Next Generation Communications Blog

Why E-Mail Sucks and How to Make it Smarter

Many of us live in email. I get hundreds per day and I need almost every message. I am also a source...

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The Contact Center's Seemingly Oxymoronic Play: How to Decrease Costs Yet Improve Customer Service

I was recently asked to talk to some of our many contact center customers about the new contact center trends.  It...

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The New Facet of Customer Experience Management - Field Service 2.0

By: Rhodo Odysseos, Product/Solution Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent, and Jess Verbruggen, Motive Integrated Marketing Assistant, Alcatel-Lucent

Traditionally, communications service providers (CSPs) have treated the field service aspect of their organization as a cost center. Field technicians engaged in maintenance activities were simply a part of the cost of doing business.  More recently, the communications industry in general and the field service arena in particular, has been disrupted by immense changes in the customer profile, service expectations, and behaviors.

Field service is often the only face of the company that a customer will ever see, so it’s not a surprise that CSPs are striving to make a positive impact on customers in this realm. Achieving full potential in field service saves CSPs a lot of time and money. Productivity and efficiency reviews targeted at field service operations, done correctly, can reinforce other areas of the business by increasing customer satisfaction and improving safety and quality. 

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Amazon Fire Phone Should be a Laptop

I’ve written a lot of headlines in my life but this one is among the oddest. Why on earth does a phone...

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Apple Pay Vs. Google Wallet

Replacing credit cards can likely only be done if the new system is dead-easy to use and it moreover has to be...

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Signaling Offers Great Differentiation for Mobile Value-Added Service Offerings

We’ve all heard that some Value Added Services (VAS) revenue such as Short Message Service (SMS) are starting to decline in...

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Birdstep Improves Wireless User Experience, Reduces Churn

A smartphone user can get tripped up easily when in motion as today’s smartphones look for WiFi networks to connect to and...

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WebRTC Event Highlights the New Era of Communications

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

Sure enough, upon arriving at the WebRTC Conference and Expo, it’s clear this is the same stretch of Cobb Parkway where I came every few weeks to the AT&T SDN Control Center – for 1993’s version of SDN.  Then as now, better enterprise communications were needed.  In 1993, the substance of the WebRTC’s conference was a dream, which now becomes 2013’s reality because of two decades’ investment in terrific devices, convenient broadband access and dynamic network cores. 

This was a hot conference, full of diverse views and ideas. At our live demo table, variation was the norm. Visitors spanned from numerous service providers (AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, Cox, Orange, NTT, etc.), to a variety of startups such as Dvisor Hypermedia who are applying gaming’s threaded media to communications, to industry notables such as Intel checking out WebRTC for consumer media units.  Not many enterprises were visibly present, which is a concern because WebRTC will boost their business process efficiency (internal and external) and they need to prepare for how it affects their competitiveness. 

Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: Application-Based Plans

In this fourth installment of the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series, Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe examines application-based data plans. These plans let mobile subscribers use specific applications without consuming their data allowance.

Removing the worry from mobile application use

How would you like to use your favorite mobile applications without having to worry about going over your data limit and paying overage fees? That’s the idea behind application-based data plans. You pay a monthly fee to use one or more specific applications as much as you want. The data consumed by these applications doesn’t count against your data plan. In some cases, your mobile network operator may decide to make selected applications available without impacting your data plan in exchange for a very nominal fee.

Two categories of applications are particularly well suited to application-based pricing. The first are data-hungry applications, like video and multimedia. Today, some consumers use these applications sparingly because they fear going over data limits and incurring overage charges. The second includes core applications that don’t consume much data, such as text-only e-mail or social networking. These applications may be used to introduce subscribers to the world of mobile data.

Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: Shared Data Plans

Mobile data: It’s nice to share

From an early age, we’re taught that it’s nice to share. With time, we learn the value of sharing things like cookies, good books and the wisdom that comes from experience. But what about sharing mobile data? Do consumers want to share their mobile data? What would this look like?

Keeping Up With the Modern-Day Nomads

By Philip Carden, Head of Alcatel-Lucent Consulting Services

Meet the digital nomads, a growing group of heavy mobile data users that's redefining how service providers think about connectivity.

There is a small, but growing, new class of data users amongst us. You've likely spotted one – that man hunched over a laptop at your neighborhood coffee shop, the woman swiping through a tablet in the park, or even that teen on the train whose eyes are glued to a video on his larger-than-average smartphone.

They are the digital nomads. Unlike the hunters and gatherers of the past, these nomads are always connected, regardless of where they are, and their expectations for connectivity have never been higher.

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?

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