Next Generation Communications Blog

Peter's View: The Channel Ecosystem

I read CRAIG'S VIEW: THE NEW CHANNEL ECOSYSTEM by Craig Schlagbaum, channel chief at Comcast. My response was too long for...

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2 Ways to Maximize Your Vendor Relationship

As channel partners, we get hammered all the time to sell vendor's stuff - even if it is unreasonable or doesn't...

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The Changing Definition of the Diameter Signaling Controller and Diameter Routing Agent (DRA)

Next week, I will be speaking at the Signaling Focus Day of LTE Asia.  The signaling focus day obviously will have...

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The Cat Video Index: A Simple View of Data Costs

By: Andy Porter, Product Manager in the Payment, Policy and Charging department at Alcatel-Lucent

The Economist has its famous Big Mac index for comparing buying power across countries. But I wanted an index that focuses on the cost of mobile data usage. That meant I had to find a data-charging equivalent of the Big Mac. I needed an item that crosses cultural boundaries, is universally understood and is available worldwide.

I considered many possibilities. But the answer arrived when I saw my daughter laughing at a video of a cat playing a piano. Obviously, the mobile data equivalent of the Big Mac is the YouTube video. It’s a universally available service that is easily measured in quantitative terms, making it ideal for comparing mobile data costs.

In honor of my daughter, I chose the classic “piano-playing cat” as the baseline video. And by the way, this cat video has been viewed over 34 million times, proving its suitability as a baseline.

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THE SECRET VALUE OF VoLTE - WHAT'S IN IT FOR CONSUMERS

By: Ed Elkin, Director, IP Platforms Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent 

Today’s consumers want faster mobile broadband, and lots of it. That’s the dominant fact shaping Mobile Service Providers’ competitive strategies. So let’s look at what you can offer these valuable subscribers with voice over LTE (VoLTE).

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California Lawmakers Plunge Some Transactions into 3rd World

California has come up with a law that hurts the very people it says it is protecting by making it difficult to...

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Globys Uses the Power of Social to Boost Carrier Sales

You may recall a commercial for Faberge Organic shampoo from decades back where the person using the shampoo said when you...

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Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: Service Level-based Plans

In this second installment of the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe takes a closer look at service level-based data plans. These plans can be used to give subscribers opportunities to enhance their mobile data services in exchange for a monthly or per-use fee.

What do consumers think about service level-based plans?

In February 2013, Alcatel-Lucent asked mobile broadband consumers in six countries about the concept of service level-based data plans. Globally, two-thirds of respondents said they would be interested in a premium service that could provide an enhanced quality of service (QoS).[1]

Bringing customers closer: Six degrees of mobile data plan innovation

By Rich Crowe, Marketing Director, Alcatel-Lucent IP Platforms

We’ve all heard about the dramatic rise of mobile data traffic, spurred on by expanding 3G and LTE networks, smart device use, compelling apps and mobile video consumption. We know that mobile network operators face shrinking voice and messaging revenues and growing competition from over-the-top (OTT) providers. Operators know the pressure is on. Can they transform network investment and data traffic demand into data revenue growth? Where will this growth come from?

In this eight-part blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe answers these questions by presenting six degrees of mobile data plan innovation that can help operators build closer relationships with customers and grow data revenues.

Mobile Gets Straight to the Point (of Sale)

By Cassidy Shield, Head of Global Solutions Marketing for Content, Cloud, and Communications, Alcatel-Lucent

When consumers start buying data where they use it, the possibilities for consumption multiply.

Mobile is the growth engine of the communications industry, yet the way consumers purchase, discover, and engage with their data plan is in a store, on a website, or, even more archaically, via calling a call center. This is fundamentally backward, but it's also a clear wireless operator opportunity.

The opportunity lies in moving the point of sale (POS) to the smartphone or tablet itself, and it starts with a mobile application. With mobile data growing by leaps and bounds, operators have been grappling with how to manage and monetize the influx. Their conversations so far have centered on real-time charging, policy control, and personalization to transform how they bill, but there's been very little action on how to make these complex processes simple for consumers.

The Big Deal about Big Data Analytics

By Greg Owens, Senior Director Customer Experience Solutions Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

 

The rise of big data is causing service providers to ask some big questions: How should we store our data? How long should we keep it? What parts of it are relevant to our business? Most importantly, how do we get value from it? To turn big data into a big deal, service providers need to extract insights that can help them make smart business decisions and improve the customer experience.

 

The value of big data is all in what useful and actionable information it can provide. I find it exciting to see how service providers use big data analytics to gain new insights and solve complex problems. With this post, I’ll look at some new research by industry analysts and three key opportunities that big data analytics presents to service providers.
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WebRTC: Where Telecom Meets the Web

By Ed Elkin, Marketing Director, Advanced Communication Solutions, Alcatel-Lucent

WebRTC is giving apps a voice and operators new revenue opportunities.

