Next Generation Communications Blog

How signaling spikes affect networks: 3 real-world examples

By: Josee Loudiadis, Director of Network Intelligence, Alcatel-Lucent

Data and signaling growth are usually good news for network operators, since growth often translates into higher revenues. But when growth is averaged over a month or quarter, the daily highs and lows of network activity are smoothed out. And signaling spikes remain hidden within the averages. These spikes can overwhelm available signaling capacity, which impairs the customer experience, as well as the operator’s reputation.

What happens when a spike occurs? Typically, a CPU Overload alarm appears on various mobile nodes. And the Network Operations Center (NOC) immediately starts praying that the burst is short-lived and doesn’t go over maximum peak-rate capacity. Because when that happens, all consumers are denied service access. Then, the process of identifying the source of the problem begins. This can be arduous, because it often involves applications completely out of NOC control. And the issue can’t be resolved easily without solid network analytics that enables engagement with application and device developers.

That’s the reason signaling information is a crucial part of the Alcatel-Lucent Mobile Apps Rankings report and why LTE World 2014 devotes an entire pre-conference day to the topic. It’s also why this blog offers a closer look at how some real-world disruptive signaling spikes got started — and were finally resolved.

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The Expanding Channel Programs

Not only do I see more cloud service providers looking to the channel for sales, I see other channel programs expanding....

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When Does WebRTC Need a Media Server? Reason #6

In a recent blog about the current state of WebRTC, I mentioned that readers should check out an excellent white paper...

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The Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation: It's Not All About Data- Mobile Voice and Messaging Share Plans Offer Plenty of Appeal

Alcatel-Lucent’s Rich Crowe continues the Six Degrees of Mobile Data Plan Innovation blog series by examining the degree to which consumers are interested in share plans that include unlimited voice and messaging but don’t include data.

The last Six Degrees blog explored consumer attitudes toward two different mobile share plan options: sharing data only and sharing voice, messaging and data. This blog will explore attitudes toward a 3rd option: sharing unlimited voice and messaging — but not data — across multiple devices or subscribers.

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200G Optical Networks: What you need to know

By: Earl Kennedy, IP Transport Product Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

Optical network operators have already made the move to 100G. But skyrocketing bandwidth demand means many are already pondering what’s next. With a 200G optical solution hitting the market, you probably have questions about when to move to 200G optical – and what you need to know when you make that move.

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Zocalo: Amazon Just Fired a Gun at Microsoft, Oracle and Dropbox

Amazon has made its name in ecommerce and cloud but its next frontier may be productivity applications and in the process, they...

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Alcatel-Lucent in Action: a year of progress and look to the future

Sustainability, Alcatel-Lucent

Alcatel-Lucent in Action” is the story of one year of action to transform our company and position it for innovation and growth.

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Rich Tehrani: ng Connect Interview

Rich Tehrani has an interesting recent blog post titled, ng Connect Improves the User Experience, in which he publishes an interview he conducted with Chris Carfagnini, Director of Emerging Technology & Media for Alcatel-Lucent.   Presented here, is Rich's entry in its entirety. For more insights from Rich Tehrani, please visit his Communications and Technology blog.  
  ng Connect Improves the User Experience Device and service convergence continues to accelerate and as it does, the complexity involved in creating new products and services increases. A counter to the trend of increasing complexity is the new multi-industry ng Connect Program, founded by Alcatel-Lucent which is establishing a rich and diverse ecosystem of infrastructure, device, content and applications for both mobile and fixed broadband networks including 4G, LTE, GPON and other ultra high bandwidth technologies.   The group accelerates the deployment of new devices and services by helping to determine interoperability across industries such as automotive, entertainment, wireless and consumer electronics. 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.   The interview is below.   What is the ultimate goal of the ng Connect Program? The primary goal is to facilitate improved end user experiences on all forms of ultra high bandwidth broadband connections.

