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Hackathon Generates New Conversations, New Applications and Potential Revenue Opportunities

By: Gilles Duboué, IP Platforms Innovation Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent 

Recently in Munich, Alcatel-Lucent ran a 12 hour Hackathon that pitted the industry’s best and brightest developers against each other. The mission: build the most original, compelling and marketable app using New Conversation APIs.

New Conversation APIs make the rich functionality of IP Communications simple to mash up into applications. By enabling developers to easily integrated voice, video, data and contact information into any app, service providers can innovate faster – providing entirely new communications experiences to end users from any screen, device and network. They enable operators to explore new opportunities for enhancing retail services and to pursue new wholesale markets through application partners (web, verticals, M2P, M2M…).

We Ask the Experts: How Can VoLTE Outperform Circuit-switched Services?

By Jean Jones, Director, Wireless Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

This second blog in our series begins a discussion of the most basic, yet crucial voice over LTE (VoLTE) question: How can you make sure your 4G voice service works as well — if not better — than familiar 3G wireless services. Your subscribers’ expectations are high now, as VoLTE services are launched on a larger scale. And they’re looking for carrier-grade quality.

To satisfy these expectations (and reap all the benefits of VoLTE), you need to start with a new way of thinking about service deployment. According to the VoLTE experts I’ve talked to, that means developing an end-to-end strategy. Then, ideally, carrying out your plan with the help of a cross-functional team.

We Ask The Experts: A Blog Series on Real-World VoLTE Deployments

By: Jean Jones, Director, Wireless Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent

The reasons for deploying voice over LTE (VoLTE) are simple and straightforward. The service delivers better voice quality, boosts efficiency and opens up a wider world of revenue opportunities. But the process of deploying VoLTE is more intricate. And it involves unique considerations that are still unfamiliar to many wireless network providers.

That’s why we’re launching a new blog series, based on my interviews with our VoLTE experts. Each blog will offer key lessons and tips to help your VoLTE deployment proceed smoothly and successfully. These insights come straight from our team’s experience with leading VoLTE deployments in North America.

The Secret Value of VoLTE -- Helping Enterprises Cut the Cord

By Ed Elkin, Director, IP Platforms Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent 

Businesses are always looking for new and better ways to reduce costs and boost productivity.  For decades, they’ve relied on customer premise systems that are increasingly inflexible and costly for today’s needs.  Now, voice over LTE (VoLTE) and cloud changes that old scenario, enabling the enterprise CIO to implement a mobile-first strategy that includes an ever-changing application mixture.  It gives enterprises a way to cut costs dramatically for employees who are on the move — while setting the stage to enhance all employees’ productivity.

This opportunity is a generational shift for Enterprises and Service Providers.  I’ll discuss the mobile aspect in this blog — the second in my three-part series on the value of VoLTE.  You should also check out Bryan Davies’ blog series to hear his ideas on how you can meet the changing needs of the enterprise.

The Secret Value of VoLTE

By Ed Elkin, Director, IP Platforms Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent 

At Mobile World Congress, I discovered that many network providers still aren’t aware of the broader business values of voice over LTE (VoLTE).  Most knew it readily includes HD voice for clearer calls and reduced background noise, which lets you feel like you’re standing right next to the other person. Most didn’t realize that, in unexpected ways, VoLTE helps them earn more money and increase efficiency.

An Open Access LTE Approach Offers Advantages

An Open Access LTE Approach Offers Advantages

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

I must admit that currently I don’t use LTE as much as I write about it. However, this is not for lack of wanting LTE, but rather because I live in the woods where there is not enough coverage. It is more a failure of policy than a failure of technology.

I’m not alone, and the question of how to bring LTE and the societal benefits of comprehensive mobile broadband coverage to the US and other countries is an important discussion.

Recently Bell Labs Advisory Services, the research arm of Alcatel-Lucent, looked at the various models for rolling out LTE in hard to reach places in an interesting paper, Open Access LTE: Reducing LTE Deployment Costs for Rural Broadband Coverage.  What it found was that open access LTE, where a single entity owns the spectrum and deploys a nationwide LTE network that then is rented out to mobile network operators, offers significant advantages.