I communicate all day long, but it’s always bifurcated between voice and the web. Last December's Consumer Electronics Show, however, showed me these two worlds will soon be merging thanks to a new technology called Web Real Time Communications (WebRTC).

Technically, WebRTC equips a browser with a standardized structure for communications clients, consisting of native functions for audio, video, and data exchange -- and that’s cool for the side of me that enjoys technology.  Appealing to my business side, WebRTC is a catalyst for innovation because it reduces the heavy work of interworking clients between devices and browsers, and because it avoids the tedious download and installation of thick, heavy clients.  That combination of technical and business niceties explains why fast movers in the industry are excited by WebRTC.  

The Big Challenge: Extracting Value from Big Data

Knowing what to do — and what can be done — with big data are important key to success. But these things are easier said than done. For its special report on big data, European Communications asked respondents to name the biggest barrier to operators seeking to execute a successful big data strategy. A lack of understanding of the potential that big data presents topped the list, getting the nod from 27% of respondents.

This response highlights the real challenge for service providers: finding ways to extract value and create tangible benefits from big data. Providers have vast amounts of information about customers, networks, services and operations. So how can they monetize it?

Facebook's Signaling Chatter Grows Louder

By Lindsay Newell, VP, Marketing Networks & Platforms Group, Alcatel-Lucent

Our last few blog posts on mobile intelligence focused on how changes to devices and their operating systems can affect both the user experience and the network in positive and negative ways as detected using the 9900 Wireless Network Guardian. Today we will explore the impact of changes introduced by a new version of a popular application.

Last year, Facebook released new versions of their mobile app for Android and iOS. Prior to the new release, Facebook signaling and airtime already accounted for 10% and 15% of the overall load on 2G/3G networks, respectively.  As users around the world updated and started to use this new version, we quickly noticed a dramatic increase of almost 60% in the signaling load and 25% in the airtime consumed by the Facebook application.  During the same period, the number of Facebook users increased by only 4%.   Clearly, it is not the swelling of Facebook’s community that intensified the load, but rather the introduction of new Facebook features for mobile users and underlying platform changes.

Proactive Care Puts Operators One Step Ahead

By Thomas Fuerst, Senior Director, Multimedia Solutions MarketingAlcatel-Lucent

Monitoring and analyzing network data proactively saves operators time, money, and customers.

When a network service fails, it makes headlines, ticks off customers, and costs that network operator money. When a failure is headed off in advance, on the other hand, there might not be praise-laden headlines, but it's newsworthy nonetheless.

The traditional approach to customer care has typically been: a disgruntled customer calls customer service and complains of a service interruption or problem; the rep, learning of it for the first time, sends out a technician the next day, and eventually finds a resolution. Often, customers are left feeling put out, and the operator has spent significant time and money resolving the problem. Even worse is the customer who doesn’t call and just feels this is ‘typical’ of their network experience.  That is a customer at risk of leaving.

Proactive care flips this dynamic on its head by using predictive analytics to identify potential outages or errors in the network and stop them before they occur. It consists of three main parts: one, constantly monitoring and measuring data on the network; two, real-time analysis of the data; and three, the most important, acting on that analysis to fix the problem.

Alcatel-Lucent and World Education Program Help Young Adults Obtain Skills Needed in Workplace

By Mae Kowalke

Equipping young people with the skills to succeed in the work world is important, but without self-confidence no skill set will help a person rise out of poverty or change the world with a breathtaking idea.

That’s one of the lessons that’s been so obvious to Estelle Day as she helps guide Alcatel-Lucent’s global signature program, ConnectEd, as its program director. ConnectEd helps participants, mainly young adults, enter the work world with the education and tools they need to succeed.

“It often strikes me that across all the different contexts that ConnectEd works in, and all the different types and backgrounds of youth, one of the most commonly cited changes brought by the program is self-confidence,” she noted in a recent interview with Bishalakhi Ghosh, the director of the Alcatel-Lucent Foundation that is posted on the Alcatel-Lucent blog site. The Foundation started ConnectEd two years ago with World Education.

Service Providers Cut Costs and Boost Agility by Taking a Cloud Approach to Operations

By Mae Kowalke

The cloud is one of the hottest trends in computing, and communication service providers (CSPs) have an edge when it comes to cloud services. That’s because unlike IT and internet companies, CSPs also control their own network. This gives CSP’s a unique advantage and the carrier cloud a leg up on other offerings.

But the carrier cloud is only one way that CSPs can benefit from the cloud. They also can apply the same technique used with the cloud, namely virtualization, to evolve their own operations.

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