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Significant investments require significant returns. How do companies ensure their benefits are measured, tracked and realized during IP Transformation Programs?
Success Is Not Guaranteed
Think about the hardest project you have ever delivered. Just think back… that one ‘special project’, the one that spiraled out of control, the one where the requirements kept changing, the one where the objectives kept moving, the one project that would not de-scope, where the tsunami of work was towering over the team, and impossible deadlines were looming. Yes, that one.
Most of us have experienced THAT project. And we probably sat with our colleagues, asking ourselves how a project under such pressure could even exist. Why would the sponsors not revise the scope, refocus the team, or even reinvest the budget elsewhere?
We all know that technical projects can go awry. IT, Networking and Engineering projects – famously 50% overrun on budget, and many are cancelled altogether.
So, what are the figures for complex Transformation Programs? For Programs where IT, Network, Operations and Engineering are undergoing change simultaneously. With an objective eye, it’s easy to question how any of them actually deliver results. But indeed they do.
But, how, and what can we measure to be certain we are achieving the desired results?
Delivering successful change programs is a significant challenge. Undertaking a Readiness Assessment speeds the launch of new IP services, reduces risks and aligns corporate objectives with your program.
The Challenge of Change…a true story
So your company is planning an all IP network. The CTO is delivering technology roadmaps, the COO is assessing the service portals, and network designers have been architecting for eight months. The program is well underway and people are now starting to plan the migration.
So, you start to scope out the effort required to deliver migration and calculate that it requires hundreds of resources to manage a switchover. You approach engineering to secure the resources, and are informed HR is managing a release program, remunerating engineers to leave the company. The same engineers that you need to deliver your program!
By: Steve Blackshaw, IP Transformation Product Line Management, Alcatel-Lucent
IP Technology Programs are primarily focused on delivering technology solutions. However, the goal ultimately is to launch new services, and substitute old ones for all IP services. How do we ensure our technical visions deliver on these more marketing driven needs?
We need to ask… “Why Are We Building The Network?”
With IP Transformation programs sponsored and funded by the CTO, delivered by technology-focused teams, and culturally embedded within network operations, it is easy to forget that the over-riding objective of many programs is to actually change the service portfolio mix, for the benefit of both customers, and the provider.
So, how can Service Portfolio managers ensure that this vision is not lost when the programs are so heavily influenced by technology?
In a technology-focused environment it is possible to conclude that building the business case for IP transformation is all about the network, the technology and the associated spend. That would be a mistake. To build an effective business case network operators must take into account the complexity of the program and its far reaching impact on their business.
The business case validates and supports the transformation activity. As the network operator invests (both capex and opex), the business case demonstrates the feasibility of the exercise and also that the tangible benefits (the return on investment) warrant the expenditures and opportunity cost. IP Transformation isn’t easy, but a well-executed strategy based on a strong business case will result in years of tangible benefits for your business.
If you spend any time in a developing country, you quickly discover that the majority of Internet connectivity comes via cellular connections. For many in developing countries, a smartphone effectively is their first regular connection to the Internet.
Roughly 87 percent of all broadband connections in emerging markets will be by way of cellular by 2017, according to Alcatel-Lucent forecasts. This is especially true in Latin America and the Caribbean, where the GSMA estimates that Latin America will have the second highest installed base of smartphones in the world behind only Asia Pacific by 2020.
By: Tony Kourlas, Director of Carrier SDN and NMS Product Marketing in the IP Routing & Transport Group, Alcatel-Lucent
The cloud era is here -- do you think your network is ready? As a network operator, you will need to deliver on-demand network services that are just as dynamic as the cloud services that now dominate network traffic. You face many challenges in making this happen.
But a new study from ACG Research shows you can achieve this quickly and profitably with advancements that are available now. Their analysis of the new Alcatel-Lucent Network Services Platform in a national network scenario showed you can cut service creation time, generate more revenue, and achieve significant ROI very quickly.
By Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor
Forty-three percent of the world’s population has some form of regular access to the Internet – which means that 57 percent do not.
Ninety percent of those 4.2 billion people without access live in the developing world, and in the least developed countries less than one person in 10 is online. Meanwhile, in the developed world, 82 percent of the population is online.
These statistics are laid out in a new blog by Marcus Weldon, president of Bell Labs and the CTO of Alcatel-Lucent, who in his piece calls on people and companies to do their part to help the Broadband Commission achieve its goals to flatten the digital playing field across the globe and among different groups of people. In his blog, Weldon talks about the problem that the “digital deserts” that exist today play in setting up a long-term environment in which one set of people can collaborate, communicate, and conduct commerce, and another group of people – to whom he refers as “an analog underclass,” operate primarily in physical space, and if they do want to connect digitally have to wander from connected oasis to connected oasis.
By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor
For large enterprises, small cells make a lot of sense.