Alcatel-Lucent Tops IPTV Market Report for Access, Middleware

Multimedia Research Group (MRG) recently released the most recent edition of its bi-yearly IPTV Market Leaders Report, and has ranked Alcatel-Lucent as the global number one in the domains of IPTV access and IPTV middleware.   This is the second straight such distinction for Alcatel-Lucent.   MRG's report identifies leaders across the following IPTV segments:   ·         Access ·         Video Headend ·         Video-on-Demand ·         Middleware ·         Set-top Box, and ·         Content Protection/Digital Rights Management.   MRG measured the market position of over 100 vendors tracking the actual numbers of active IPTV subscribers that use (or are supported by) their respective products.   "We are delighted to be recognized -- once again -- as the global IPTV access leader by one of the most influential analyst firms in the industry," says Dave Geary, President of Alcatel-Lucent's wireline networks activities.

Alcatel-Lucent Subsidiary Earns JITC Certification

LGS, a subsidiary of Alcatel-Lucent dedicated to serving the U.S. government community, announced today that two products, the Alcatel-Lucent 7750 and 7710 Service Routers, were certified by the Joint Interoperability Test Command and will be added to the IPv6 Approved Products List.   LGS designs and delivers Transformed Communications and R&D-based technology solutions to the U.S. government community. Leveraging Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs research and development, LGS challenges itself to "solve the unsolvable" and deliver secure, reliable, standards-based solutions to its customers   The Alcatel-Lucent 7750 and 7710 Service Routers deliver carrier-grade MPLS and Ethernet services:   ·         The 7750 service router family offer up to a terabit of capacity and is characterized with the capability to deliver highly available, simultaneous Layer 2 and Layer 3 service. ·         The 7710 delivers the same multi service functionality of the 7750 in a smaller form factor. The 7710 SR is built for those areas in the network with lesser bandwidth demands, where high availability and flexibility of interface aggregation is required.   For more information about LGS visit www.LGSinnovations.com.

Citizen Media Project Results

Alcatel-Lucent is part of a group of companies that presented the findings of a Europe-wide research project that evaluated ways in which average citizens could become engaged in the creation and development of innovative online applications. Addressing the boom in new user-generated digital content and the new digital formats with which they are shared, the partners investigated in particular the role that the Internet and television play in creating social networks and how these media can influence people's daily lives and foster social change.   The Citizen Media study spanned almost three years and tracked how thousands of non-professionals (those with no prior ICT experience or Internet usage) invented and developed socially-beneficial applications.   In the end, participants from Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Norway created a diverse series of applications that were deemed to deliver some social benefit.   The sociologists and engineers who made up the Citizen Media research team were led by Michiel Pelt of Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs in Antwerp who noted, "This is technology upside down. The advantage of working with living labs is that by observing and working with end-users who are designing, developing and deploying their ideas we can quickly turn these inventions into socially relevant innovations that have value to them. Innovations that are built with customers have a higher probability of sustainable market adoption so this type of Open Innovation really pays off."   To view videos, content, etc., feel free to visit the Citizen Media Web site.

Alcatel-Lucent Joins RSA Secured Partner Program

Alcatel-Lucent has joined the RSA Secured Partner Program, which means that moving forward, the company's mobile security solution for enterprises can offer even more security for the mobile workforce by leveraging the industry-leading RSA SecurID two-factor authentication system designed for secure and remote network access.   On a technical level, the news validates technical interoperability between Alcatel-Lucent's OmniAccess 3500 Nonstop Laptop Guardian (NLG) and the RSA SecurID system. There are currently over 40 million users of RSA SecurID, spanning across 30,000 organizations worldwide.   The OmniAccess 3500 Nonstop Laptop Guardian mobile security platform leverages 3G networks, a self-powered computing system and an automatic Virtual Private Network (VPN). The solution is designed to enable enterprises to securely manage and track laptops, ensuring that corporate data is not compromised by a lost or stolen laptop. A technical integration between the two solutions further tightens security for enterprise networks.   Back in October, Alcatel-Lucent had announced global availability of a high-speed packet access (HSPA) version of its OmniAccess 3500 Nonstop Laptop Guardian.   Enterprise IT managers have long faced a challenge when it comes to protecting laptops, and securing the sensitive data they contain whenever laptops leave the confines of the enterprise.   A recent article entitled Eliminating the Mobile Blind Spot - Extending Enterprise Security Coverage and IT Reach with the Alcatel-Lucent OmniAccess 3500 Nonstop Laptop Guardian labels this as the "mobile blind spot", which falls outside the reach of IT's protective measures. The article offers an in-depth view at the OmniAccess 3500 NLG and a look at some of the benefits of its deployment.  

