Next Generation Communications Blog

Alcatel-Lucent Corporate News

Genesys Announces Customer Innovation Award Winners

Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, an Alcatel-Lucent company announced the winners of the fourth annual Customer Innovation Awards program this week.   According to the company, the program is an annual competition that recognizes outstanding companies for their use of technology to deliver innovative customer service in highly dynamic environments.   Over 200 companies were in the running this year, and a diverse group of 28 industry analysts selected eight winners over a period of several months that spanned the Genesys Analyst Conference held in San Francisco in January 2009 and the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Forum held in Paris in March 2009.   The list of eight winning companies includes: ·         Presbyterian Health and Personal Nucleo from the Americas; ·         DenizBank, Etisalat, FedEx Express, and MultiChoice from EMEA; and ·         Global Speech Networks and Tokio Marine from the Asia Pacific region.   According to an official release, winners were selected based in part on a presentation in front of the industry analysts demonstrating how and why its customer engagement strategies make them among the elite customer service organizations in the world. The judging process held the finalists to the highest standards in customer care, evaluating each candidate against 20 individual categories. Three criteria determined their overall scores: innovation, optimization and improving the customer experience. The common element each of the winners shared was their ability to improve the overall customer experience while linking business issues to customer service resulting in a more strategic approach to customer interactions.   This year the winners scored either a "Four-Star" or a "Three-Star" ranking. Four stars indicate the highest honor possible; achieving three stars is regarded as an exceptional achievement.   From the official release, here are some details on the Four-Star winners:   ·         Etisalat Egypt, the Egyptian 3G service provider was selected because it has created one of the world's most advanced multimedia contact centers, combining video, voice, and SMS, with voice recognition, avatars, and other advanced self service choices.

Genesys on Datamonitor's Shortlist

TMCnet Senior Reporter Patrick Barnard recently wrote:   Due to the weak economy, companies are shifting their focus from customer acquisition to customer retention. As a result, most organizations - especially those that operate contact centers - are putting a stronger emphasis on customer service.   Barnard reports that in order to leverage advanced features and functionality not found in older, TDM-based systems customers are increasingly investing in new IP-based contact center systems.   In order to assist companies in selecting an IP contact center vendor, Datamonitor has published Decision Matrix -- Selecting an IP Contact Center Vendor. The report provides a three-pronged framework for evaluating IP contact center vendors. It includes a summary of IP contact center vendors' capabilities based on a quantitative assessment of their market impact and end-user sentiment, as well as an extensive review of the technology features that they offer, and uses these criteria to serve as the basis for the positioning of the vendors as "shortlist," "consider," or "explore."   Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories - an Alcatel-Lucent company - was one of only two vendors to make it into the "shortlist" category.     In addition to saluting Genesys in their IP Contact Center report, Datamonitor also found Genesys and its Genesys Voice Portal (GVP) to be at the head of the class in its recent report, Decision Matrix - Selecting an IVR Vendor in the Enterprise.   The IVR Decision Matrix provides guidance for enterprises looking to deploy IVR solutions.   According to the report, in evaluating the competitive dynamics in the IVR sphere, each vendor, including Genesys, was assessed in three categories:   ·         Technology Assessment: the acquisition of VoiceGenie, its support for SIP and H.323 standards, as well as additional monitoring and reporting capabilities, cemented high scores for Genesys in the technology assessment; ·         Market Impact: the large number of IVR customers and consistent double digit growth over the past five years in the GVP business resulted in high market impact scores; ·         End-user Sentiment: Genesys received the highest score in end-user sentiment by demonstrating it is a well known and trusted provider of IVR platforms.   According to Aphrodite Brinsmead, analyst for customer interaction technologies at Datamonitor and lead author of the report, "We were impressed with the next-generation applications Genesys is emphasizing. The release of its intelligent Customer Front Door (iCFD) framework is indicative of the vendor's forward thinking philosophy and commitment to extending IVR functionality."

On Earth Day, Alcatel-Lucent Highlights Eco-Awareness Campaign

Happy Earth Day!   TMCnet's Susan Campbell covered the news earlier this week regarding Alcatel-Lucent's plans to spotlight efforts toward the reduction in the company's carbon footprint.   Among the various activities, Alcatel-Lucent is planning a company-wide eco-sustainability awareness campaign, "Let's Be Eco-Friendly" whereby Alcatel-Lucent employees are being encouraged to avoid printing documents, in addition to doing things like separating trash for recycling, saving water, turn down thermostats, using teleconferencing to avoid travel, and reducing commuting by car whenever possible.   According to Campbell:   This eco-sustainability program established by Alcatel-Lucent focuses on three key areas: the company's products and solutions; applications for other businesses; and its own operations.   The company ensures that all of its products are thoroughly evaluated for energy efficiency to ensure they support service providers' efforts to reduce the carbon emissions of existing and new networks.  

