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It Takes a Village to Deliver Rich Communications

By Erin Harrison

As service providers (SPs) shift to all IP-networks, users expect features to become standardized.  This gives SPs an opportunity to provide their customers a new conversation experience.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent Enriching Communications article, “RCS Success Requires Community-based Ecosystem,” highlighted how the market for Rich Communications Services (RCS) has changed based on two developments that have converged — accelerating deployment of wired and wireless end-to-end IP networks and the rapid rollout and adoption of rich communications applications and services.

What 'Identity Shift' Means for Consumers and the Future of e-Commerce

By Peter Bernstein

As active transactional individuals in the Internet age, here are a few questions to ponder for a moment.

  • How do we present ourselves to the world, or choose not to, and why? 
  • What does our view and management of our multiple identities —on multiple physical, virtual (and where they intersect/converge/blur) platforms —tell us and others about predicting and/or leveraging our behavior?
  • Does where you are in your life matter? 
  • In an age where dynamic context-based identity mediation will be paramount (for individuals and organizations alike), whom do we and can we trust and entrust with our identities?
  • How does trust factor into our purchasing decisions?

These are not existential questions.  In fact, as pointed out in a previous blog, they are the subject of an important new book, Identity Shift : Where Identity Meets Technology in the Networked-Community Age, written by Alcatel-Lucent’s Allison Cerra and Christina James. 

Neo-Urbanizing India: Coming Full Circle at the End of a Journey

By Erin Harrison

Hopefully, you have been an avid follower of the Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) Market & Consumer Insight (MCI) team’s recently concluded three-week journey across urban and rural parts of the states of Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and the National Capital Region (NCR).  As it came to a close, the group culled several important insights on neo-urbanization:

  • How it has been unfolding
  • The impact it is having
  • The role of information and communication technologies (ICT) as a driver

As seen through all of the posts from the team members, and the series of items I have described in previous blogs, neo-urbanization is modernizing many areas of the world that were previously without access to healthcare, education, employment – and technology. In particular, parts of India are becoming networked hubs that are oriented and planned around smart functionality and sustainability.

Based on preliminary findings, each of the three locations – Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and the NCR – represents different stages of neo-urbanization. However, combined, they have allowed the MCI group to capture neo-urbanization in most of its gradations, according to a the final blog post that summarizes highlights of the three-week journey.

Living Video: A New Conversation Experience

By Erin Harrison

One of the reasons video is so pervasive today is because of the personal dynamic it brings to conversations and meetings, creating higher-level interactions. Just like a face-to-face conversation, video brings subtleties and other nuances that cannot be communicated in an email or text.

A recent article in Alcatel-Lucent’s Enriching Communications, Living Video Conversations Go Mainstream, details how “living video” gives service providers opportunities to deliver a compelling new conversation experience. It says mobile networks, devices and people are ready for enriched video conversations, and service providers’ are in a position to deliver them.  

Ready, set and go

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) -- Starting the New Mobile Conversation


By Erin Harrison

 

Most of us are familiar with the technology of Voice over IP (VoIP) – which simplistically is the use of the Internet Protocol to do voice communications over data networks that include the Internet itself.  And, while most VoIP traffic has been over wired networks, a new voice technology is evolving called Voice over LTE (VoLTE) that is shifting the communications paradigm and enabling new services beyond traditional telephony over mobile networks.

In a recent article in Alcatel-Lucent’s Enriching Communications e-zine, The New Mobile Conversation Starts with VoLTE, author Edmund Elkin states that, “It’s no longer a question of whether VoLTE is the right choice for the new mobile conversation. It’s really a matter of determining when to begin the move to VoLTE, developing a migration strategy and selecting a partner to accompany them on the journey.”

IP/MPLS-Based Networks Provide Unique Value for Smart Grid Initiatives


By Beecher Tuttle

Skyrocketing energy demands and the push for greener, more sustainable energy solutions has helped bring smart grids to prominence, and has encourage a number of utilities to deploy a next-generation network alongside their electrical grid.

AltaLink, one of Canada's largest electricity transmission providers, is one of the utilities that is currently undergoing the complex, yet highly advantageous transition from a TDM architecture to a next-generation IP-based network.

Overcoming Smart Grid Challenges to Realize Key Benefits


By Susan Campbell

The ever-increasing demand for energy has created the need for the development of the Smart Grid. This efficient approach to energy management and consumption will change the way we produce, consume and recycle energy. The efficient operation of the Smart Grid will be a long time in coming, however, as many challenges still exist to complete implementation and adoption.

