Next Generation Communications Blog

IBM, Mitel, Wearable Tech round out Latest ITEXPO News

Its been an amazing ITEXPO so far - wow. In case you missed some of the happenings from day 1, here are...

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3 Reasons UC Deployments Fail

Just getting ink on a Unified Communications deal is just the beginning. So many deployments go wrong or worse the company...

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Small Cells are Key to Attracting and Keeping SMB and Large Enterprise Customers

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

To say that operators of macro-cellular physical networks are facing all type of challenges these days would be an understatement.  These range from spectrum scarcity issues, competitive pricing pressures, the need to build out LTE networks ASAP as platforms for new services and to meet the insatiable appetite of users for things like streamed and real-time video, getting ready for the Internet of Things (IoT) etc.  They also are busy figuring out how to keep users, particularly enterprise users on their smart devices always and all ways on their networks in an increasingly fickle world where alternatives abound, including for value-added traffic lost to Over-the-Top (OTT) providers.  

It is to keep enterprise customers on the mobile service provider networks for enhanced services that good in-building wireless solutions are seen as both a powerful business tool and a competitive advantage.  This is particularly true when it comes to retaining small-to-medium business customers (SMBs).

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Changing the SIM game

The iPad Air 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular models comes with a SIM  that “gives you the flexibility to choose from...

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WebRTC and the Enterprise

I was reading an article titled, “How WebRTC can serve the Enterprise” but when I originally saw the headline I thought...

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Jeff Pulver, Andy Abramson, Craig Walker, Alon Cohen, Mike Tribolet, Andy Voss and Danny Windham at ITEXPO Next Week

Panel to celebrate 20 years of IP communications/VoIP and discuss its future. Next week at the 29th ITEXPO, I get the pleasure...

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Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes on Importance of Bringing Ultra-Broadband to Africa

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

It may be almost cliché to say we live in a global economy, but many times when globalization is discussed the focus is on developed and emerging markets and not that often, if at all, on under-developed regions.  In fact, in the past few years until the recent drop in oil prices, much of the financial community’s and economic development interests has been focused on the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa).  This leaves out not just most of South America, but the promising rest of Africa which contains a wealth of rare minerals and other natural resources waiting to be literally and figuratively mined.

However, for most of the African continent countries to move from under-developed status, along with toward political stability and having a educated citizenry, infrastructure needs to be in place which it currently is not. This means not just giving the populace access to clean water and energy, but in a digital world ubiquitous and affordable access to businesses and individuals to high-speed broadband communications is now not just a foundation but a pre-condition that is essential for moving ahead.  

In this regard it is enlightening, refreshing and significant that Alcatel-Lucent CEO Michel Combes recently wrote a corporate blog stressing the company’s interest in working with governments and commercial interests to help accelerate economic development across the continent.  This about not just about the Oscar winning movie of several years ago “Out of Africa”, but is also about around, into and across Africa. 

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Video Surveillance: Minimizing Cost and Maximizing Return on Investment

By Mae Kowalke

The use of video surveillance as a public safety and security tool is growing. Partially, that’s because homeland security regulations and initiatives around the world are driving deployment. It’s also because high capacity wireless data networks have brought down the cost of infrastructure to the point where the ability to provide comprehensive coverage is practical and cost-effective.

However, it should be noted that the initial investment and operation and maintenance costs of video surveillance can be significant. This is highlighted by the fact that protection responsibility is shifting from police/military to infrastructure owners.

“In the US energy market, for example, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation-Critical Infrastructure Protection regulations require that utilities tightly control access to their most important infrastructure,” notes Sheridan Nye, Senior Analyst at Informa Telecoms and Media’s Enterprise Verticals practice, in a LifeTalk article, “Is Video Surveillance Worth the Investment?

Mathematical Processing Explores the Benefits of Georedundancy

By Susan J. Campbell

Businesses throughout the world rely on their networks to support business processes, run applications and drive revenue for long-term sustainability. As a result, the importance of the network is amplified. The network and the data it maintains must be redundant to ensure optimization in the event of a failure. For this, Alcatel-Lucent recommends the benefits of georedundancy.

A recent article in Alcatel-Lucent’s TechZine by Randee Adams, Consulting Member of Technical Staff, Eric Bauer, Reliability Engineering Manager, and Daniel Eustace, Distinguished Member of Technical Staff entitled, “Availability Benefits of Georedundancy,” explores the enhanced service availability and client-initiated recovery possible with geographically redundant systems. With breakthrough mathematical modeling, a deeper understanding of the availability boost provided by such systems is enabled, while also identifying opportunities for optimization. And, lest we forget, the business continuity assurance it provides in the wake of a major disaster event.

Opt-In Mobile Marketing Strategy: 6 Tips for Success

By Susan J. Campbell

As consumers, we are constantly on the go with a mobile device of some kind in our hand providing directions, connection with a colleague or access to the data we need to close the big deal. The same device guides our social lives as we’ve come to rely on smart devices to manage our activities, content and connections. For brands, this provides the perfect opportunity to develop an Opt-In Mobile Marketing Strategy.

A recent blog by Mihai Vlad of Alcatel-Lucent’s Optism unit entitled, Thinking Human: Six Steps for Building a Successful Opt-In Mobile Marketing Strategy, highlights the opportunity that exists with the proliferation of the mobile phone as the must-have device. By developing an Opt-In Mobile Marketing Strategy, mobile operators, marketers and their brands can ask permission before engaging with consumers. In doing so, it provides unprecedented access to the consumer’s attention and the opportunity to build trust.