The research showed that adopting an open access LTE strategy could deliver up to a 50 percent increase in adoption over the traditional approach of having each mobile network operator build out their own system.

LTE Growth Explosive, According to Alcatel-Lucent Data

By Mae Kowalke, TCMnet Contributor

They like it, they really like it!

The story of 4G LTE is not just the massive infrastructure upgrade, it also is one of intense subscriber adoption as the increased data transfer capabilities of 4G LTE make themselves known.

The number of active LTE subscribers jumped an average of 20 percent per month in 2013, according to a recent Alcatel-Lucent blog post by network intelligence general manager, Patrick Tan.

A High-Performance Evolved Packet Core is Essential to Handle Mobile Data Demand

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The glass can be half empty or half full when it comes to mobile broadband.

On the one hand, data usage is growing at exponential rates, and seems to be no end in sight. In fact, it is projected that by 2017, the monthly mobile broadband usage of the average subscriber will reach 5 GB, according to research from Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs.

On the other hand, the emergence of LTE enables operators to more cost-effectively monetize this traffic demand by rolling out quality-of-service (QoS) guarantees for sensitive data traffic such as voice-over-LTE (VoLTE), as well as other data service packages that until recently did not make sense.

Finding the glass half full from the emerging data storm requires some planning when rolling out LTE, however. Network optimization is not a given. While LTE flattens IP traffic and enables new business models it also introduces new problems. Chief among them is increased network signaling rates.

The Mobile Gateway Could Choke LTE Networks if Telcos Are Not Careful

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

LTE is the future of the network. That much is no longer in dispute in dispute.

Mobile network operators are embracing IP-based networks, and the numbers prove it. By the end of 2013, predicts the GSA, there will be 260 commercial LTE networks in 93 countries.

“Telecom operators like IP-based networks because they are interoperable and flexible,” noted Patrick McCabe, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Alcatel-Lucent, in a recent TechZine article, 3 Reasons for an IP-Optimized Mobile Gateway. “This makes them easy to modify as new IP-based functions, features, and applications become available.”

But getting there could have some bumps unless mobile network operators improve their mobile gateways, leveraging enhancements to their wireless packet cores. The mobile gateway needs to be IP-optimized if it is going to deal with the deluge of traffic that has begun and will only get worse as users get their hands on the fast speeds that come with LTE.

Managing Signaling Traffic a Must for LTE Operators

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The first wave of large-scale LTE rollouts have shown that LTE networks have significantly greater packet core signaling volume. This is partly due to the flatter, all-IP architecture of LTE where macro and micro cells are directly connected to the mobility management entity (MME), the dedicated control plane element in the evolved packet core. This is also because of the increased overall network use that comes with subscribers who have access to a faster network.

An MME can experience a sustained signaling load of more than 500-800 messages per user equipment (UE) during the normal peak busy hours and up to 1500 messages per user per hour under adverse conditions, according to a recent blog by David Nowoswiat and Gordon Milliken of Alcatel-Lucent, Managing LTE Core Network Signaling Traffic.

This is why it is incumbent that operators intelligently manage packet core signaling.

The Wireless Packet Core--How Data Moves Through an LTE Network

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

The move toward 4G LTE is a seismic shift in mobile architecture inasmuch as it finally takes operators to an all-IP architecture. No more packet/TDM mix that adds complexity and slows down the network.

The rise in LTE also has meant a explosion in demand for packet core technology. Packet core revenue grew by 20 percent in the second quarter of this year compared with last year, for instance, according to research firm Dell’Oro.

The evolved packet core (EPC), as the LTE packet core is known, is both the brains and the brawn of LTE. Data goes from handsets across the backhaul network to the EPC, where the data is processed and then forwarded onto the Internet or another public or private network from the mobile provider.

Carriers Can Benefit from Shared Mobile Data Plans

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Shared minutes have been a wild success for mobile operators, and the family plans have become the norm. But now consumers want shared data plans, too, since according to Alcatel-Lucent one in every four mobile users will have more than one device by 2016. Currently 60 percent of consumers want shared data plans, and that number is likely to grow.

Shared data plans are a boon for operators, so this trend should be embraced.

