Next Generation Communications Blog

Next-Generation Communications

ConnectEd Bridges the Digital Divide for Poor and Disadvantaged Youth

The role of information and communications technology (ICT) on education and employment prospects should not be understated.

Roughly 90 percent of all EU jobs will require some ICT skills in the near future, yet 39 percent of EU workers have little or no ICT skills as of 2014, according to the European Commission. In the U.S., the digital skills gap between what’s needed of employees and what’s available in the market comes at an estimated cost of $1 trillion per year in lost productivity, according to estimates from ICT-based employment is growing 7 times faster than overall employment in the EU, too.

The situation is even worse in developing countries, where ICT training is often lacking—especially for girls. While 77 percent of the population in developed countries is online, only 31 percent of people in developing countries have access according to ITU figures for 2013. And globally, women are 16 percent less likely than men to have Internet access.

The Ongoing Applicability of Copper-Based Broadband Access

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

Video and other rich media are driving demand for ever-faster connectivity. Indeed, Bell Labs believes demand for bandwidth to support residential triple play services will grow by 10 percent annually.

Sometimes fiber to the subscriber is the best fit to support broadband services for residential and small and medium businesses. However, existing copper continues to have an amazing ability to be enhanced to meet broadband requirements. Indeed, copper-based technologies such as VDSL2 vectoring, Vplus, and can support bandwidth rates of 100, 300mbps or even 1gbps.

To decide which areas are ideal candidates for fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) or business, and which can be more than adequately served with copper-based technologies, Bell Labs Consulting suggests that service providers consider:

Small Cells Put Extra Pressure on the Evolved Packet Core

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Small cells are a boon for mobile network operators, as they easily and cheaply expand wireless network connectivity. However, they also can strain an operator’s evolved packet core (EPC).

“The EPC may be called upon to deliver a significant increase in scale, capacity, and performance beyond that which was required initially to support the macro-cellular network,” noted David Nowoswiat, Sr. Product and Solutions Marketing Manager, Alcatel-Lucent in a recent TechZine posting, Is your EPC ready for the small cells onslaught? He suggests that operators look at three areas when examining if their EPC is up for the challenge.

How Popular Applications Can Impact Mobile Carrier Networks

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

Carriers’ mobile networks are extremely vulnerable to sudden changes in the signaling behavior of popular applications. In fact, Patrick McCabe, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Alcatel-Lucent, devolves into this subject in some detail in a recent blog, Google’s power to impact network signaling.  In fact, while Google Cloud Messages provide an example in the blog, the companies recent Mobile Device Report goes into the topic regarding the impact of the top mobile apps on signaling in greater detail.

Alcatel-Lucent Urges Power Companies to Plan Transitions as TDM Networks Sunset

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

It’s monsoon season here in Arizona, so we desert dwellers know as much as anybody about the power of a storm. We also understand the problems that storms can create, such as taking out the power.

However, natural occurrences like storms and other unexpected events like power line cuts by backhoes aren’t the only external challenges with which power utilities have to contend. In a recent blog Dave Christophe, Director of Utilities Marketing at Alcatel-Lucent, explained that there’s now an additional consideration that could negatively impact power company abilities to bring people and businesses power consistently, cost effectively, and safely. That is the systematic decommissioning of legacy telephone and data networks.

Study Shows the Economic Benefits of Government Broadband in Australia

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Go to Australia and you’ll quickly realize that not only is the country run reasonably well, but the continent also has a good digital infrastructure.

This is no surprise, because Australia has made a significant investment in national broadband infrastructure as part of an agenda to capture economic and social benefits in the emerging digital economy. Government broadband, particularly for the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN), ensures ubiquitous national availability of an open access, high-speed services delivery platform.

SurePay Helps U.S. Mobile Operators Overcome Challenges with Flexible Prepaid Charging Options

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

There a few things more confounding to mobile service providers in hotly contested markets than missing out on opportunities to generate more revenues and profits from what have been lightly used services.  This is particularly the case in the United States where unlike much of the world where prepaid services are the norm, it is estimated that roughly 19 percent of U.S. subscribers avail themselves of these services.

That said, and despite some cultural and addressable market challenges, U.S. mobile services providers can change the game in their favor as prepaid is already experiencing significant growth due to a variety of factors, and if done correctly is poised according to research firm Yankee Group is to grow over the next few years faster than the overall telecommunications.

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.

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