Responding to Railway Security Through Partnerships

By Erin Harrison

In the face of global threats and terrorist acts, collaboration and sharing best practices can help railway operators optimize their security capabilities. In addition, improving rail security by upgrading communications capabilities allows railroad providers a single, high-capacity network that can support multiple applications.  In fact, such new applications improve the transportation experience for customers and enable railroads to keep existing riders and attract new ones.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent article in its TrackTalk e-zine for railways communications enttitled, “Partnerships are the key to a secure railway,” looked at how the rail industry is responding to the security challenges of the 21st century with solutions such as IP MPLS broadband networks and CCTV systems.


 

Sao Paulo Policia Militar Improves Video Surveillance, Saves Money with LTE

By Mae Kowalke

 

Video surveillance is one technology that law enforcement officials increasingly rely on use to protect public safety. But, traditional hardwired systems are expensive, time-consuming to set up, and often produce unreliable results.

As an alternative, agencies in the U.S. and elsewhere are turning to 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) networks for the creation, deployment and expansion of sophisticated video surveillance networks.   

A good example is Polícia de Estado de So Paulo (São Paulo State Military Police)—the agency charged with crime prevention, order maintenance, traffic control, and firefighting in Brazil’s most populous state.  As highlighted in a recent article in the Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) e-zine LifeTalk, it has been experimenting with an ALU supplied LTE network.

Balancing Security and Privacy Using 4G LTE Enabled Video Surveillance


By Mae Kowalke

When it comes to public safety, how much oversight and surveillance is enough, and how much is too much? Where do you draw the line between safety and invasion of privacy? These are questions policymakers and law enforcement officials struggle with every day. There are usually no easy answers.

A good starting point is to look at the role technologies like video surveillance can play in public safety, and what applications such technologies are most effective for particularly for providing an adequate degree of situational awareness.

Video surveillance is very prevalent in the U.K. where the typical person is recorded 20 times a day.  It is gaining ground in the U.S. where post-9/11 has made people feel less safe and created a desire to have their “guardians” always watching in public spaces. However, omnipresence for the sake of security has a price. It does invade personal privacy. 

This concern has only grown as sophisticated video and network technologies like 4G LTE— which is increasingly the technology of choice for massively deployed machine-to-machine (M2M) monitoring solutions— enable video can be not just automatically captured but also quickly analyzed to, for example, use facial recognition to ID a person or check a license plate against records in a database.

Improving Network Efficiency with Preloaded evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS)

By Mae Kowalke

One of the challenges faced by mobile network service providers deploying 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) is using it to deliver popular multimedia content to a mass audience in the most efficient and effective manner. In the past, operators had two options: unicast or broadcast.

For those unfamiliar with the terms, below is a brief description of each:

  • Unicast — the sending content to a single network destination, with a unique address.  It is a one-to-one method of distribution. Traditionally, unicast has been when each individual recipient wanted or needed different content.
  • Broadcast — as the name implies, is sending the same content to all possible destinations, e.g., it is a one-to-many or one-to-all method of distribution. The obvious downside of broadcast is that everyone receives identical content.

Recently, a new technology call evolved multimedia broadcast multicast service (eMBMS) entered the scene.  It makes possible the efficient broadcasting of content only to interested recipients. An added attraction is that eMBMS is highly scalable.  It uses only a fraction of the capacity compared with unicast. This gives operators the best of both worlds: the flexibility of unicast and the efficiency of broadcast.

IMS Provides Eco-Efficiency Choices, Creates New Revenue Opportunities

By Erin Harrison

Two opposing forces are driving the need for more efficient use of energy – the increased use of mobile device coupled with the power needed to sustain their use are necessitating that the telecom industry step up its efforts to improve eco-efficiency overall.

Given the trend of increased demands of today’s mobile users – and the proliferation of new and different end-user applications and devices – an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is a smart choice for service providers who are also looking for new revenue opportunities.

“Consumers are no longer content with a simple telephone; they want broadband and accessibility, wherever they are, on any device they choose. They want access to information, plus instant and reliable communications,” a recent whitepaper by Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), “Alcatel-Lucent IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS): Eco-efficiency Makes Economic Sense,” points out.

LTE Service Provider Solution: Reduce Cost, Increase Efficiency with Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS)

By Mae Kowalke

Mobile network operators are always looking for new ways to more efficiently use their existing infrastructure without making large capital expenditures. With the explosion of tablets and smartphones, which will increasingly be used for a variety of video applications, streamed as well as interactive, use of a 4G LTE channel for delivering multicast services such as mobile TV is viewed as one way to do so. The reason is simple. It enables network operators to offer mobile TV without the need for additional expensive licensed spectrum and without requiring new infrastructure and end-user devices that might be required to unicast content.

 

A recent Alcatel-Lucent TechZine article, “eMBMS for More Efficient Use of Spectrum,” describes the enhancements to LTE specifications that have been standardized to accommodate rapidly changing user demands and concomitant network requirements. Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) is now a multicast standard for 4G LTE precisely because it allows one-to-many distribution of video content.

Improving Safety for Train Passengers with Video Surveillance and Other Technology

By Mae Kowalke

Sustaining a successful public transportation system, such as train service, depends on that system being both convenient and safe. For train passengers, especially women, safety (both actual and perceived) can be a major issue.

In a recent article in TRACKTALK, “What puts women off using the train?” Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris, Associate Dean at University of California Los Angeles’ School of Public Affairs and Urban Planning, shined a light on the critical role video surveillance and passenger information systems (PIS) can play in helping female travelers feel safe. As she noted, “Dark and deserted stations and trains are understandably off-putting and can encourage people to seek alternative means of transport, or even not travel at all, to avoid feeling threatened, or in some instances becoming a victim of crime.”

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