Alcatel-Lucent Announces Rich Communications Platform

Alcatel-Lucent continues to evolve their rich messaging/unified communications strategy. Today the company announced the Rich Communications Manager, a platform designed to deliver what the company calls, "a Web 2.0 experience with enhanced Web messaging, providing an online web interface for subscribers to manage their communication needs."   The solution lets users retrieve, view, respond to, and forward voicemails, SMS, MMS, emails, and fax from a Web-based portal.   The solution allows users to view all types of messages in a single converged message queue and also eliminates multiple logins, user interfaces as might be required by various messaging applications.   Rich Communications Manager also targets service providers, giving them the tools they need to improve and simplify how their end users communicate by integrating different services in a single portal.

Exploring The IPTV Opportunity

This week, Alcatel-Lucent announced support for the multimedia application environment for the Microsoft Mediaroom IPTV platform, called the Microsoft Mediaroom Presentation Framework.   Service providers can now combine Alcatel-Lucent's digital media suite of products, including the Multimedia Content Manager and Interactive Media Manager, with Microsoft's IPTV platform with an eye toward increasing ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) and generating new revenue streams by offering personalized multimedia, on-demand offerings, and compelling interactive advertising services.   In a recent article published on the Next-Generation Communications community titled IPTV Business Strategies - A Perspective, Nick Lochrin of Alcatel-Lucent's Professional Services Business Division explains the pressures that service providers face to drive revenue growth as well as the opportunity that services like IPTV hold in store. The article provides a perspective on positioning IPTV within an overall market strategy and business model to increase the likelihood of commercial success.   Writes Lochrin:   Service providers with extensive broadband access networks have an opportunity to increase value from these investments and derive competitive strength.   Service providers have opportunities to leverage competitive strengths. Established providers have significant assets in established relationships with customers for broadband services, and large scale investment in customer service, billing and mass technology management.   Of course there are numerous risks that service providers face when deploying any new service, however Lochrin believes that for operators who take the time to think through a coherent strategy the positives outweigh the negatives:   For service providers that carefully consider the business models, risk sensitivities, and overall strategy to maximize competitive strengths, there is an opportunity to compete effectively and grow shareholder value.  

Service Providers Continue Outsourcing Trend

The trend towards service providers outsourcing the responsibility for managing their networks is rolling along, according to a recent article, Carrier Outsourcing In Full Swing.   In addition to deals between Vodafone/Ericsson, and Orange/Nokia Siemens Networks, Alcatel-Lucent announced an outsourcing contract with BASE, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dutch operator KPN, which entails end-to-end responsibility for all network operations and rollout for BASE's network, an item, which we covered in this blog.   But just to drive the point home, the outsourcing trend is being driven in large part by the macroeconomic environment.   As TMC's Gary Kim writes:   One of the primary reasons to use third-party services has been to improve the bottom line. Typically, outsourcers can provide a given function at lower fixed cost than a service provider can do with its own staff. The bulk of third-party services deals have involved the divestment of activities that drive up operational expenses, notably in areas of operations, administration or customer care.   The current economic climate is acting as an accelerant to the process as service providers seek to boost profit margins while lowering operational expenditures.   Of course, the benefit to telecom gear makers like Alcatel-Lucent and others is clear, as they find themselves on the receiving end of these outsourcing contracts.

China Unicom Chooses Alcatel Lucent Shanghai Bell for Next-Gen Wireless

Chinese consumers want their next-generation wireless services and they want them now. Advanced mobile services like media streaming, ring back tones, video sharing and high-speed Internet access are all in demand, and Chinese service provider China Unicom has tapped Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell, Alcatel-Lucent's flagship company in China, to deploy advanced 3G W-CDMA networks in 14 Chinese provinces to help users gain access to these next-generation communication services.   Initial network deployments are planned for the cities of Tianjin, Baoding, Wenzhou, Taizhou, Guiyang and Guilin with completion expected by May, 2009.   Alcatel-Lucent will provide approximately 11000 Node B (Base stations), its Home Location Register (HLR) data base system, as well network maintenance and optimization services in 14 provinces.   One of the key benefits of deploying this equipment is the smooth migration path to fourth-generation wireless, which promises to enable China Unicom to evolve towards 3G/HSPA+ and 4G/LTE.   Last month Alcatel-Lucent was chosen among a select group of primary network vendors for its initial LTE network deployments in the United States.   Utilizing their existing spectrum, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone have been field testing 4G LTE networks in Minneapolis, Columbus, Ohio, and Northern New Jersey in the United States, as well as in Budapest, Dusseldorf, and Madrid in Europe. These field trials have demonstrated download rates of 50 to 60 Mbps peak speeds. Utilizing its recently acquired 700 MHz spectrum, Verizon Wireless hopes to expand its 4G trials this summer, with the goal of commercially launching its LTE network in 2010.  

