Next Generation Communications Blog

Alcatel-Lucent Technology News

RFID Opportunity Grows

In a recent article, touchatag: The Interactive Advertising Opportunity, the author cited industry research that highlighted the opportunity that exists in the RFID space.   Analysts estimate that the market for RFID network, software and services will increase over a five-year period from around $1 billion in 2008 to over $6 billion in 2013 (IDTechEx). Strategy Analytics projects that in 2012 around 250 million NFC phones will be sold and that in 2017 over 1 trillion RFID labels will be tagged. According to ABI Research, the RFID market is expected to generate $9.7 billion by 2013.   Well, ABI Research has updated their numbers and is now calling for total revenue earned from RFID transponders, readers, software and services to top the $5.6 billion mark this year, according to the latest market data from ABI Research practice director Michael Liard.   The research study, titled RFID Annual Market Overview, portrays the market as fragmented, but Liard says, "...despite some project deferrals and terminations, there will be market growth."   According to Liard, "...the RFID market continues to be worthy of cautious optimism in the near to mid-term."   These numbers underscore the opportunity for application developers.  A recent article, Developers Key to Success of touchatag Project, further explores the opportunity for developers to leverage solutions such as Alcatel-Lucent's touchatag, to create exciting new applications.

touchatag Gives Application Developers Opportunity to Innovate

touchatag is an online Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) service that enables developers and Web-savvy consumers to create innovative one-touch applications which connect everyday objects with online applications.   The key word to note for today's exercise is "developers," or more correctly, application developers.   The touchatag Developer Network was launched to give these developers an opportunity to create innovative touchatag applications.   Borrowing a concept from previous partner programs and developer communities, the touchatag Developer Network was created to address a simple and well understood fact; namely that no team of developers could ever hope to create every possible application that would make use of touchatag.   Rather, according to developer relations manager Ted Haeger, "The community exists to provide developers with economic opportunities and programming interfaces so that third party innovation can run far and wide."   A recent article entitled, Developers Key to Success of touchatag Project, discusses these opportunities and offers some market projections as well as highlighting several "showcase applications" that have already been created using the core elements of the touchatag solution.   As the author states, application developers, "...can easily and quickly deploy countless applications, limited only by their collective imagination."  

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.  

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.  

Alcatel-Lucent Delivers Service Enablement Platform

Carriers are always on the lookout for ways to better serve their customers and, let's face it, generate more revenue. Alcatel-Lucent today announced a solution that will enable carriers to do both via a new directory server that will serve as the centralized real time storage platform designed to enable carriers to leverage subscriber data to enhance service quality and reduce time to market for new revenue generating services.   According to the official news release, Alcatel-Lucent announced the 8661 Directory Server, a high-performance service enablement platform for the creation of personalized Web 2.0 and communications services over wireline and mobile networks.   The solution, developed by UnboundID Corporation and sold to service providers exclusively by Alcatel- Lucent, acts as a centralized real-time storage platform for subscriber data. The 8661 is network independent and is able to simultaneously enhance a variety of services including mobile media, entertainment, social networking, advertisement and productivity applications through the centralization of personal, identity, and privacy preference user information - securely and in real time.   According to Peter Mottishaw, Principle Analyst, OSS Observer, "Alcatel-Lucent's 8661 Directory Server complements the Alcatel-Lucent Subscriber Data Management portfolio and will allow communication service providers to rapidly create highly personalized applications. Directory services are becoming increasingly important to the creation and delivery of personalized services and an area where service providers can add value. By bringing to market a high performance Directory Server, Alcatel-Lucent is in a strong position to bridge the subscriber data divide between the network and IT domains."   For more information visit Alcatel-Lucent online.

Alcatel-Lucent Enables WiMAX Deployment in Spain

Alcatel-Lucent is committed to the emerging fourth-generation of wireless. And they seem to like Spain as a venue for making 4G-related news.   Last month in Barcelona, Alcatel-Lucent made the headlines when Verizon Wireless named them to a select group of primary network vendors for its initial LTE network deployments in the United States. The company also announced a new LTE software module in Barcelona.   Today Alcatel-Lucent announced a WiMAX deployment with Iberian broadband communications service provider Iberbanda, a provider specializing in serving the nation's rural areas (the plain, in Spain, if you will...).   Iberbanda has deployed its first pilot network using Alcatel-Lucent's WiMAX 802.16-e (Rev-e) wireless broadband technology.   To showcase the new technology, a specially equipped bus is driving around Iberbanda's R&D center in Malaga testing mobile Internet access and other services such as voice over IP (VoIP) or video surveillance. This pilot is designed to validate simultaneous use of a WiMAX network by a variety of applications.   According to the official announcement, Iberbanda's bus is equipped with WiMAX CPE with WiFi functionality so that multiple devices can be connected en route. The CPE is connected to a WiMAX base station enabling Internet access at 18 Mb/s download and 3 Mb/s upload speeds.

Alcatel-Lucent Sees IP PBX Growth

Yesterday, Infonetics Research announced its Q4 (2008) Enterprise Telephony report.

