Next Generation Communications Blog

Customer Experience

Android Malware Can and Should be Stopped at the Network Level

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet, Contributor

I just bought an Android tablet after living exclusively in the Apple iOS world for the past couple years. The cost of the cheaper Android tablet was great, and my geek side surely will enjoy the customization options in the days ahead. However, what I do not look forward to are potential security issues.

All of the reports in recent years have exposed the fact that the Android environment is more susceptible to being compromised than IoS, however, recently even that is becoming a matter of degree as cracks in the Apple armor have been exposed. The one as somebody who is in the tech industry and tries to be vigilant that should make us Android users be somewhat concerned is the Stagefright vulnerability which hopefully will not make it into the wild.

To be frank, Stagefright is pretty scary. Anyone with an Android mobile device who is vulnerable to the exploit should be thinking about it, and that’s roughly close to 1 billion devices at last count. What makes Stagefright so frightening is that it isn’t just a malware exploit that cause significant grief.  In what might be considered a perverse flip side of ease-of-use, Stagefright is unfortunately about ease-of-infection.  It loads itself onto an Android device with nothing more than an MMS message. A message with a carefully crafted media attachment can infect the Android device without any user intervention.

UCC for the 21st Century

By Richard Hatheway, Director, Enterprise Communications Product Marketing – Rapport for Large Enterprise, Alcatel-Lucent

Let’s face it, most large enterprises are stuck in a rut when it comes to unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solutions – and a 20th century rut at that.   While these enterprises would like to be more in control of their UCC and ICT infrastructure, most are not sure where or how to begin.

Large enterprises typically choose a UC solution vendor based on one primary fact – that the vendor told them they could provide everything they needed. From an enterprise perspective that makes sense. Having only one vendor eliminates additional budget requests and cycles, reduces the number of people involved, and effectively streamlines the operation.

The problem is that choosing one vendor effectively locks the enterprise into a proprietary technology silo with that vendor. Sure, the vendor may be able to provide the tools the enterprise needs, but at what price, using what technology and in what timeframe? Instead of the enterprise choosing the technologies that it needs, the vendor is now effectively in control and dictates which technologies will be used by the large enterprise.

BT leverages the power of Rapportâ„¢ APIs to drive service innovation in a 3 days hackathon

By: Gilles Duboué, Marketing Director, Communications and Collaboration, IP Platforms, Alcatel-Lucent

I crossed the English Channel to spend a few days in Ipswich. Not to explore its beautiful port but to participate in the hackathon organized by BT, hosted by its Innovation Hub in Adastral Park (7th to 9th July).

ALU.8.4.15.a.jpgHackathons are flourishing these days. These are fast, dynamic, creative
events in which software developers collaborate intensively around ideation and prototyping with specific Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and on dedicated themes such as mobile apps, internet of things, home automation, connected car, etc.

BT leveraged our Rapport APIs and Rapport Sandbox to run their first hackahon. Rapport is our communications software platform, used by service providers and large enterprises to deliver voice, video and messaging.

Sponsored Data Plans Can Help Keep Mobile Subscribers Connected

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor 

It’s no secret that many of us these days are very attached to our smartphones and tablets. Yet for all the entertainment and value these devices – and the applications, information, and people they can access – provide, nobody likes getting bills from their wireless carriers. That’s especially true when the dollar figure at the bottom of those bills increase.

But there are some options mobile carriers might want to consider to help keep their subscribers’ data plan bills more manageable, and keep their customers happier. One way to allow for that is by introducing sponsored data charging programs.

Sponsored data charging programs are an effective way mobile carriers can help their subscribers justify the cost of connectivity, while growing their own user bases and expanding their ecosystems to include more application providers and marketers. That’s the word from Barbara Sampson, senior marketing manager for policy and charging PLM marketing, and Thomas King, manager of the policy and charging portfolio, at Alcatel-Lucent. The two wrote a recent TechZine posting, Operators benefit from sponsored data charging, that details how mobile operators can prosper with these types of programs.

CSPs Can Leverage Self-Help Apps to Unburden Help Desks

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

The Internet and the smartphone have altered customer expectations related to service. They have both elevated the requirement for fast results in terms of response times, and they have made consumers more comfortable with finding answers themselves using the devices in their hands and the information that is now at their fingertips.

Meanwhile, communications providers continue to expand the ever-growing number of services they offer to consumers. That now includes an array of Internet access, mobile, and TV services. The growing number of CSP services and customers also increases the potential for more help desk inquiries.

VoLTE Challenges: The Case for Integrated Policy, Charging and Diameter Signaling

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor


VoLTE Challenges: The Case for Integrated Policy, Charging and Diameter Signaling

Hopefully, Voice over LTE (VoLTE) has arrived or is coming to your preferred mobile service provider.  As mobile networks transform into end-to-end IP ones, the business case for VoLTE as a means for mobile operators to provide differentiated services, including high definition voice and multiple media ones, has become compelling and taken on a sense of urgency. 