Users on shared plans typically opt for larger data buckets, for one. More than a quarter of subscribers for one leading carrier choose a data allowance of 10 GB per month or larger, according to a recent TechZine posting by Daisy Su Senior Strategic Marketing Manager, Corporate Marketing, Alcatel-Lucent, The Case for Shared Data Plans.

A New Conversation Experience: Alcatel-Lucent's 4G Consumer Communications Solution

Beecher Tuttle

Subscriber demand for more innovative, bandwidth-hungry services has driven most every service provider to build a 4G LTE network capable of providing greater capacity, reduced latency and improved pricing. But to unlock the power of a 4G LTE investment – and to continue to deliver revenue-generating voice and messaging services – carriers must look to embrace Voice over LTE (VoLTE), a core component for a new set of rich media and collaboration services that also enables operators to deliver voice without having to rely on legacy 2G/3G networks.

In short, VoLTE helps service providers capitalize on their new 4G investments. VoLTE enables operators to offload legacy infrastructure and to deliver data simultaneously with crisp HD voice. By blending mobile voice with video, converged IP messaging, the web and social networking, service providers can create new revenue-generating communication services that differentiate them from competitors. The technology is also proven to harmonize conversations across disparate providers, devices and apps.

But perhaps more than anything, VoLTE provides operators with the flexibility to respond to ever-changing technologies, market conditions and user demands. The competitive freedoms of VoLTE allow operators to experiment with and deliver new communication features for broad markets and even strategic industries like mobile healthcare.

LTE Wireless Networks -- Time to Deploy

By Mae Kowalke

Wireless operators and those who supply them infrastructure spend a lot of time focusing on the ‘data storm’ and what they are doing to stay one step ahead of it. The goal is to deliver more data, faster, with a better customer experience and greater economies of scale than in the past. Thanks to Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology, these goals are now within reach.

“According to the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA), 4G LTE is the fastest developing mobile system technology ever,” said Maniam Palanivelu, director of global 4G LTE solutions marketing at Alcatel-Lucent, in an Enriching Communications article, “LTE: The Best Thing to Happen to Wireless Networks.”

Consumer Demand Drives LTE and Creates Wireless Carrier Success

By Mae Kowalke

In the U.S., it is no secret that there is a substantial customer as well political interest in seeing that under-served areas have access to state-of-the art communications networks.  In fact, it can be argued that the data needs of such critical parts of the economy as agriculture and oil and gas exploration are as intense if not more so than those of industries in densely populated areas.  Plus, the desires and expectations of families in the areas are no less important than they are to families in other areas of the country.

What all of this translates into is that while fiber optics and WiFi have allowed most Americans broadband access vast parts of the U.S. have remained under-served for broadband.  All of that is changing.  As the major wired carriers continue to fiber their franchise areas and the national wireless carriers rush to deploy 4G LTE networks, WiFi hotspots, femtocells, etc.  Alcatel-Lucent has been leveraging the capabilities of its lightRadio™ portfolio of solutions to help mobile operators who serve less populous areas provide high-seed services to their customers at price points and performance capabilities that enable customers to enjoy the advantages of next generation devices and all the Internet has to offer in terms of content and applications. And, it allows the operators to do so at competitive prices and at a profit.     

LTE is Changing Public Transportation Operational Security

By Erin Harrison

Long-term evolution (LTE) is driving many changes in the IT landscape, not the least of which is operational security in mass transit. Railway operators and law enforcement agencies are using a range of CCTV technologies in a variety of situations to improve public safety.  Alcatel-Lucent’s TrackTalk e-zine is a great source for information and insights on what LTE can do for enabling a host of capabilities including significantly upgrading in a cost-effective manner video surveillance, IP camera monitoring and what the future of CCTV and surveillance will look like.

In a recent article that takes an expert view perspective, aptly titled, The Changing Face of Operational Security, Jeremy Haskey, Transportation System Integration Division, Alcatel-Lucent notes that, “The hype surrounding the development of LTE is justified…With greater capacity, it has the potential to revolutionize video surveillance by carrying live high-definition video to individual handheld devices carried by security personnel, staff in control centers or directly to the emergency services. The HD images will improve zoom quality making grainy images associated with current CCTV applications a thing of the past.”

