Next Generation Communications Blog

IP Platforms

Private LTE Networks Boost Mining Efficiency

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The mining industry is booming thanks not only to natural resource demands in China, but also because every electronic device, including smartphones a lot of the precious materials that miners pull from the earth. For example, an iPhone contains gold, silver, platinum, copper and many rare earth elements like Yttrium, Lanthanum, Neodymium, Gadolinium and Europium.

Keeping these bustling mines efficient requires a highly reliable, accessible, secure and high-performance communications network. The reason is the mines tend to be operational 24/7/365. It is a major factor in why many mines are in the process of or evaluating upgrading their communications networks, since the existing Wi-Fi, 2G, 3G, proprietary VHF and PMR options are not keeping pace with mining information interchange demands of all types.

Rapport Open APIs Increase Employee Productivity

By: Richard Hatheway, Director, Enterprise Communications Product Marketing, Rapport for Large Enterprise, Alcatel-Lucent

What is one of the biggest factors affecting employee productivity today? Recent studiesby the National Business Research Institute and the Pew Research Center indicate that not having the right technology tools to do their jobs is one of the most critical. From something as simple as having a cell phone to as advanced as having a customized app, having the right tool provides employees with a productivity boost.

Unfortunately though, many large enterprises are unable to take advantage of advances in technology due to old or outdated infrastructure and ICT technology silos. In addition, being locked in to one technology vendor often stymies the enterprise from being able to update the tools necessary to increase employee productivity.

For instance, something as simple as developing and deploying a new app is often a frustrating experience, as the enterprise must submit a request to the technology vendor for a new app to be developed, then wait until the vendor adds it to their development queue before finding out when to expect it. This often takes months, if not longer.

In the meantime, instead of waiting for the new app, many employees take the “shadow IT” route. They download rogue (i.e., non-IT-supported) apps that will allow them to move forward with at least some of the functionality they seek, even without IT support. While this work-around may provide some degree of productivity enhancement for the employee, wouldn’t it be better if the enterprise was able to either plug in existing best-of-breed third-party apps or develop and deploy its own apps without having to wait for a vendor to become involved?

Alcatel-Lucent thinks so, which is one of the reasons our new solution, Rapport™ for Large Enterprise, is generating so much interest. Rapport is a private cloud-based communications and collaboration solution designed specifically for the large enterprise.

Getting Past the Dark Side of Unified Communications in Large Enterprises

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

I often write about the virtues of unified communications, but a downside to UC also is emerging for large enterprises.

One of the big promises of UC was consolidating a range of disparate communications technologies and bringing them together both for a single communications experience, and also for easier deployment. Yet, the downside of this consolidation has been perhaps an over-reliance on a single vendor solution. This concentration in a single UC vendor it is limiting the ability of enterprises to adopt the latest technology as it emerges, instead having to wait on their provider or record.

With one vendor providing the entire communications technology, an inconsistency in quality also is emerging, suggests a recent blog post by Brendan Ziolo, Head of Large Enterprise Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent, 5 reasons unified communications is hurting large enterprises.

How the Airlines Can Make Their Systems, and Air Travel, More Reliable

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

If you traveled by air this summer, consider yourself lucky if you made it to your destination on time. It was a tough summer for both the airlines and for passengers, as IT issues in both July and August led to widespread delays and flight cancellations in the U.S. and beyond.

Most recently, a software update to a plane routing system at an FAA control center in Leesburg, Va., led to what some are now calling Flypocalypse.

BT leverages the power of Rapport™ APIs to drive service innovation in a 3 days hackathon

By: Gilles Duboué, Marketing Director, Communications and Collaboration, IP Platforms, Alcatel-Lucent

I crossed the English Channel to spend a few days in Ipswich. Not to explore its beautiful port but to participate in the hackathon organized by BT, hosted by its Innovation Hub in Adastral Park (7th to 9th July).

ALU.8.4.15.a.jpgHackathons are flourishing these days. These are fast, dynamic, creative
events in which software developers collaborate intensively around ideation and prototyping with specific Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and on dedicated themes such as mobile apps, internet of things, home automation, connected car, etc.