Genesys Announces Customer Innovation Award Winners

Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, an Alcatel-Lucent company announced the winners of the fourth annual Customer Innovation Awards program this week.   According to the company, the program is an annual competition that recognizes outstanding companies for their use of technology to deliver innovative customer service in highly dynamic environments.   Over 200 companies were in the running this year, and a diverse group of 28 industry analysts selected eight winners over a period of several months that spanned the Genesys Analyst Conference held in San Francisco in January 2009 and the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Forum held in Paris in March 2009.   The list of eight winning companies includes: ·         Presbyterian Health and Personal Nucleo from the Americas; ·         DenizBank, Etisalat, FedEx Express, and MultiChoice from EMEA; and ·         Global Speech Networks and Tokio Marine from the Asia Pacific region.   According to an official release, winners were selected based in part on a presentation in front of the industry analysts demonstrating how and why its customer engagement strategies make them among the elite customer service organizations in the world. The judging process held the finalists to the highest standards in customer care, evaluating each candidate against 20 individual categories. Three criteria determined their overall scores: innovation, optimization and improving the customer experience. The common element each of the winners shared was their ability to improve the overall customer experience while linking business issues to customer service resulting in a more strategic approach to customer interactions.   This year the winners scored either a "Four-Star" or a "Three-Star" ranking. Four stars indicate the highest honor possible; achieving three stars is regarded as an exceptional achievement.   From the official release, here are some details on the Four-Star winners:   ·         Etisalat Egypt, the Egyptian 3G service provider was selected because it has created one of the world's most advanced multimedia contact centers, combining video, voice, and SMS, with voice recognition, avatars, and other advanced self service choices.

Genesys on Datamonitor's Shortlist

TMCnet Senior Reporter Patrick Barnard recently wrote:   Due to the weak economy, companies are shifting their focus from customer acquisition to customer retention. As a result, most organizations - especially those that operate contact centers - are putting a stronger emphasis on customer service.   Barnard reports that in order to leverage advanced features and functionality not found in older, TDM-based systems customers are increasingly investing in new IP-based contact center systems.   In order to assist companies in selecting an IP contact center vendor, Datamonitor has published Decision Matrix -- Selecting an IP Contact Center Vendor. The report provides a three-pronged framework for evaluating IP contact center vendors. It includes a summary of IP contact center vendors' capabilities based on a quantitative assessment of their market impact and end-user sentiment, as well as an extensive review of the technology features that they offer, and uses these criteria to serve as the basis for the positioning of the vendors as "shortlist," "consider," or "explore."   Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories - an Alcatel-Lucent company - was one of only two vendors to make it into the "shortlist" category.     In addition to saluting Genesys in their IP Contact Center report, Datamonitor also found Genesys and its Genesys Voice Portal (GVP) to be at the head of the class in its recent report, Decision Matrix - Selecting an IVR Vendor in the Enterprise.   The IVR Decision Matrix provides guidance for enterprises looking to deploy IVR solutions.   According to the report, in evaluating the competitive dynamics in the IVR sphere, each vendor, including Genesys, was assessed in three categories:   ·         Technology Assessment: the acquisition of VoiceGenie, its support for SIP and H.323 standards, as well as additional monitoring and reporting capabilities, cemented high scores for Genesys in the technology assessment; ·         Market Impact: the large number of IVR customers and consistent double digit growth over the past five years in the GVP business resulted in high market impact scores; ·         End-user Sentiment: Genesys received the highest score in end-user sentiment by demonstrating it is a well known and trusted provider of IVR platforms.   According to Aphrodite Brinsmead, analyst for customer interaction technologies at Datamonitor and lead author of the report, "We were impressed with the next-generation applications Genesys is emphasizing. The release of its intelligent Customer Front Door (iCFD) framework is indicative of the vendor's forward thinking philosophy and commitment to extending IVR functionality."