According to a recent Alcatel-Lucent article, Dealing with the Smart Grid’s Key Drivers and Challenges, the future of smart grids includes significant changes to the way we live, work and play. It is expected to impact the business landscape, the energy marketplace and the ways in which we interact both culturally and socially.

New Revenue Opportunities Possible with the New Conversation Experience


By Susan Campbell

Service provider (SP) revenues are taking significant revenue hits from application and content providers (ACPs) as the disaggregation of content from physical access shifts value generation opportunities toward third parties.  At the same time SPs are also attempting to ward off “free” offerings, such as people using things like Skype for making phone calls who are willing to put up with inferior quality, by attracting people to superior services they will pay a premium for.  The challenge, which every day gains more urgency, is how to react to both trends. 

The objective is to be relevant and central in evolving ecosystems and thereby be in a position to maximize new opportunities while minimizing risks. The vehicle for turning things around is embodied in the desirability of creating a new conversation experience with customers based on a holistic strategic approach.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent article, The Value of the New Conversation Experience highlighted the need for service providers to increase the average revenue per user and reduce churn, two of the major revenue corrosive issues. It focused on the reality that to accomplish these goals, SPs must quickly bring to market enhanced service bundles and also rapidly introduce innovative service offerings with compelling and differentiated perceivable value as critical to combating free services.

Permission-Based Mobile Marketing Strategies Hold Value for Advertisers, Operators and Consumers

By Beecher Tuttle

The influx of smartphones, tablets and next-generation networks has created a number of new ways for brands and marketing agencies to reach consumers. Unfortunately, many of today's mobile marketing techniques fail to engage consumers, who often find the advertisements to be bothersome, intrusive and unrelated to their interests.

One innovative and effective way to bridge this gap is a strategy called permission-based mobile marketing, a targeted advertising technique that changes the marketing paradigm by creating a dialogue with consumers, rather than an invasive, one-sided monologue.

The basic premise of permission-based mobile marketing is rather simple: users opt-in and give their consent for brands to send them targeted, preference-based marketing materials for products and services that they are interested in. If executed properly, a permission-based mobile marketing strategy can create value for brands, agencies, consumers and mobile network operators.

Ensuring the Future of the Smart Grid


By Susan Campbell

Our growing reliance on energy has sparked a new focus on how to make consumption more efficient. The Smart Grid has emerged as an important focus in this space, projected to impact the business landscape, the energy marketplace and even the ways in which we interact.

According to a recent Alcatel-Lucent article, EPB Chattanooga: Customers at the Center of the Smart Grid’s Future, smart grids will also enhance convenience and control within the industrialized world while positive social progress is enabled in developing countries. The level of skill with which energy providers are able to manage change will determine when and how well the benefits of smart grid technology will gain traction.

Identity Shift -- What a New Book says About Us and the Future


By Peter Bernstein

With Facebook about to pass the 1 billion user mark, YouTube taking the #2 rank as a global search engine, Zynga having gone IPO and Twitter on the way, the total of mobile phone devices having blown past the number of wired ones, three things have become apparent:

  1. With progress toward a world that is always on and all ways connected (think of this as ubiquitous and continuous communications meets pervasive computing) a look back at just the past five years by anyone demonstrates how much ICT has already transformed the ways we work and live.
  2. To use a common phrase, “we ain’t seen nothing yet.”  The pace of change is accelerating.
  3. In the process the nature of who we are and how we interact with the world, especially our virtual personae will have profound implications.

All of this and more is captured in a fascinating new book,  Identity Shift: Where Identity Meets Technology in the Networked-Community Age,  written by leading market research experts, Allison Cerra and Christina James, from Alcatel-Lucent.  The second in “The Shift” series of Web 2.0 analyses, this latest edition looks at consumer behavior across all the key stages of life and how they are influenced by communications technologies.

Leveraging Social Media to Create Revenue from New Markets

By Erin Harrison 

In order for service providers and enterprises to gain a competitive edge, they must tap into their innovation resources on a continual basis – not just looking at technical or service-related angles, but also taking into account new markets brought on by the advent of social media.

However, according to a recent Alcatel-Lucent whitepaper, Creating Revenue from Adjacent Markets with Social Advertising, “in an application and content market characterized by proliferation, innovation can happen anywhere, from any aspect of the business. It is critical to consider which business models, use cases and business cases can deliver innovation to all value chain participants: consumers, enterprises, advertisers, strategic industries and service providers.”

Service providers that carefully consider their assets and use them to construct innovative adjacent market offers have the opportunity to generate more revenue therefore leading to higher average revenue per user (ARPU) from businesses and consumers.

Having a coordinated and comprehensive innovation plan can create positive business outcomes for all involved partners.