Taking Public Safety to the Next Level with Video Surveillance Using 4G LTE Wireless Broadband

By Mae Kowalke

Situational awareness is the perception of what is happening in one’s vicinity and understanding how information, events and actions will impact outcomes immediately and in the future. For public safety officials, situational awareness is achieved both through direct observations and through information conveyed by technology, often voice communications.

Voice communications is so ubiquitous in public safety, in fact, that one might think it’s the only means by which situational information is conveyed.

In a LifeTalk article, “Video is the Game Changer for Public Safety,” Philippe Agard, Vice President of Business Development at Alcatel-Lucent’s public safety division states that, “With the emphasis on voice radio, it’s easy to forget that voice is only one medium we use to communicate with one another, and not even the primary channel in face-to-face communications.”  He adds that, “Most experts will tell you that a relatively small portion of our message comes through in words, the remainder transmitted by tone, inflection, volume and body language.”

Video Surveillance: Minimizing Cost and Maximizing Return on Investment

By Mae Kowalke

The use of video surveillance as a public safety and security tool is growing. Partially, that’s because homeland security regulations and initiatives around the world are driving deployment. It’s also because high capacity wireless data networks have brought down the cost of infrastructure to the point where the ability to provide comprehensive coverage is practical and cost-effective.

However, it should be noted that the initial investment and operation and maintenance costs of video surveillance can be significant. This is highlighted by the fact that protection responsibility is shifting from police/military to infrastructure owners.

“In the US energy market, for example, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation-Critical Infrastructure Protection regulations require that utilities tightly control access to their most important infrastructure,” notes Sheridan Nye, Senior Analyst at Informa Telecoms and Media’s Enterprise Verticals practice, in a LifeTalk article, “Is Video Surveillance Worth the Investment?

LTE Service Provider Solution: Reduce Cost, Increase Efficiency with Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS)

By Mae Kowalke

Mobile network operators are always looking for new ways to more efficiently use their existing infrastructure without making large capital expenditures. With the explosion of tablets and smartphones, which will increasingly be used for a variety of video applications, streamed as well as interactive, use of a 4G LTE channel for delivering multicast services such as mobile TV is viewed as one way to do so. The reason is simple. It enables network operators to offer mobile TV without the need for additional expensive licensed spectrum and without requiring new infrastructure and end-user devices that might be required to unicast content.

 

A recent Alcatel-Lucent TechZine article, “eMBMS for More Efficient Use of Spectrum,” describes the enhancements to LTE specifications that have been standardized to accommodate rapidly changing user demands and concomitant network requirements. Evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service (eMBMS) is now a multicast standard for 4G LTE precisely because it allows one-to-many distribution of video content.

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.

Give Me Captivating Conversation, Not Captive Communications

By Susan J. Campbell The communication definition is rapidly changing with the increased use of SMS, video, MMS and social networking. It is vital that users have access to a better way to support highly mobile, multimedia lifestyles. All-IP networks...

Best Practices for Improving Network Monitoring and Management

By Susan J. CampbellNetwork operators are more successful when their networks operate at peak performance levels. To ensure they can achieve such levels, proper network monitoring and management solutions must be in place. While such solutions can deliver value to...

The Move to LTE Helps Companies Meet their Wireless Demands

To show off the potential of LTE technology in the most demanding of circumstances, Alcatel-Lucent and the Texas Energy Network (TEN) recently announced that they will hold a live demonstration in New Mexico later this month.

How Can You Reduce Network Costs by Migrating to an IP Infrastructure

By David SimsFor mobile operators, according to Alcatel-Lucent officials, "migrating from a tried and tested TDM environment to an all-IP network offers tremendous opportunities in terms of a lower cost base and a richer applications environment."But it also presents technical...

Alcatel-Lucent to Host 100G Press Conference

By Erin MondaAlcatel-Lucent, a leader in the fixed, mobile, and converged broadband networking industry, will host a live Web conference on June 9 to announce its latest advances in optical transport technology. The company intends to help service providers overcome...
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