On Earth Day, Alcatel-Lucent Highlights Eco-Awareness Campaign

Happy Earth Day!   TMCnet's Susan Campbell covered the news earlier this week regarding Alcatel-Lucent's plans to spotlight efforts toward the reduction in the company's carbon footprint.   Among the various activities, Alcatel-Lucent is planning a company-wide eco-sustainability awareness campaign, "Let's Be Eco-Friendly" whereby Alcatel-Lucent employees are being encouraged to avoid printing documents, in addition to doing things like separating trash for recycling, saving water, turn down thermostats, using teleconferencing to avoid travel, and reducing commuting by car whenever possible.   According to Campbell:   This eco-sustainability program established by Alcatel-Lucent focuses on three key areas: the company's products and solutions; applications for other businesses; and its own operations.   The company ensures that all of its products are thoroughly evaluated for energy efficiency to ensure they support service providers' efforts to reduce the carbon emissions of existing and new networks.  

Alcatel-Lucent: Some Thoughts on Rich Communications Manager

Alcatel-Lucent recently launched its 5155 Rich Communications Manager -- a solution that essentially provides a Web framework to bring together messaging, network address book, and other services with seamless interoperation.   Its WebDesk interoperates with other Alcatel-Lucent offerings, such as the 5100 Converged Messaging System, the 5410 XDMS Network Address Book, and the 5110 SMSC, company officials say. Importantly, especially in this slower economy, the solution's standards-based interfaces can be integrated with other network elements to provide converged and unified messaging.   The solution was chosen "Most Innovative Mobile Application" at the Andrew Seybold Choice Awards.   Alcatel-Lucent officials say the solution is designed to allow mobile and wireline end users to retrieve, view, respond, and forward video, photos and text from a Web portal that also integrates address books between user devices.   TMCnet had a chance to put some questions about the new product to Ray Colbert, Alcatel-Lucent's director of Rich Communication marketing strategy.
Alcatel-Lucent has put a lot of thought into streamlining communications and saving costs for businesses, and in addition, has paid attention to end users' habits and the rising popularity of social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter.   Colbert's comments bear that out, as he told TMCnet in the interview that Alcatel-Lucent understands that the Web is where innovation is happening now.

Alcatel-Lucent Checks In With Next-Generation Hospitality Deployment

As most business travelers, I travel quite a bit during the course of an average month, and this month, I've spent an inordinate amount of time living out of a suitcase in hotels from coast to coast, so I've garnered a good perspective on technology at use in the hospitality industry. I often read about how this discount chain or that luxury hotel is deploying technology to improve the guest experience, but to be honest, I have not seen much of this technology deployed in practice.   You know there's still a ways to go, when the most exciting innovation that I've come across is the ability to arrange a wake-up call without having to interact with a hotel operator.   Still, as IP-based technology proliferates through the hospitality industry, the potential to leverage next-generation communications solutions such as VoIP or unified communications to revolutionize the guest experience is greater than ever.   And at some properties, forward-thinking CIOs are making the move to adopt and deploy next-gen communications technologies to better serve their constituents -- staff and guests alike.   In a recent case study, Riyaz Akhtar, Executive Vice President of Development, Hampshire Hotels & Resorts discusses the steps he and his team took to deploy communications and information technologies in order to:   ·         Enhance the guest experience ·         Achieve competitive differentiation ·         Raise repeat visit ratio ·         Increase operational efficiency   In the end Akhtar and his team selected Alcatel-Lucent as their technology vendor of choice.
  Writes Akhtar:   "With Alcatel-Lucent, we had an opportunity to review a number of technologies, including networking, telephony, management, security and Unified Communications -- and began exploring which technologies could positively affect key operations of all properties. We looked at how WiFi phones could optimize operations. We looked at optical gear that could connect hotels and centralize operations. And we explored how applications like MobiCall could resolve guest issues by integrating automated concierge services, contact center technology and other relevant operations."   By leveraging a variety of technological solutions from Alcatel-Lucent, Hampshire Hotels was able to enhance the guest experience, better equip the staff and facilities management to be more efficient and effective in their daily tasks, and save a huge amount of money.
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