Next Generation Communications Blog

Optical Transport Networks Help Operators Meet Growing Traffic Requirements

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor It has been called the “data storm;” due to increased online video usage, the cloud, and mobile...

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Altair: LTE the Right Choice for M2M & IOT

Some of my early conversations about the M2M and IoT space with carriers had them explaining to me how they love these...

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Speech Analytics - Data Mining Those Recordings

When I was in Vegas for ITExpo, I participated on a Voice Analytics panel at the SmartVoice co-located conference.  Speech /...

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Defending Against an Autocomplete Smear Campaign

What would you do if you started to Google your name and Google was to suggest you complete the query with the...

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VoLTE Versus WebRTC: I didn't know it was a battle

When I talk to customers, they often ask about how WebRTC compares to voice over LTE (VoLTE), and which technology “will...

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These 3 Do Everything Together

At a few shows, including the latest ITEXPO, the 3 big cablecos - TWC, Comcast and Charter - share a booth....

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Modems? In This Day and Age?

Not so many years ago, the only way to connect to the Internet was via a modem. You would use your...

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Utilizing Mobile Smartloading to Offload Peak-Time Bandwidth Demand

By Susan J. Campbell

How important is it to offer multi-screen services? Consumers want real-time access to information and entertainment through rich content delivery on a number of different devices. If their service provider cannot provide the same rich content on each device, they will look for one who can.

For those service providers seeking to launch successful multi-screen services, Alcatel-Lucent has the technical expertise and global experience to make it happen. This company can also provide the tools necessary to handle the bandwidth taxing services consumers want.

How Can You Reduce Network Costs by Migrating to an IP Infrastructure

By David Sims

For mobile operators, according to Alcatel-Lucent officials, "migrating from a tried and tested TDM environment to an all-IP network offers tremendous opportunities in terms of a lower cost base and a richer applications environment." But it also presents technical and operational challenges as well. Implementation strategies available to operators seeking to introduce new standards and IP capabilities in mobile networks need to consider IMS, EPC, LTE, or IP backhaul, as well as ways to increase service capability without compromising service and business continuity.  A full IP infrastructure provides greater network capacity and converged voice and data while reducing the cost of communicating. IP networks can support a host of user-friendly, customer-focused applications. Network costs are greatly reduced with an IP infrastructure as well. Alcatel-Lucent officials say the advantages include having a single infrastructure for voice and data, simplified management, reduced operational costs, a secure infrastructure and high availability. There's also the advantage of having a scalable, flexible deployment for wired and wireless networks and from access to core IP infrastructure, one which Alcatel-Lucent officials say is "easy to integrate with other vendor products through LAN Extension," and one that is "easy to integrate a wide variety of phone applications." And not overlooking the obvious, IP infrastructures allow you to take advantage of flexible, low-cost softphone options. Alcatel-Lucent's IP Transformation for Industry and Public Sector offering is designed to enable migration from standalone voice and data networks - often based on dated and expensive technologies - to a fully converged, state-of-the-art communications network. An integrated IP platform "supports enhanced applications like instant messaging, video, unified messaging and Internet for both fixed and mobile users," company officials say, adding that "this provides an open-standards platform for maximum scalability and interoperability."

What Role Should Service Providers Play in Cloud Computing?

By David Sims According to a recent white paper by Alcatel-Lucent, cloud computing is changing the way consumers and businesses purchase and use a wide range of computing capabilities. It also presents new business models for service providers to consider. "For decades, hardware and software have typically been installed at the end users' premises - and on individual computer devices," the paper finds, adding that "now cloud computing offers a different approach: Applications, platforms and infrastructure are available on demand by using the Internet to connect end users with online services." And although application and content providers were the first to become active in the cloud computing marketplace, the paper discovers "a growing number of network providers are now launching - or announcing - new cloud services." As an example, one Tier 1 operator now offers enterprise services in more than two dozen countries across the globe: "The offerings include on-demand virtualized infrastructure with service level agreements, rapid support and management of off-the-shelf applications." There are advantages to being a service provider when it comes to cloud computing, the paper concludes: Trusted relationships. Network providers assign dedicated teams to work with an enterprise throughout the lifecycle of a product or service, beginning with sales and continuing through after-sales service and support. These collaborations can provide the enterprise with greater control over purchasing processes and increased responsiveness to their unique needs, including 24/7 service support. Reliable operations that scale. While some application and content providers maintain services in a "perpetual preview" state (i.e., beta), network providers carry out extensive testing and certification processes before services are launched. Service level agreements with real impact. Network providers also offer truly "meaningful" service level agreements. That is, they are supported by clear metrics, regular performance monitoring - and financial penalties if the SLA standards are not met.