 

Amid the gloom of the global economic malaise, which in the fourth quarter of 2008 saw the worldwide enterprise telephony market drop 14% sequentially to $2.3 billion, Alcatel-Lucent enjoyed some success.

 

The Infonetics report illustrated that revenue is down for all types of equipment including pure IP PBX, hybrid PBX, and TDM PBX, and that the main reason for the decline is the lack of new business creation and business expansion courtesy of a weak worldwide economy.

 

However, in the face of all this negative news, the report also found that Alcatel-Lucent realized PBX equipment revenue gains in Q4, growing 13% sequentially, which far outstrips the year-over-year, overall PBX market growth of 1.1%. The IP PBX segment continues to improve while sales of traditional TDM gear continue to shrink.  Pure IP PBX revenue grew 25% worldwide in 2008.

 

According to Matthias Machowinski, Directing Analyst, Enterprise Voice and Data, Infonetics Research:

 

Because of the significantly deteriorating worldwide economic conditions, we expect the overall enterprise telephony market to contract fairly significantly in 2009. Once the world's major economies start growing again, however, a recovery in the PBX market will follow. We expect the market to stabilize in 2010, resume growth in 2011, and hit double-digit annual growth by 2012.

 

 

Alcatel-Lucent in the LTE Spotlight

Alcatel-Lucent has been at the center of much of the big LTE news emanating from Barcelona this week. LTE, or long-term evolution, is a fourth-generation (4G) wireless networking technology designed to succeed today's 3G wireless networks. 4G networks based on LTE will reportedly enable download speeds of up to 100Mbps, and will most likely be considered as alternatives to DSL, cable, satellite, and other current broadband offerings.   Dick Lynch, Verizon executive vice president and chief technology officer, delivered a keynote address at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona today, and in his speech, Lynch offered details regarding the operator's 4G LTE plans.   Lynch announced that Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone, has chosen Alcatel-Lucent 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.   Ben Verwaayen, chief executive officer of Alcatel-Lucent, commented, "With LTE's bandwidth and its ability to co-exist with the current 3G platform, we look forward to partnering with Verizon Wireless to build the next-generation foundation that will economically enable new forms of communications using both fixed and wireless, as well as mobile broadband."   In other news related to Alcatel-Lucent's LTE plans, the company announced it has completed a series of data calls - involving terminals from third-party suppliers using Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology for Time Division Duplex (TDD) spectrum (TD-LTE), a mobile broadband standard that will be used by operators in China and across the globe.   Alcatel-Lucent also introduced a software module designed to enable service providers to expand the capabilities of their wireless networks through the rapid introduction of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology.

touchatag Enhances the Event Experience

Just this week, Alcatel-Lucent announced a series of new business applications to its touchatag Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) solution that enables developers and Web-savvy consumers to create innovative one-touch applications, which connect everyday objects with online applications.   One interesting application of this technology lies in the event organization space.   This technology gives event attendees the ability to extend their real-life surroundings to incorporate online resources and applications.   First a word on some of the technology that makes this go.   What is RFID? According to RFID Journal, radio frequency identification, or RFID, is a generic term for technologies that use radio waves to automatically identify people or objects. There are several methods of identification, but the most common is to store a serial number that identifies a person or object, and perhaps other information, on a microchip that is attached to an antenna (the chip and the antenna together are called an RFID transponder or an RFID tag). The antenna enables the chip to transmit the identification information to a reader. The reader converts the radio waves reflected back from the RFID tag into digital information that can then be passed on to computers that can make use of it.   What is NFC? According to the NFC Forum, Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range wireless connectivity technology standard designed for intuitive, simple and safe communication between electronic devices. NFC communication is enabled by bringing two NFC compatible devices within a few centimeters of one another.

ng Connect Initiative Creates Opportunity

This week Alcatel-Lucent announced the multi-industry initiative - the ng Connect Program - that is dedicated to establishing a rich and diverse ecosystem of infrastructure, devices, content and applications for both mobile and fixed broadband networks including 4G, LTE, GPON and other ultra high bandwidth technologies.   According to the announcement:   The ng Connect Program will bring the benefits of a seamless broadband experience to mobile phones, computers, cars, gaming systems and more, enabling consumers to stream more content, run more sophisticated applications on-the-go, and communicate in the most popular formats of today, and tomorrow.   Rich Tehrani shares his thoughts about this initiative on his blog:   The group will accelerate deployment of new devices and services by helping to determine interoperability across industries such as automotive, entertainment, wireless and consumer electronics. One area where there is a need for better integration is consumer electronics and automotive where in many cases a simple headphone jack is the extent of the integration. Or even worse, a car's stereo system tuned to a predetermined FM frequency to play music from a handheld music player which has an attached FM transmitter.   The value proposition for members include access to research, reduced development costs and a first mover advantage across markets. For carriers there is the increased use of broadband, reduced OPEX and churn and accelerated time to market.   For consumers the benefits include better integration of disparate entertainment systems, a higher level of value for devices which are part of this initiative, enhanced payment options and perhaps lower cost for a variety of next-gen services and devices.   Service providers and advertisers should watch these developments closely, as they presage a tremendous opportunity. As they say, watch this space.
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