Next Generation Communications Blog

Boingo, GigSky, XCom: Why my Europe Connectivity was Awesome

A while back, I had a chance to go to MWC (news and analysis) in Barcelona, Spain and like many of you...

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WebRTC Disruption is Reaching IMS and Catching the 3GPP's Attention, But Where is eMRF?

The 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP), the uniting body of telecom standard development organizations, has taken notice of WebRTC. And that...

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This is How You Do Social Media!

I received a surprise package at my doorstep today from Bright House. It seems that my tweeting about the Tampa Bay...

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The Wearable Tech Futures

Amid all the noise about the growing Internet of Things market comes the announcement that Nike is disbanding its FuelBand team....

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Why Pivot?

In business, a pivot is a strategy change (especially in Lean Startup processes). When you look at brick-and-mortar companies like RadioShack,...

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Thoughts on the Industry Right Now

All the forecasts: have any of them been accurate? Or is it just a way to sell reports? If it is,...

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Hosted PBX Sales Increasing

Blame some of it on the TDM-to-IP transition, but a lot of the reason that Hosted PBX sales are increasing is...

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Alcatel-Lucent Brings Next-Gen Communications to Emerging Markets

Even in the midst of a global economic downturn, the use of technology to gain access to information is still a key differentiator that shrinks the globe and enables entrepreneurs to succeed. Communication -- be it voice or a data application like e-mail or IM -- is a differentiator that many in the Western world take for granted, but the competitive advantage that secure communications and productivity increases might afford users is still a new frontier to many in the developing world.   Alcatel-Lucent announced a pair of deployments this week -- one in Tunisia and one in Mongolia -- that will bring the benefits of enhanced communications and increased productivity to customers in those nations.   In partnership with Research in Motion (RIM) and regional service providers Alcatel-Lucent is bringing the BlackBerry service to those locales. At launch, TUNISIE TELECOM will offer its customers the BlackBerry Pearl 8100, BlackBerry Pearl 8120, BlackBerry Curve 8320, BlackBerry 8800 and BlackBerry Bold 9000 smartphones as well as service on BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Internet Service.  

  Based on its distribution agreement with RIM, Alcatel-Lucent will leverage its strong local presence in the region to provide TUNISIE TELECOM the end-to-end implementation, launch, and on-going support for delivering the BlackBerry solution to the Tunisian market.   And working with RIM and Mobicom, Alcatel-Lucent is leveraging BlackBerry smartphone-based solutions to offer residents of Mongolia mobile access to a wide variety of business and leisure applications on the move, enabling access to e-mail and the Web, as well as the ability to make phone calls, send and receive text and picture messages.   At launch Mobicom will offer customers the BlackBerry Bold smartphone as well as service plans for BlackBerry Enterprise Server and BlackBerry Internet Service.  

More Good News for Alcatel-Lucent

Recently we noted that Alcatel-Lucent was enjoying a measure of success in the Enterprise PBX space, with Infonetics reporting that Alcatel-Lucent realized PBX equipment revenue gains in Q4, growing 13% sequentially, as compared with the general market growth of 1.1%   Well it seems that the company is enjoying growth on the Service Provider side of their business as well.   Alcatel-Lucent announced that, according to data from Dell'Oro, it has considerably strengthened its market position in the Service Provider Edge Router market segment. According to Dell'Oro, in the second half of 2008, Alcatel-Lucent continued to grow in the edge router segment - gaining more than three percentage points to reach 17.6 percent market share - while the other top-three vendors either dropped significantly or were flat.   The report authors attribute Alcatel-Lucent's success to growth in consumer IPTV and Internet services, increased Internet traffic - particularly video - evolution of mobile core and backhaul networks to IP, and an expanding market for Ethernet and IP VPN services.

Alcatel-Lucent Delivers Service Enablement Platform

Carriers are always on the lookout for ways to better serve their customers and, let's face it, generate more revenue. Alcatel-Lucent today announced a solution that will enable carriers to do both via a new directory server that will serve as the centralized real time storage platform designed to enable carriers to leverage subscriber data to enhance service quality and reduce time to market for new revenue generating services.   According to the official news release, Alcatel-Lucent announced the 8661 Directory Server, a high-performance service enablement platform for the creation of personalized Web 2.0 and communications services over wireline and mobile networks.   The solution, developed by UnboundID Corporation and sold to service providers exclusively by Alcatel- Lucent, acts as a centralized real-time storage platform for subscriber data. The 8661 is network independent and is able to simultaneously enhance a variety of services including mobile media, entertainment, social networking, advertisement and productivity applications through the centralization of personal, identity, and privacy preference user information - securely and in real time.   According to Peter Mottishaw, Principle Analyst, OSS Observer, "Alcatel-Lucent's 8661 Directory Server complements the Alcatel-Lucent Subscriber Data Management portfolio and will allow communication service providers to rapidly create highly personalized applications. Directory services are becoming increasingly important to the creation and delivery of personalized services and an area where service providers can add value. By bringing to market a high performance Directory Server, Alcatel-Lucent is in a strong position to bridge the subscriber data divide between the network and IT domains."   For more information visit Alcatel-Lucent online.

