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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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.

Motive Machine-to-Machine Platform Helps Deliver on the Promise of M2M

It is fashionable to talk about the Internet of Things, also known as machine-to-machine (M2M) communications. And for all its hype, M2M is growing and starting to reach some of its promise.

But only a little of its promise.

The most futuristic M2M scenarios remain largely limited to intranets of things, ranging from the home to the intelligent city, production systems such as electricity, or just stand-alone intelligent objects intended to provide dedicated services.

“Such cases are still relatively simple, with a limited range of objects and behaviors which are generally designed and calibrated in advance,” noted Mathieu Boussard of Bell Labs recently in an interesting posting, The Internet of Things, a natural (r)evolution.

Pennsylvania Healthcare Provider UPMC Upgrading Infrastructure based on Alcatel-Lucent 7950 XRS

By Susan J. Campbell

The need for better business intelligence is the driving force behind the momentum in businesses around the world to look at adoption of “big data” solutions.  However, not all big data solutions are the same, and their applications in various markets must be customized since data capture and management in areas like healthcare must adhere to strict rules and regulations.

With this as context of its consideration of how best move to next generation communications capabilities, UPMC, a Western Pennsylvania healthcare provider, turned to Alcatel-Lucent to upgrade its IP and optical networking capabilities, starting at its core, so it could better accommodate and leverage the large data sets that are gathered on a regular basis.  And, at the HIMSS event in the U.S., the annual conference and exposition for healthcare information technology professionals and their suppliers, UPMC’s selection of Alcatel-Lucent to better enable critical communications services to doctors’ offices, hospitals and other sites throughout Western Pennsylvania was announced.

The Operational Imperative in the New Era of Mobile Data Personalization

By Patrick McCabe

The growth of mobile data is driving significant revenue at various Internet and Over-the-The Top (OTT) companies such as Amazon, Apple, Google, Facebook not to mention with various VOIP, video and content providers.  The mobile service provider, who provides mobile Internet user’s connectivity to these companies, has yet to capitalize on this growth.  To make this situation even more challenging the service provider’s voice and SMS revenues, historically representing over 70% of their total revenue, are flattening and are being slowly replaced with OTT versions of these services as found by mobiThinking.

However, there is a clear market demand to empower mobile users with a simplification of the mobile broadband experience while offering data usage transparency.  There is also a demand to provide data services that are specifically tailored to the individual and their particular lifestyles and usage patterns.  This is where the opportunity lies for the service provider.  They need to “transform” their business to take advantage of this new ”mobile data frontier” by meeting consumer driven requirements while creating new and innovative streams of revenue.

Innovation Allows Broadband to Get to Fast Faster

By Susan Campbell

Demands on broadband providers have been nothing short of intense the last few years. The predicted “data storm” has arrived and users now expect more flexibility, capability, quality performance, and access to rich applications and features. This can be a challenge for service providers trying to meet the need, but is also creating new opportunities and revenue streams when challenges are overcome to improve service delivery overall.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent blog, Connecting the World – from Innovation to Reality, highlights these opportunities. Author Dave Geary, President Alcatel-Lucent Wireline, points out the socio-economic benefits of broadband. And, while we’re aware of the increase in mobility and growing demand for access, there are also a few other stats that may be surprising for some vendors, including that wirelines still mater.

EARTH Consortium Shows the Way to 70 Percent Energy Savings on Wireless Networks

By Mae Kowalke

They wanted to reduce the energy consumption of mobile networks by half. Instead, they developed a framework that cut nearly three quarters of energy consumption.

Led by Alcatel-Lucent and Ericsson over the course of two and a half years, the EARTH (Energy Aware Radio and neTwork tecHnologies) consortium of 15 telecommunications providers, vendors and academic institutions developed everything from more efficient components in radio base stations to solutions on the radio network level, according to a press release from Alcatel-Lucent. The research was partially funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program (FP7).

In the process, the consortium demonstrated how operators could save up to 70 percent of energy consumed in their networks using a holistic energy efficiency approach for 4G radio communications.

Seven Steps to Assess Eco-Impact of ICT

By Susan J. Campbell

As much as we have come to rely on communications technologies to stay connected and streamline business processes, those providing the access must still pay attention to the impact on the environment. Eco-sustainability in fact is emerging not just as an issue of being a good corporate neighbor, but as important for being a preferred provider of products and services.  This is why it has become important that the telecommunications industry use a uniform protocol for measuring the eco-impact of its services and networks.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent TechZine article, Seven Steps to Greater Green House Gas Awareness in ICT, explored this topic. It highlights the new global standards designed to create a unified approach to the measurement of green house gas emissions. Focus is on current life cycle assessment tools such as those developed by Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) which can be employed by ICT vendors, particularly the telecom ones, for estimating the eco-impact of services and/or networks in a meaningful and actionable way.

Motive Mobile Device Manager Key to Better and More Cost-Effective Customer Experiences

By Mae Kowalke

The customer service challenge for cellular providers is clear.

Numerous research firms have recently published studies estimating that smartphones currently make up half of all mobile phone purchases globally and that number is expected to reach 75 percent by 2013. This is context for what is a vexing industry challenge. It turns out that more than half of all customer service calls to mobile service operators now deal with the difficult technical problems that can come from smartphones, such as mobile internet, and 63 percent of returned phones are not actually faulty.

In fact, a recent Yankee Group study notes that technical difficulties now represent a bigger percentage of call center volume than billing issues. They also represent a huge financial drain on operators.  A single support call, for example, can cost a provider roughly a month’s worth of customer profit.  This means finding ways to effectively address device configuration and service provisioning is more crucial than ever.

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