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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New Revenue Opportunities Possible with the New Conversation Experience


By Susan Campbell

Service provider (SP) revenues are taking significant revenue hits from application and content providers (ACPs) as the disaggregation of content from physical access shifts value generation opportunities toward third parties.  At the same time SPs are also attempting to ward off “free” offerings, such as people using things like Skype for making phone calls who are willing to put up with inferior quality, by attracting people to superior services they will pay a premium for.  The challenge, which every day gains more urgency, is how to react to both trends. 

The objective is to be relevant and central in evolving ecosystems and thereby be in a position to maximize new opportunities while minimizing risks. The vehicle for turning things around is embodied in the desirability of creating a new conversation experience with customers based on a holistic strategic approach.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent article, The Value of the New Conversation Experience highlighted the need for service providers to increase the average revenue per user and reduce churn, two of the major revenue corrosive issues. It focused on the reality that to accomplish these goals, SPs must quickly bring to market enhanced service bundles and also rapidly introduce innovative service offerings with compelling and differentiated perceivable value as critical to combating free services.

Permission-Based Mobile Marketing Strategies Hold Value for Advertisers, Operators and Consumers

By Beecher Tuttle

The influx of smartphones, tablets and next-generation networks has created a number of new ways for brands and marketing agencies to reach consumers. Unfortunately, many of today's mobile marketing techniques fail to engage consumers, who often find the advertisements to be bothersome, intrusive and unrelated to their interests.

One innovative and effective way to bridge this gap is a strategy called permission-based mobile marketing, a targeted advertising technique that changes the marketing paradigm by creating a dialogue with consumers, rather than an invasive, one-sided monologue.

The basic premise of permission-based mobile marketing is rather simple: users opt-in and give their consent for brands to send them targeted, preference-based marketing materials for products and services that they are interested in. If executed properly, a permission-based mobile marketing strategy can create value for brands, agencies, consumers and mobile network operators.

Ensuring the Future of the Smart Grid


By Susan Campbell

Our growing reliance on energy has sparked a new focus on how to make consumption more efficient. The Smart Grid has emerged as an important focus in this space, projected to impact the business landscape, the energy marketplace and even the ways in which we interact.

According to a recent Alcatel-Lucent article, EPB Chattanooga: Customers at the Center of the Smart Grid’s Future, smart grids will also enhance convenience and control within the industrialized world while positive social progress is enabled in developing countries. The level of skill with which energy providers are able to manage change will determine when and how well the benefits of smart grid technology will gain traction.

SIP CLF Will Simplify Network Management, Call Tracking and Troubleshooting

By Beecher Tuttle

Assessing the performance of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) servers in a multi-vendor environment is a difficult proposition for today's service providers. This issue is mostly due to the lack of common SIP call log standards, a reality that allows vendors to develop call logs based on their own format.

The myriad of call log formats acts as a barrier for service providers that want to review SIP transactions across multiple vendors, evaluate and troubleshoot their servers, and analyze call trends.

Fortunately, the answer to this concern – SIP CLF – has already been developed and is currently in the process of being standardized by the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

Identity Shift -- What a New Book says About Us and the Future


By Peter Bernstein

With Facebook about to pass the 1 billion user mark, YouTube taking the #2 rank as a global search engine, Zynga having gone IPO and Twitter on the way, the total of mobile phone devices having blown past the number of wired ones, three things have become apparent:

  1. With progress toward a world that is always on and all ways connected (think of this as ubiquitous and continuous communications meets pervasive computing) a look back at just the past five years by anyone demonstrates how much ICT has already transformed the ways we work and live.
  2. To use a common phrase, “we ain’t seen nothing yet.”  The pace of change is accelerating.
  3. In the process the nature of who we are and how we interact with the world, especially our virtual personae will have profound implications.

All of this and more is captured in a fascinating new book,  Identity Shift: Where Identity Meets Technology in the Networked-Community Age,  written by leading market research experts, Allison Cerra and Christina James, from Alcatel-Lucent.  The second in “The Shift” series of Web 2.0 analyses, this latest edition looks at consumer behavior across all the key stages of life and how they are influenced by communications technologies.

Leveraging Social Media to Create Revenue from New Markets

By Erin Harrison 

In order for service providers and enterprises to gain a competitive edge, they must tap into their innovation resources on a continual basis – not just looking at technical or service-related angles, but also taking into account new markets brought on by the advent of social media.

However, according to a recent Alcatel-Lucent whitepaper, Creating Revenue from Adjacent Markets with Social Advertising, “in an application and content market characterized by proliferation, innovation can happen anywhere, from any aspect of the business. It is critical to consider which business models, use cases and business cases can deliver innovation to all value chain participants: consumers, enterprises, advertisers, strategic industries and service providers.”

Service providers that carefully consider their assets and use them to construct innovative adjacent market offers have the opportunity to generate more revenue therefore leading to higher average revenue per user (ARPU) from businesses and consumers.

Having a coordinated and comprehensive innovation plan can create positive business outcomes for all involved partners.

The Future Economy of the Smart Grid


By Erin Harrison 

With the world’s overall energy demand increasing by what seems to be the hour, deployment of smart grids presents new opportunities for utilities and service providers – but first they need to weigh all the factors involved in the future of smart grid.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global energy demand is expected to rise by nearly 40 percent between now and 2035, as cited in a recent Alcatel-Lucent article, “Anticipating the Future’s Smart Grid Economy.”

Power utilities are indeed presented with new revenue opportunities, but they need to determine how they fit in to the future Smart Grid.

A New Conversation Experience Demands New Go-To-Market Strategies


By Susan Campbell

The time is right for service providers to recognize new opportunities in converged services strategies as we consistently move toward an all-IP world. With convergence in place, the flexibility to deliver new services and business models is enabled. At the same time, a holistic, go-to-market strategy is essential to support new opportunities in this space.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent article, Converged Services Go To Market stresses that service development is key to staying competitive in today’s market. With constantly changing dynamics, it’s critical that service providers participate the right way in the right markets. The traditional methods for doing business have to evolve to include multi-sided business models that support more sophisticated settlement models, partner ecosystems, new delivery channels and new ways to measure success.

IPv6 Adoption Demands Clear Service Provider Strategy


By Susan Campbell

The constant growth of the Internet is demanding the adoption of IPv6 and service providers must be ready with a clear strategy. Each one must be able to effectively navigate multiple technology choices and issues to define the best approach, understanding the implications and deployment options for IPv6 in both mobile and telecom environments.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent article, Making the Move to IPv6, stresses the importance of developing an IPv6 transition strategy as IPv4 addresses are nearly exhausted. Service providers have much work to do as IPv6 isn’t compatible with the technology in IPv4, introducing a number of new concepts that will change the way broadband networks are operated.

The Social Impact of the Future Smart Grid

By Erin Harrison

While much progress has been made with today’s smart grid, the smart grid of the future will impact our business landscape, the energy marketplace and the ways in which we interact socially and culturally.

The smart grid’s largest social impact will be seen in developing nations, notes Christine Hertzog, managing director of the Smart Grid Library, in a posting “Managing Change for the Smart Grid.” Hertzog states that approximately 2.4 billion people of the world live in energy poverty – what she terms a “permanent blackout.”

In addition, the smart grid will enhance control and convenience in the industrialized world while allowing for social progress in developing nations, according to smart grid experts. When and how well these benefits gain traction will depend on how skillfully today’s energy providers manage change.


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