Alcatel-Lucent Exec Sees Return To Profitability

According to French newspaper Les Echos, an Alcatel-Lucent executive is optimistic that the telecom equipment maker will see a return to profitability by the latter part of next year.   Paul Tufano, the company's chief financial officer was quoted in the paper as saying, "Regarding net income, we expect to return to profits during 2010, most likely in the second-half of the year."   Back in December company CEO Ben Verwaayen unveiled Alcatel-Lucent's strategic plan, which called for working closely with Alcatel-Lucent's service provider, enterprise and application partners to -- as Verwaayen said -- "innovate, collaborate and partner... to stimulate a sustainable business model for the industry that will fuel innovation and the capital investment required to expand the overall web experience to more people and businesses."   At the time, company officials offered a break-even forecast in terms of operating profit in 2009.   As TMCnet's Greg Galitzine wrote in the December piece:   In 2010, Alcatel-Lucent is targeting to achieve a gross margin in the mid thirties range and an operating margin in the mid single-digit range, and looking ahead to 2011, the goal of the company is to achieve a gross margin in the mid to high thirties range and an operating margin in the mid to high single-digit range.   Alcatel-Lucent received a measure of positive news from an R. W. Baird recommendation upgrade, from Neutral to Outperform. A recent Barron's article quoted the analyst team at Baird, who believe the risk/reward profile is attractive.   Alcatel-Lucent's balance sheet is probably the biggest concern for investors, but we believe its complexity has deterred investors from analyzing it in detail. Our analysis suggests the company's liquidity position is not overly concerning and balance-sheet risks may be overestimated by the market.   Alcatel's cash position is in reasonable shape and will receive a welcome injection of net cash in the second quarter when the company sells its stake in [European military-tech firm] Thales for 1.6 billion euros.

Alcatel-Lucent Enables WiMAX Deployment in Spain

Alcatel-Lucent is committed to the emerging fourth-generation of wireless. And they seem to like Spain as a venue for making 4G-related news.   Last month in Barcelona, Alcatel-Lucent made the headlines when Verizon Wireless named them to a select group of primary network vendors for its initial LTE network deployments in the United States. The company also announced a new LTE software module in Barcelona.   Today Alcatel-Lucent announced a WiMAX deployment with Iberian broadband communications service provider Iberbanda, a provider specializing in serving the nation's rural areas (the plain, in Spain, if you will...).   Iberbanda has deployed its first pilot network using Alcatel-Lucent's WiMAX 802.16-e (Rev-e) wireless broadband technology.   To showcase the new technology, a specially equipped bus is driving around Iberbanda's R&D center in Malaga testing mobile Internet access and other services such as voice over IP (VoIP) or video surveillance. This pilot is designed to validate simultaneous use of a WiMAX network by a variety of applications.   According to the official announcement, Iberbanda's bus is equipped with WiMAX CPE with WiFi functionality so that multiple devices can be connected en route. The CPE is connected to a WiMAX base station enabling Internet access at 18 Mb/s download and 3 Mb/s upload speeds.

Alcatel-Lucent Sees IP PBX Growth

Yesterday, Infonetics Research announced its Q4 (2008) Enterprise Telephony report.

 

Amid the gloom of the global economic malaise, which in the fourth quarter of 2008 saw the worldwide enterprise telephony market drop 14% sequentially to $2.3 billion, Alcatel-Lucent enjoyed some success.

 

The Infonetics report illustrated that revenue is down for all types of equipment including pure IP PBX, hybrid PBX, and TDM PBX, and that the main reason for the decline is the lack of new business creation and business expansion courtesy of a weak worldwide economy.

 

However, in the face of all this negative news, the report also found that Alcatel-Lucent realized PBX equipment revenue gains in Q4, growing 13% sequentially, which far outstrips the year-over-year, overall PBX market growth of 1.1%. The IP PBX segment continues to improve while sales of traditional TDM gear continue to shrink.  Pure IP PBX revenue grew 25% worldwide in 2008.

 

According to Matthias Machowinski, Directing Analyst, Enterprise Voice and Data, Infonetics Research:

 

Because of the significantly deteriorating worldwide economic conditions, we expect the overall enterprise telephony market to contract fairly significantly in 2009. Once the world's major economies start growing again, however, a recovery in the PBX market will follow. We expect the market to stabilize in 2010, resume growth in 2011, and hit double-digit annual growth by 2012.