Indeed, it is being viewed strategically as a way for service providers to distinguish their services on the basis of Quality of Experience (QoE) from 3G and OTT voice apps. It is also seen as providing competitive advantage because of its ability to enable end users to seamlessly move from a voice call to a video call, or shift from one device to another in the midst of the conversation.  It is why interest in accelerating VoLTE deployments is so high. 

However, network transformations are not easy.  VoLTE deployment and operations is an interesting case in point.  It brings unique challenges for service providers related to policy control, charging and Diameter signaling control.  Steffen Paulus, Director of Product Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent has some interesting insights worth sharing on the need for integrated policy, charging and Diameter signaling in a virtualized solution, as the path forward for VoLTE success.  This is particularly relevant in light of Alcatel-Lucent’s recent launch of its End-to-End Voice over LTE (E2E VoLTE) solution that is an integral part of the Rapport multimedia real-time communications platform which has been architected specifically to me service provider and enterprise needs.

Four Ways Cable Operators Can Boost the Customer Experience

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The customer experience has always mattered, but its importance has grown in recent years. This has been driven by increased global competition, including the almost instant availability of alternations, and the rising expectations by fickle and informed consumer. Yet, cable operators have a long way to travel if they want to deliver the customer experience (CX) that consumers demand.

The Temkin Group’s Q3 2014 survey of 10,000 US consumers’ opinions about goods and services registered the lowest ranking average Net Promoter Score (NPS) for pay TV providers, a telling statistic. Internet service providers did almost as poorly, coming in only one position higher.

“As technology innovations drive shifts in consumer behavior and open new service opportunities, operators must start eliminating pain points,” stressed Alcatel-Lucent’s Nicholas Cadwgan in a recent TechZine article, Cable MSOs transform the customer experience. “This includes any obstacles that will impede their ability to launch and provide adequate care and quality assurance for those services.”

Cadwgan lays out four customer experience management (CEM) areas that cable operators should focus on.

Motive Big Data Analytics (BNA) Helps Operators Leverage Network Data for Service Creation

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Service providers are seeing an increasing number of applications moving outside of their control. At the same time, they are facing stiff competition within their geographical markets. Developing new revenue streams has become a top priority.  As a result, many service providers have invested in business intelligence systems to help them figure out these new offerings and how to win and keep customers.

Interestingly, despite this need and a sense of urgency most service providers are ignoring their greatest asset: Their network. The network provides more visibility into subscriber usage and trends than Google, Yahoo and Facebook combined, according to a recent Alcatel-Lucent Motive posting on the value of big networks analytics (BNA).  They believe it is time for this visibility to be unlocked and put to work.

How a "Wi-Fi first" strategy benefits EMEA MSOs

By: Steve Davidson, European Marketing Director for Cable, Alcatel-Lucent

From original Alcatel-Lucent TechZine posting

A Wi-Fi first strategy can help multi-system operators (MSOs) remain competitive in the evolving marketplace.  Wi-Fi enabled devices default to using the cable operator’s Wi-Fi network for voice, and cellular equipped devices can switch to cellular when out of Wi-Fi range.

Although nuances in the business drivers for adopting such a strategy vary by region globally, this model turns the traditional cellular voice paradigm on its head.

Just like other communications or media industries, MSOs face a dynamic and extremely competitive market. As a result, in EMEA, they have evolved their end-user offerings to embrace market-leading fixed high speed internet access, Wi-Fi connectivity, and bundled mobile cellular services using mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) partnerships.

As the pace of change continues to accelerate, subscribers have made a widespread move to Wi-Fi enabled smartphones and tablets. A European commission study stated that 71% of all EU wireless data traffic in 2012 was delivered to smartphones and tablets using Wi-Fi. This is expected to rise to 78% by 2016.

European MSOs have already invested in Wi-Fi and offer data connectivity services in and out of the home. This not only is a customer retention strategy, but also lets MSOs build out further value added services (VAS) and can reduce data costs of their MVNO agreements.  So if we now contemplate the delivery of voice to these Wi-Fi enabled devices, how do we get started?

Existing Mobility Assets

The Evolution of Customer Experience Management: From scoring net promoters to customer effort

By:  Greg Owens, Senior Director, Global Marketing, Motive CEM Solutions, Alcatel-Lucent

I just returned from a Customer Experience Management (CEM) event in London. After attending the same event in January 2014, I reported that I was struck by how pervasive customer experience had become within the world of telecoms. Well, a year has not changed that. In fact, I no longer feel compelled to extol the virtues of focusing on customer experience. There is no doubt: CSPs are intent on improving customer satisfaction and on making it a key focus of their businesses. Many of the CSP-led presentations showed examples of mission and vision statements that place the customer smack-dab in the crosshairs.

So what has changed in twelve months? Here are some highlights, for me, of some great presentations and scintillating conversations that took place over the course of three days in the shadow of Westminster.

1 2 3 4 5 6 Next
Featured Events