to success requires driving top line revenues, increasing competitive advantages, lowering OPEX, reducing churn, leveraging assets across networks, creating new business models, accelerating time to market, and speeding up resolution of standards and regulatory issues.
The ng Connect Program is driving innovation through three main elements:
- Innovative Ecosystem – community of pioneering organizations and individuals
- Innovative Environment – physical and virtual innovation spaces and leading edge tools and techniques
- Concept Development – help for service providers to agilely create, evaluate and validate service concepts
The programs summarized below exemplify how various technologies and services are being brought together in innovative ways through ng Connect.
- Acquisition – interactive mobile game that allows users to check in at physical locations, own locations virtually and rent out space to friends for a small fee.
- Avatrainer – a fitness experience build on Microsoft Kinect, using personal avatars for virtual group setting workouts.
- Connected Classroom – application that allows students to locate classes on a campus map and locate friends in real-time, and educators to provide lesson plans and collaborate with other teachers.
- Connected Service Vehicle – suite of cloud-based services for commercial vehicles using tablet-to-care linkages, speech recognition for secure login, high definition video surveillance, and other applications.
- Connected Shopper - combines online and in-store shopping through tools like QR codes and 3D kiosks.
- Fan Cam – allows spectators and fans in sports venues to live-stream the view from their seat to editors who can then select from the content to display on the big screen.
- GameTime Media Table – network-connected table for retail and hospitality environments, giving customers a chance to try-before-they-buy.
- Next Gen TV – interactive TV experience for video calling, e-health services, home power monitoring using RFID, and other tools.
- Striker – public safety vehicle with built-in communications platform featuring push-to-talk radio, iPad integration, high definition video over LTE, and other capabilities.
- TeleConsult – healthcare application that allows consumers to ‘visit’ healthcare professionals using video conferencing, Bluetooth, and text apps.
- Virtual Concierge – LTE-connected digital platform for 2-way video interaction, easily deployable in airports, hotels and other locations.
Want to be part of helping create the future? Participation in the ng Connect program is a way to explore how working together with other innovators is the path to accelerate your progress on the road to success.