Upwards of 80 percent of all mobile usage now occurs indoors, according to Alcatel-Lucent, and enterprise small cells deliver a flexible and economical way for reliable mobile connectivity in-building.
Recently a field trial held at a large financial institution in Mumbai showed the potential of enterprise small cells. Small cells bathed a 45,000-square-foot, all-glass office space with cellular connectivity that replaced an existing DAS and delivered a call drop rate of only 0.87 percent, an increase in average throughput of 42 percent, and a boost in peak throughput of 82 percent, according to a recent TechZine posting, Field insights: Deploy
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 Entrepreneur.com. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Richard Hatheway, Director, Enterprise Communications Product Marketing – Rapport for Large Enterprise, Alcatel-Lucent
Let’s face it, most large enterprises are stuck in a rut when it comes to unified communications and collaboration (UCC) solutions – and a 20th century rut at that. While these enterprises would like to be more in control of their UCC and ICT infrastructure, most are not sure where or how to begin.
Large enterprises typically choose a UC solution vendor based on one primary fact – that the vendor told them they could provide everything they needed. From an enterprise perspective that makes sense. Having only one vendor eliminates additional budget requests and cycles, reduces the number of people involved, and effectively streamlines the operation.
The problem is that choosing one vendor effectively locks the enterprise into a proprietary technology silo with that vendor. Sure, the vendor may be able to provide the tools the enterprise needs, but at what price, using what technology and in what timeframe? Instead of the enterprise choosing the technologies that it needs, the vendor is now effectively in control and dictates which technologies will be used by the large enterprise.
We already know the mercurial growth of the Internet and mobile technology. Cloud and data center traffic will increase by 440 percent by 2017, according to a recent Alcatel-Lucent blog post, and video consumption will rise by 720 percent during that time.
What many of us do not know, however, is that the Internet also damages the environment; Gartner recently showed that the Internet creates more than 300 million tons of CO2 a year. So growth of the Internet and mobility is not such a happy picture from a sustainability perspective.
If we are to combat this looming environmental challenge, it will take the work of not just individuals but also businesses committed to sustainable practices. Thankfully, sustainability can be good for companies and not just the environment.
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).
Hackathons 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.
By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor
Fiber-to-the-home networks service more than 130 households today, and PON is the dominant FTTH architecture. This trend is expected to continue, with 90 percent of the forecast 300 million FTTH subscribers by 2019 to be served by PON, according to Ovum.
As PON subscriber numbers grow, so will the types of users it can address. And that will include enterprise customers. That said, TWDM is the best and obvious way forward for service providers in the GPON realm, according to Ana Pesovic, senior marketing for wireline networks at Alcatel-Lucent who in a recent TechZine posting, TWDM technology moves ahead: XG-PON1, explains why TWDM is superior to XG-PON1 on a number of fronts. These include from a bandwidth perspective, in terms of revenue potential, and in its ability to lower carrier risk.
Ovum backs up those statements in its recent article TWDM-PON is on the horizon: Facilitating fast FTTx network monetization, in which the firm suggests that communications services providers would do well to leapfrog XG-PON1 and move on to TWDM-PON.
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.
There tends to be a prejudice in the press for covering the latest and greatest technology and how it is being used in the developed world. The reality is that especially when it comes to wireless, the impact of having ubiquitous and affordable access to communications, not just for voice but for data (aka the Internet), is busy transforming the developed world in ways that may be even more profound.
In fact, in the developing world, connectivity is the lifeblood of economic progress improving not just commerce itself but also the delivery of healthcare and as a tool for rapidly improving the education of young and old alike. Data is where it is at, and 4G has become as important in the developing world as in the developed.
A great example of this is in the work Alcatel-Lucent has done with aggressive mobile services provider Smile in Tanzania and the Ivory Coast. One interesting factoid is that in Tanzania, for every 1 landline subscriber there are 166 mobile phone subscribers. In short, the age old problem of increasing tele-density in the developing world as the engine for progress is being conquered and with impressive speed that has opened the eyes of man
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.
By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor
There will be 70 billion connected devices globally by 2020, according to a recent Alcatel-Lucent posting. That’s a lot of demand on operator networks.
“We know that there’s a new market and new problem here to solve,” said Mike Schabel, senior vice-president of small cells for the wireless division at Alcatel-Lucent. “To handle the expected volume, we would need to significantly increase the number of cell towers used in the network. So we made [base stations] smaller.”
Small cells represent the future of the network for operators. They are cheap, easy to deploy, and can be adapted to deliver the right amount of coverage for an area of heavy use.
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.
Large office buildings sometimes encounter a troubling problem in the form of poor cellular reception for employees. With atriums, business space in basements, internal walls and glass windows, more than one “modern architectural masterpiece” has discovered that workers lose cell coverage when they enter the building.
Of course, there are steps that can fix such problems even after a building is constructed. One of the best options is small cells technology for good in-building cellular coverage.