Using Multi-Vendor Managed Services to Create a Single Point of Accountability

By Susan J. Campbell As a network operator, it is imperative that you have the necessary tools and manpower to manage a number of vendors, maintenance contracts and required skill sets. Your complexity and costs are consistently increased by the continuous need to maintain and upgrade legacy equipment.

With these challenges in place, it is necessary to implement solutions that will reduce your costs, sharpen your focus on services and customers, as well as maintain the quality of your legacy operations. To accomplish this, many network operators are turning to the Alcatel-Lucent Cost Transformation Program.

This program is designed to offer unique multivendor maintenance services, managed services and capacity, as well as tailored IP transformation strategies. Such services and strategies can help you to optimize profits and QoE while also achieving non-linear OPEX reductions as high as 30 percent.

Best Practices for Using On-Demand QoS Upgrades to Improve Network Utilization and Efficiency

By David Sims

Connie Torres, director of market advantage research, Alcatel-Lucent, recently authored a piece titled "Meeting Application Demand Profitably with a Smart Network." She notes that the Information Age "has evolved from a Web 1.0 Read Only environment to a Web 2.0 Read/Write and share world," where networks "have evolved from 2G to 2.5 G to 3G. The growth of broadband has helped to shift user focus from voice and personal communication to multi-media and content communication, and that's just the beginning for a smart network that makes application enablement a reality." The iPhone, Torres says, was the real game-changer: "The increase in data traffic has network providers racing to keep up with the demand for bandwidth, a continuous demand for bigger pipes. The challenge is to do so at a profit and in a way that uses the intelligence of the network - a smart network." But this race isn't just for more bandwidth or greater coverage, it's about creating sustainable business models that allow for the combination of high value network capabilities, Torres maintains, "with the speed and innovation of the Web to provide consumers and enterprises a richer and more trusted Web experience -- what Alcatel-Lucent calls application enablement." There's much in the paper of value for those looking to build smart networks to take advantage of this. One thing Torres focuses on is the value of consumer research. "In the consumer market, a driving force behind much of the growth is youth and young adults," she says. "They are still asking 'why,' 'what if' and 'why not' questions.

IP-Enabled Energy Distribution: Using Smart Utilities to Drive Eco-Efficiencies

By Susan J. Campbell

While a priority focus on environmentally friendly initiatives began some years ago, it wasn't until the concept of "going green" emerged that companies and consumers alike began examining ways to drive system implementations that would deliver sustainable improvements over energy consumption.

This is a growing focus in the utilities sector as utility companies are exploring opportunities to allow consumers to partner with them to help control the amount of energy consumed in any given time frame and by any device or building. Much of this focus has led to the smart grid and Alcatel-Lucent continues to explore opportunities to use smart utilities that will drive eco-efficiencies.

According to a the white paper, "Smart Services: Eco-Sustainable Opportunities for Telecom Operators" developed on behalf of Alcatel-Lucent, Information and Communications Technology (ICT) collaboration is vital for helping other industries to achieve their carbon footprint goals.

GeSI estimates that the involvement of ICT in these industries by 2020 will help to deliver cost avoidance savings that will reach as high as $946.5 billion by reducing consumption of electricity and fuel. To do so, IP-based telecom networks must be the next-generation backbone of these and other industries.

