Next Generation Communications Blog

Research

Keeping Up With the Modern-Day Nomads

By Philip Carden, Head of Alcatel-Lucent Consulting Services

Meet the digital nomads, a growing group of heavy mobile data users that's redefining how service providers think about connectivity.

There is a small, but growing, new class of data users amongst us. You've likely spotted one – that man hunched over a laptop at your neighborhood coffee shop, the woman swiping through a tablet in the park, or even that teen on the train whose eyes are glued to a video on his larger-than-average smartphone.

They are the digital nomads. Unlike the hunters and gatherers of the past, these nomads are always connected, regardless of where they are, and their expectations for connectivity have never been higher.

2012 Global Innovation Index Released

By Mae Kowalke 

The fifth edition of the Global Innovation Index (GII)—which ranks 141 countries on the basis of innovation capabilities and results—was released last week in Geneva, Switzerland.

The index was developed by INSEAD eLab and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), with experience from knowledge partners Alcatel-Lucent, Booz & Company and the Confederation of Indian Industry.

For Alcatel-Lucent, assisting with the GII is part of its overall commitment to further innovation, the company said in a blog post. “Alcatel-Lucent is a global company with employees all over the world,” the company said. “The GII is one of the places where we can exercise this role as a global citizen, dig deeper into innovative ideas and work closely together on common objectives with other global players.”

Customer Experience in the Spotlight

Greg Owens, Director, Customer Experience Solutions Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

Customers have growing expectations for mobile broadband services. Better networks, broader device support, ubiquitous connectivity and competitive prices remain essential, but they’re no longer enough to keep customers coming back for more. Today’s mobile customers demand a superior customer experience, one that focuses on making it easy to discover, use and enjoy applications, devices and services.

Service providers are feeling the pressure to deliver on these expectations.

A renewed focus on QoE

Rising smartphone use is thrusting quality of experience (QoE) back into the spotlight. Smartphones appeal to users because they promise easy access to e-mail, apps, social networking and video. But smartphones have hidden complexities. Many users struggle with smartphone setup, app configuration, usage tracking and connectivity.

The end result is that smartphone users are turning to service providers more often — with problems that take more time to resolve.

'Main-Streaming' Changing Video Game in Content Delivery Networking

By Mae Kowalke

As traditional TV collides with the internet, unprecedented changes are taking place in the video industry. The biggest trend is what Alcatel-Lucent calls ‘main-streaming:’ video streaming as the new normal mass market model for how consumers get their video.

In short, consumers want video content anywhere, anytime, on any device. In an early 2011 report, Neilson said U.S. consumers spent 34.5 percent more time watching video on the internet, and 20 percent more time watching mobile video, than they did in early 2010. No doubt that number has grown since—and will continue to grow.

Online video is popular with consumers because it satisfies an appetite for flexible consumption. Plus, the success of online services like Hulu+ and Netflix indicate customers are willing to pay for that flexibility.

Content delivery industry players like Netflix and Hulu offer video using ad-funded or direct-subscription business models. These content providers pay traditional content delivery networks (CDNs) like Amazon and Limelight to publish video content online, because doing so theoretically helps ensure quality of service (QoS).

Trouble is, CDNs are making promises they can’t keep. The structure of their platforms—where caches are located at the edge of ISP networks—simply can’t provide guaranteed adequate QoS for end users. This presents a significant opportunity for network service providers.

Information and Communications Technology has Key Role in Green Economy

By Mae Kowalke

It will take dedication, teamwork and technology to achieve the future we want in terms of reducing poverty, advancing social equity, and ensuring environmental protection. That’s the message behind upcoming Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, this June in Brazil.

Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) and others are focusing heavily on technology as one key aspect in achieving a better future. At a Rio+20 planning conference earlier this month, Philippe Richard, who heads up green strategy at Bell Labs, participated in the closing panel, where he highlighted the role information and communications technology (ICT) plays in sustainable development.

Report: Chinese Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Industry Interested in Going Green, But More Development Needed

By Mae Kowalke

People working in the Chinese information and communications technology (ICT) industry are open to the concept of going green, but need support and education to achieve carbon reduction targets using technology. That is the conclusion of a recent research study conducted at China’s Tsingua University Media Lab on behalf of Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) titled, “Green Information Communications Technology in China.” 

No 'One-Size-Fits-All' Path to Improving the Customer Experience

By Erin Harrison 

In this day in age, no matter what business you are in, the customer is king.

As we touched on last week (and commands further attention), European telecom operators are not cutting it when it comes to delivering a stellar – or even an adequate – customer experience. This weakened Quality of Experience (QoE) tendency is forcing tech-savvy consumers to side with the company that is most responsive to their communications needs and not necessarily the one that offers a specific kind of service.

Typically consumers base their requirements on the strength, speed and coverage of their network, the depth and breadth of their product and services portfolio and, least of all, price. But this is the case no longer.

A recent study conducted in EMEA by European Communications – the results of which appear in a recent special edition, “Customer Experience” – found overwhelmingly that telecom operators are losing their edge when it comes to QoE. Alarmingly, only17 percent of operators say they have a 360-degree view of their customers.

Green Telecom & IT Workshop by IISc and Bell Labs

By Vikram Srinivasan, Director, Networking Systems Research, Bell Labs, India

The GreenTouch consortium was formed with the ambitious goal of inventing new technologies that could reduce the energy expenditure of telecommunication networks by a factor of 1000 by 2015. Two of the newest members of the consortium are the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi and the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, two premier research institutes in India.  We recognized that India faces certain unique challenges and Green is not only far more relevant in emerging markets such as India, but also that emerging markets require certain unique technical challenges in the field of Green Networking. With this in mind, the Green Telecom and IT Workshop was co-organized by Bell Labs and IISc with support from GreenTouch to explore collaborative opportunities, on April 4-5, 2012.

Improving Network Efficiency with Preloaded evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS)

By Mae Kowalke

One of the challenges faced by mobile network service providers deploying 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) is using it to deliver popular multimedia content to a mass audience in the most efficient and effective manner. In the past, operators had two options: unicast or broadcast.

For those unfamiliar with the terms, below is a brief description of each:

  • Unicast — the sending content to a single network destination, with a unique address.  It is a one-to-one method of distribution. Traditionally, unicast has been when each individual recipient wanted or needed different content.
  • Broadcast — as the name implies, is sending the same content to all possible destinations, e.g., it is a one-to-many or one-to-all method of distribution. The obvious downside of broadcast is that everyone receives identical content.

Recently, a new technology call evolved multimedia broadcast multicast service (eMBMS) entered the scene.  It makes possible the efficient broadcasting of content only to interested recipients. An added attraction is that eMBMS is highly scalable.  It uses only a fraction of the capacity compared with unicast. This gives operators the best of both worlds: the flexibility of unicast and the efficiency of broadcast.

IMS Provides Eco-Efficiency Choices, Creates New Revenue Opportunities

By Erin Harrison

Two opposing forces are driving the need for more efficient use of energy – the increased use of mobile device coupled with the power needed to sustain their use are necessitating that the telecom industry step up its efforts to improve eco-efficiency overall.

Given the trend of increased demands of today’s mobile users – and the proliferation of new and different end-user applications and devices – an IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) is a smart choice for service providers who are also looking for new revenue opportunities.

“Consumers are no longer content with a simple telephone; they want broadband and accessibility, wherever they are, on any device they choose. They want access to information, plus instant and reliable communications,” a recent whitepaper by Alcatel-Lucent (ALU), “Alcatel-Lucent IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS): Eco-efficiency Makes Economic Sense,” points out.

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