The Future Economy of the Smart Grid


By Erin Harrison 

With the world’s overall energy demand increasing by what seems to be the hour, deployment of smart grids presents new opportunities for utilities and service providers – but first they need to weigh all the factors involved in the future of smart grid.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), global energy demand is expected to rise by nearly 40 percent between now and 2035, as cited in a recent Alcatel-Lucent article, “Anticipating the Future’s Smart Grid Economy.”

Power utilities are indeed presented with new revenue opportunities, but they need to determine how they fit in to the future Smart Grid.

A New Conversation Experience Demands New Go-To-Market Strategies


By Susan Campbell

The time is right for service providers to recognize new opportunities in converged services strategies as we consistently move toward an all-IP world. With convergence in place, the flexibility to deliver new services and business models is enabled. At the same time, a holistic, go-to-market strategy is essential to support new opportunities in this space.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent article, Converged Services Go To Market stresses that service development is key to staying competitive in today’s market. With constantly changing dynamics, it’s critical that service providers participate the right way in the right markets. The traditional methods for doing business have to evolve to include multi-sided business models that support more sophisticated settlement models, partner ecosystems, new delivery channels and new ways to measure success.

Neo-Urbanizing India: Inching Towards Prosperity


By Erin Harrison

As Alcatel-Lucent Market and Consumer Insight groups, along with a team from IMRB International, wind down their neo-urbanization research in India, this week we learn that the group landed in an area that is finding prosperity, representative of a larger trend in the country.

The final leg of Alcatel-Lucent’s three-week journey took them from Bhiwadi to Coimbatore, a “town” of 1.25 million people located at the base of the Western Ghats foothills in the Tamil Nadu region of South India.

Yoga Poses for the Network Operator

By Amanda Noz, Marketing Director, Alcatel-Lucent

Yoga has been in the news lately and for network operator strategists, who may be feeling more like pretzels than yogis as they try to twist this way and that to accommodate rapid changes in the value chain, the idea of letting go of strict control over their networks and opening up to a world of potential security threats is anything but relaxing. Yet network operators who ignore these changes, risk falling out of the whole chain of innovation and in the process, defaulting to a commodity utility business, rather than maximizing their revenue streams as innovative and differentiated customer experience providers.

So how do you bring these two opposing views into alignment?

Today network operators who operate the broadband data networks (wireline and wireless) have thinner margins than in the past, while at the same time; all kinds of new players are making money by creating new applications that we did not even know we needed to run on the networks. Innovation brings disruption and disruption brings opportunities and threats. It transforms application and content value chains.

Creating The New Conversation Experience


By Susan Campbell

Humans are an increasingly mobile species, relying on technology to keep them connected to people, information, processes and more. While continued mobile technology innovation is a key in meeting the needs of a rapidly changing world, consumers are now demanding more than just technology – they want a new conversation experience. This experience is focused not solely on technology, but instead on improving the content and context of human interactions.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) article in the company’s Enriching Communications business e-zine entitled, Needed: A New Conversation Experience, the focus was on the importance of human interactions, stressing that the new conversation experience needed to be more personal, secure, social and mobile. It detailed how network intelligence will enable the new conversation experience and as well as how open innovation helps to enhance the experience, while also encouraging service uptake and loyalty for service providers (SPs).

Reducing Total Cost of Network Ownership with lightRadio Baseband Processing and Backhauling


By Beecher Tuttle

In order to succeed in the current wireless market dominated by bandwidth-hungry mobile applications, service providers need to find ways to expand network capacity while simultaneously reducing energy consumption and operating costs. This is quite a challenge to say the least.

Alcatel-Lucent's efforts in this area have resulted in some profound innovations, headlined by its new wireless networking paradigm, lightRadio™, which is designed to help service providers address growth and quality challenges.

The lightRadio technology family is comprised of innovations in antennas, radios and baseband processing, which combine to allow service providers to create next-generation architectures without the need to make complete infrastructure overhauls. Rather, lightRadio makes the most of existing wireless assets and capabilities to address cost, capacity and connectivity barriers.

Reducing Total Cost of Network Ownership with lightRadio Baseband Processing and Backhauling


By Beecher Tuttle

In order to succeed in the current wireless market dominated by bandwidth-hungry mobile applications, service providers need to find ways to expand network capacity while simultaneously reducing energy consumption and operating costs. This is quite a challenge to say the least.

Alcatel-Lucent's efforts in this area have resulted in some profound innovations, headlined by its new wireless networking paradigm, lightRadio™, which is designed to help service providers address growth and quality challenges.

The lightRadio technology family is comprised of innovations in antennas, radios and baseband processing, which combine to allow service providers to create next-generation architectures without the need to make complete infrastructure overhauls. Rather, lightRadio makes the most of existing wireless assets and capabilities to address cost, capacity and connectivity barriers.