BT leveraged our Rapport APIs and Rapport Sandbox to run their first hackahon. Rapport is our communications software platform, used by service providers and large enterprises to deliver voice, video and messaging.

IP/MPLS Helps the Paris Metro Handle Increasing Complexity and Commuter Volume

p>By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The Paris Metro shows that you can, in fact, teach old dogs new tricks.

For more than a century, the massive Paris Metro has been enabling commuters and tourists to easily travel across the French capital. Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens (RATP), which operates the metro network, employs roughly 54,000 employees and has yearly revenue of more than €5 billion ($5.43 billion). As part of the Grand Paris initiative, which has support from several levels of government, RATP is planning:

  • 205 km of automatic metro lines
  • 68 new stations
  • Deployment of 30,000 high-definition video cameras

However, getting there means having a next generation communications network. With that in mind, the Paris Metro is converging its five communications networks into a single IP/MPLS network.

Railways Can Meet Regulatory Needs and Boost Services with IP/MPLS

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

While signaling and train control technologies have long existed to automatically trigger emergency brakes, railways are struggling to put them into place.

In North America, the Positive Train Control (PTC) system was mandated by the United States federal government in 2008 for railway lines carrying passengers and hazardous materials. Yet, the government deadline to have 96,500 km of track with the feature by 2015 will not be met.

Similarly, the European Train Control System (ETCS) in Europe, part of the Europe Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS), is currently only deployed on 5000 km of track. The EU is aiming for a rollout on Europe’s 68,000km core network by 2030, and there is a long way still to go.

“With the US government set to introduce a five-year extension of the PTC bill by the end of 2015, and the EU turning the screw on ETCS deployment, this is not going away,” noted a recent blog post, Unlocking the benefits of train control with IP/MPLS, by Thierry Sens, Marketing Director Transportation Segment, Alcatel-Lucent. Sens, explained that, “Railways should therefore embrace the respective mandates as an opportunity to improve their network architecture and technology, specifically by introducing IP/MPLS.”

Large Enterprises: Think Like a Service Provider When it Comes to Network Connectivity

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

There is hardly a business today that does not require high speed and high performance Internet connectivity. Let’s face it, quality network access is table stakes for running a successful business in an increasingly connected world where commerce is 24/7/365 and can originate or terminate from anywhere and over any device with a browser.  As a result, ensuring good networking and communications for employees is a major priority for all businesses, but it is an especially daunting one for large enterprises due the volume and the accommodation of rapid change thanks to things like the cloud, BYOD, mobility and the virtualization of the workplace.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent application note, The large enterprise has changed, gave an interesting snapshot of large enterprise IT today.

The Next Evolution for SCADA will include M2M

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Is machine-to-machine (M2M) technology the future of SCADA?

Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) is widely used by railways, highways management, power utilities and the oil & gas industry, among others. It brings an end-to-end supervisory system which acquires data from the field through Remote Terminal Units (RTUs) or Intelligent Electrical Devices (IEDs) and connects it to sensors through a communications network.

The oil industry employs SCADA technology to monitor offshore and onshore extraction, for instance.

Some pundits are predicting the end of SCADA in the near future.  However, a recent TrackTalk article by Thierry Sens, Marketing Director Transportation, Oil & Gas Segments, Alcatel-Lucent, entitled with the same question posed above, Is M2M killing SCADA?, arrives at a different answer.  Sens argues that SCADA instead will adapt and include M2M, which is closely related to the Internet-of-Things (IoT) megatrend currently sweeping the consumer world.

Why CSPs Will Retain a Strong Position in Video Services

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

Facilities-based service providers that own the access network are ideally positioned to distribute video both today and in the future, according to Chris Croupe, who works in strategic marketing at Alcatel-Lucent. Video comes in a variety of forms, its applications continue to expand, and this kind of content continues to multiply, Croupe notes in his recent TechZine posting, Future of video content: Evolution toward 2020.

Calls leveraging video have become widespread, he adds, noting that 59 percent of smartphone users under 35 years of age make at least one video call a month, and 37 percent of this group does so at least once a week.

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