 

 

Alcatel-Lucent in the LTE Spotlight

Alcatel-Lucent has been at the center of much of the big LTE news emanating from Barcelona this week. LTE, or long-term evolution, is a fourth-generation (4G) wireless networking technology designed to succeed today's 3G wireless networks. 4G networks based on LTE will reportedly enable download speeds of up to 100Mbps, and will most likely be considered as alternatives to DSL, cable, satellite, and other current broadband offerings.   Dick Lynch, Verizon executive vice president and chief technology officer, delivered a keynote address at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona today, and in his speech, Lynch offered details regarding the operator's 4G LTE plans.   Lynch announced that Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone, has chosen Alcatel-Lucent among a select group of primary network vendors for its initial LTE network deployments in the United States.   Utilizing their existing spectrum, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone have been field testing 4G LTE networks in Minneapolis, Columbus, Ohio, and Northern New Jersey in the United States, as well as in Budapest, Dusseldorf, and Madrid in Europe. These field trials have demonstrated download rates of 50 to 60 Mbps peak speeds. Utilizing its recently acquired 700 MHz spectrum, Verizon Wireless hopes to expand its 4G trials this summer, with the goal of commercially launching its LTE network in 2010.   Ben Verwaayen, chief executive officer of Alcatel-Lucent, commented, "With LTE's bandwidth and its ability to co-exist with the current 3G platform, we look forward to partnering with Verizon Wireless to build the next-generation foundation that will economically enable new forms of communications using both fixed and wireless, as well as mobile broadband."   In other news related to Alcatel-Lucent's LTE plans, the company announced it has completed a series of data calls - involving terminals from third-party suppliers using Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology for Time Division Duplex (TDD) spectrum (TD-LTE), a mobile broadband standard that will be used by operators in China and across the globe.   Alcatel-Lucent also introduced a software module designed to enable service providers to expand the capabilities of their wireless networks through the rapid introduction of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology.

touchatag Enhances the Event Experience

Just this week, Alcatel-Lucent announced a series of new business applications to its touchatag Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) solution that enables developers and Web-savvy consumers to create innovative one-touch applications, which connect everyday objects with online applications.   One interesting application of this technology lies in the event organization space.   This technology gives event attendees the ability to extend their real-life surroundings to incorporate online resources and applications.   First a word on some of the technology that makes this go.   What is RFID? According to RFID Journal, radio frequency identification, or RFID, is a generic term for technologies that use radio waves to automatically identify people or objects. There are several methods of identification, but the most common is to store a serial number that identifies a person or object, and perhaps other information, on a microchip that is attached to an antenna (the chip and the antenna together are called an RFID transponder or an RFID tag). The antenna enables the chip to transmit the identification information to a reader. The reader converts the radio waves reflected back from the RFID tag into digital information that can then be passed on to computers that can make use of it.   What is NFC? According to the NFC Forum, Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range wireless connectivity technology standard designed for intuitive, simple and safe communication between electronic devices. NFC communication is enabled by bringing two NFC compatible devices within a few centimeters of one another.

ng Connect Initiative Creates Opportunity

This week Alcatel-Lucent announced the multi-industry initiative - the ng Connect Program - that is dedicated to establishing a rich and diverse ecosystem of infrastructure, devices, content and applications for both mobile and fixed broadband networks including 4G, LTE, GPON and other ultra high bandwidth technologies.   According to the announcement:   The ng Connect Program will bring the benefits of a seamless broadband experience to mobile phones, computers, cars, gaming systems and more, enabling consumers to stream more content, run more sophisticated applications on-the-go, and communicate in the most popular formats of today, and tomorrow.   Rich Tehrani shares his thoughts about this initiative on his blog:   The group will accelerate deployment of new devices and services by helping to determine interoperability across industries such as automotive, entertainment, wireless and consumer electronics. One area where there is a need for better integration is consumer electronics and automotive where in many cases a simple headphone jack is the extent of the integration. Or even worse, a car's stereo system tuned to a predetermined FM frequency to play music from a handheld music player which has an attached FM transmitter.   The value proposition for members include access to research, reduced development costs and a first mover advantage across markets. For carriers there is the increased use of broadband, reduced OPEX and churn and accelerated time to market.   For consumers the benefits include better integration of disparate entertainment systems, a higher level of value for devices which are part of this initiative, enhanced payment options and perhaps lower cost for a variety of next-gen services and devices.   Service providers and advertisers should watch these developments closely, as they presage a tremendous opportunity. As they say, watch this space.

The Digital Hospital is no Longer a Dream

Among the vertical markets that are benefitting from the rapid and widespread growth of technology the healthcare space is clearly a winner. Whether it's imaging or robotic surgery, hospitals the world over are evolving quickly, deploying the latest technological innovations, and offering ever more advanced services to their patients.   Flying under the radar of this technological change, are the changes occurring to the communications infrastructure that underpins these hospitals and allows the practitioners (nurses, doctors, administrators...) to get on with the business of helping people, saving lives, etc... in a more effective, efficient manner.   The so-called digital hospital is no longer a dream.   Case in point, a recent edition of Alcatel-Lucent's Enriching Communications magazine, featured a case study of Annecy Hospital and how the facility is benefitting from Alcatel-Lucent solutions as deployed by NextiraOne.   Annecy Regional Hospital Center (CHRA) is the largest hospital in the Haute-Savoie department in the French Alps, with over 970 beds. Every year, the facility's 2,400 healthcare personnel handles more than 50,000 emergency cases and treats 70,000 patients, requiring 300,000 hospital bed-days.   The plans called for the deployment of next-generation communications infrastructure. The solution had to offer tight security and it had to allow for mobility, allowing information to be available in all areas across the healthcare campus.
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