BASE Jumping in the Benelux

BASE, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Dutch operator KPN, is the third largest of Belgium's three mobile telecommunications operators with roughly 24% market share, which translates to approximately 3.4 million subscribers.   Today, Alcatel-Lucent announced an outsourcing contract with BASE, which entails end-to-end responsibility for all network operations and rollout for BASE's network.   According to the announcement, the contract covers the operations of the BASE mobile network in Belgium, comprising approximately 3,000 sites. It also involves the transfer of around 29 BASE employees to Alcatel-Lucent.   The decision to outsource operations to Alcatel-Lucent was driven in part by a desire to focus on what BASE does best, that is marketing their service offering and growing their customer base, while leaving the network operations responsibility to an experienced partner like Alcatel-Lucent.   According to BASE CTO Heinrich Lakatha, "This contract will produce synergies that enable us to further concentrate on marketing our services throughout Europe. We selected Alcatel-Lucent based on their history of being a trusted partner over the years and given their global experience in network outsourcing."   The deal is another example of Alcatel-Lucent's move into the services business.   Said Paul Depuydt, vice-president of Alcatel-Lucent in the Benelux, "This important contract with BASE reinforces Alcatel-Lucent's position as a strong and competitive managed services provider. It is significant not only for its value, but also because it confirms our ambition to diversify our business into the services domain and the mobile operator customer segment."  

Alcatel-Lucent Brings Next-Gen Communications to Emerging Markets

Even in the midst of a global economic downturn, the use of technology to gain access to information is still a key differentiator that shrinks the globe and enables entrepreneurs to succeed. Communication -- be it voice or a data application like e-mail or IM -- is a differentiator that many in the Western world take for granted, but the competitive advantage that secure communications and productivity increases might afford users is still a new frontier to many in the developing world.   Alcatel-Lucent announced a pair of deployments this week -- one in Tunisia and one in Mongolia -- that will bring the benefits of enhanced communications and increased productivity to customers in those nations.   In partnership with Research in Motion (RIM) and regional service providers Alcatel-Lucent is bringing the BlackBerry service to those locales. At launch, TUNISIE TELECOM will offer its customers the BlackBerry Pearl 8100, BlackBerry Pearl 8120, BlackBerry Curve 8320, BlackBerry 8800 and BlackBerry Bold 9000 smartphones as well as service on BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Internet Service.  

  Based on its distribution agreement with RIM, Alcatel-Lucent will leverage its strong local presence in the region to provide TUNISIE TELECOM the end-to-end implementation, launch, and on-going support for delivering the BlackBerry solution to the Tunisian market.   And working with RIM and Mobicom, Alcatel-Lucent is leveraging BlackBerry smartphone-based solutions to offer residents of Mongolia mobile access to a wide variety of business and leisure applications on the move, enabling access to e-mail and the Web, as well as the ability to make phone calls, send and receive text and picture messages.   At launch Mobicom will offer customers the BlackBerry Bold smartphone as well as service plans for BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Internet Service.  

More Good News for Alcatel-Lucent

Recently we noted that Alcatel-Lucent was enjoying a measure of success in the Enterprise PBX space, with Infonetics reporting that Alcatel-Lucent realized PBX equipment revenue gains in Q4, growing 13% sequentially, as compared with the general market growth of 1.1%   Well it seems that the company is enjoying growth on the Service Provider side of their business as well.   Alcatel-Lucent announced that, according to data from Dell'Oro, it has considerably strengthened its market position in the Service Provider Edge Router market segment. According to Dell'Oro, in the second half of 2008, Alcatel-Lucent continued to grow in the edge router segment - gaining more than three percentage points to reach 17.6 percent market share - while the other top-three vendors either dropped significantly or were flat.   The report authors attribute Alcatel-Lucent's success to growth in consumer IPTV and Internet services, increased Internet traffic - particularly video - evolution of mobile core and backhaul networks to IP, and an expanding market for Ethernet and IP VPN services.
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