Best Practices for Securely Exposing Network Assets

By David Sims

To continue competing in the marketplace, a recent post from Alcatel-Lucent contends, service providers "must increase their influence on the content delivery value chain by adding unique value to it." Service providers have network assets that offer a quantifiable value to third parties looking to provide consumers services, the post says, adding that "these assets can be used to monetize the massive streams of content and application services that traverse the network." And the first step, naturally, according to Alcatel-Lucent officials, is "to figure out which assets can be used to attract those who design or deliver applications, video streams, and other multimedia services." But security is a big issue here. "Securely exposing control assets to content providers and third-party application developers enables service providers to offer differentiated services to multimedia companies and application developer communities," the post notes. The Alcatel-Lucent Application Enablement vision, company officials say, helps service providers "identify their service capabilities, then expose and package them in a consistent and formalized way, while retaining access control." The company's Application Exposure Suite provides a layer of protection and controlled access, company officials say, "allowing service providers to identify and expose capabilities required to deliver multimedia content, securely via open application program interface constructs, while protecting mission-critical assets." They also offer a Developer Platform that facilitates rapid market entry for service providers and enables frictionless collaboration and support of technical and commercial interactions with application developers, and a Multi-Screen Foundation, which provides capabilities removing much of the complexity behind multimedia service provisioning. Using open SOAP/XML interfaces, then, Alcatel-Lucent officials say there are some services which can be exposed to Web developers: ·         The Multi-screen Head-end, which allows operators to extend asset delivery to any terminal type. ·         Federated identity, which brings subscriber data together into one place. ·         Converged payment, which facilitates e-commerce and flexible payment mechanisms.

Content is King: Choosing the Right Partner Ecosystem to Create High Value Multimedia Services

By Susan J. Campbell For those network operators hoping to drive revenue and profits in this new market, the primary focus must be on rich, quality content delivered whenever and wherever the customer demands it. An inability to do so is putting the customer on the fast track to find another provider, leaving the network operator struggling to find new customers in an intensively competitive industry.

When content is the primary focus, service providers may find themselves struggling with making the change in a way that is successful, profitable and sustainable. One of the best ways to make this change is to leverage a partner ecosystem to create high-value multimedia services.

Think about the direction of the market: Internet content is steadily moving to broadcast TV and online content remarkably resembles TV output. As platforms rapidly converge, the surviving media is searching for a home.

Monetizing the Multimedia Value Chain

By Susan J. Campbell

In the realm of media communications, there is a state of unrest. Multi-channel TV and Internet content distribution has enjoyed strong growth, but something had to be taken down in order for this growth to succeed: incumbent terrestrial public and commercial broadcasters. As a result, these companies are struggling with significant revenue stream and business model issues.

As these companies must change the way they do business to monetize the multimedia value chain, what elements should they consider to get the job done? One option is the pay platform. Free-to-air (FTA) broadcasters can take advantage of the opportunities in this space as the market has long favored the pay-TV business.

Why Brands Will Pay More for Interactive Advertising

By David Sims

The number of IPTV subscribers is accelerating. Which means the need to keep the user experience for IPTV entertainment services at the leading edge is far more acute. If you want to use your IP infrastructure to expand your revenues through personalized and interactive advertising, Alcatel-Lucent offers some tips and helpful advice. You many want to check some of their offerings as well. Since you're positioned between advertisers and the subscriber, you can use your relationships with subscribers and network assets "to create audiences -- helping advertisers reach the right consumer with the right ad at the right time," they advise. "Service providers have begun to tap into the potential revenue of interactive advertising or are planning to," Alcatel-Lucent finds in a comprehensive white paper on the subject. "Nearly half of the service providers surveyed by Heavy Reading are already selling advertising and most of the remaining service providers are either evaluating their strategy or making plans to use some form of advertising soon." And bear in mind that not only does IP technology help you to deliver the ads more efficiently, "you are able to more precisely measure ad performance and IPTV usage, providing your media partners with insight into the consumer to better tailor their advertising and content offerings." That sure sounds like a win-win-win situation, as Alcatel-Lucent says: "The consumer sees ads that are more relevant, the advertisers know they are reaching the right consumer, and you unlock new revenues." In fact, the white paper concludes, "Service providers agree that advertising will become an important revenue stream over the next five years. Over two-thirds of the service providers surveyed expect advertising to generate up to 10 percent of their revenue in the next five years.
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