The "Neo-Urbanization" of India -- Live Research on the Role of Information and Communications Technology (ICT)


By Erin Harrison 

Urbanization is modernizing many areas of the world that were previously without access to healthcare, education, employment – and technology. 

According to Alcatel-Lucent, 60 percent of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2025, which means that “neo-urbanization” — the transformation of historically rural and typically impoverished areas into cities — will have far-reaching implications and impact, including improved quality of life for countries with exploding populations.

 

In literally a quest for a deeper understanding of the impacts of all this the Alcatel-Lucent Market and Consumer Insight group has teamed up with IMRB International to piece together the “neo-urbanization” puzzle. The group is traveling across areas of India to better understand the “neo-urbanization” phenomenon in the Indian context and predicting how it will unfold in the next five to 10 years.

Integrated Communications Addresses Smart Grid Challenges for Improving Energy Efficiency


By Beecher Tuttle

Ever-increasing energy consumption, skyrocketing operating costs and pressure from regulatory bodies to help create a greener world have forced power utilities to reassess their delivery management methods.

The need for change – along with the recent influx of innovative network technologies – has led many utilities and distribution and system operators (TDSOs) to embrace the smart grid, a concept aimed at leveraging the power of next-generation networks to improve the efficiency and reliability of energy delivery and usage. The visibility and control provided by the smart grid enables utilities to match supply and demand, optimize delivery, cut operating costs and reduce carbon emissions.

In addition, a smart grid opens up a two-way communication system between utilities and customers, thus creating additional upsell opportunities and the ability for consumers to take a hands-on approach to energy conservation. Smart grid customers have access to their own webpage that details their energy consumption and the associated costs.

Deploying a smart energy grid is vital for utilities to thrive in the current environment, but it doesn't come without complications. TDSOs need to chose the appropriate technologies, understand their network requirements and make major decisions like if they should build their own communications infrastructure or lease it from a service provider.

Many of these questions can be answered by Alcatel-Lucent, whose Integrated Communications for Power Utilities solution is a proven way to take utilities into the 21st century of energy delivery and efficiency.

With its experience designing and deploying IP and LTE broadband wireless access networks, Alcatel-Lucent has a unique perspective on what is needed to get a smart grid initiative up and running.

The Challenges of Evaluating Services as Individual or Collective Customer Experiences

By Oliver Krahn, Guest Contributor, Customer Experience Transformation Lead, Alcatel-Lucent

Customer experience management (CEM) focuses on the relationship between service providers and their subscribers, and has become a critical priority in the industry.  However, the management solution chosen by service providers to meet the needs of their diverse customer bases can differ widely.

There are two ways of looking at the options:

  • Considering the subscribers as a collective group and evaluating a statistical average of experience.
  • Accepting and appreciating each individual as (s)he uses the services provided.

A New Approach to Operational Excellence for MSPs

By Erin Harrison


In today’s ever-changing telecom market, operational excellence is more important than ever for managed service providers.

In a recent whitepaper, "On The Road To Operational Excellence, Alcatel-Lucent describes a model that managed service providers can use to improve operations in support of customers’ needs for enhancing quality of experience (QoE).

How Service Providers Can Take On Customer Experience Challenges


By Erin Harrison

It's indisputable that improving the customer experience, the way end users interface with a company's support people and business processes, will improve the service provider's bottom line.

According to Alcatel-Lucent, customer experience challenges that service providers face include: the cost of acquiring new customers; technical support and customer support/help desk.

“For many service providers, the new path to profitability is a holistic approach focused on anticipating customers’ needs and improving their Quality of Experience (QoE),” according to an Alcatel-Lucent article that points out the customer experience has not always been a priority for service providers.

Wireless Service Providers Rely on lightRadio to Optimize MIMO Gains on LTE Networks



By Susan J. Campbell

As a service provider, what potential opportunities emerge if you were able to improve capacity, coverage and performance? With lightRadio technologies, you can gain support for current and anticipated wireless technologies that will address quality and growth changes; combine advancements in radios, antennas and baseband processing to support cloud principles, virtualization and architectural flexibility; and enable easy reprogramming and reconfiguration of network elements.

In this Alcatel-Lucent
lightRadio Technology Overview, the innovations to address service provider challenges is explored. These challenges easily include adding more radios, antennas, towers and processing capacity; increasing spectral bandwidth; supporting new technologies; and making better use of cell site capacity. The development of lightRadio by Alcatel-Lucent focuses on optimizing total network costs over time so each wireless provider can make the most of their existing assets and capabilities.

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