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Here Comes the Cloud: How to Cut Service Creation Time & Grow Revenue

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.

The Internet Poses Challenges for Sustainability

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

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.

IP/MPLS Helps the Paris Metro Handle Increasing Complexity and Commuter Volume

p>By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

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.

Answering the Question, 'What's up with the data center network?'

By: Peter Bernstein, TMCnet Senior Editor

In the search for more knowledge about the incredible pace of innovation and change that is driving major network transformation by enterprises and service providers; it is always a good idea to review the postings of those on the front lines.  This is why the recent blog by Marten Hauville, Principal Solutions Architect (ANZ) for cloud networking specialist Alcatel-Lucent’s Nuage Networks  business unit and Co-Organizer of the Australian OpenStack User Group, caught my attention.

Hauville in his blog raises and answers a timely question, “What’s up with the data center network?” 

New network service platform adds agility to cloud computing

Guest blog: Paul Parker-Johnson, leader of cloud and virtual system infrastructures practice at ACG Research

Alcatel-Lucent has developed its Network Services Platform (NSP) as a unified solution for creating agility in delivering network services. NSP brings efficiency and flexibility to the front-end problems of new service creation and the immediately downstream problems of operating those services efficiently and intelligently in a multilayer, multidomain, multivendor network. It does so in a unified and holistically designed solution.

Remarkable gains have been made in the cloud computing community to create and deploy new services efficiently and at scale. It’s also true that a significant impediment to service delivery is the rigidity of networks we deploy and processes used to define and instantiate services being offered.

A great deal of energy has been expended in recent years to enhance the flexibility of networks. Solutions have begun to appear that address parts of the problem, but to date they have been constrained to a particular function or domain and haven’t actually solved the whole agile service delivery problem for networks.

Until the Alcatel-Lucent NSP.

How to Secure the Growing Internet of Things

By: Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

The Internet of Things is based on the concept of sharing large amounts of data – even if it’s a little bit at a time – in real time. The collection and analysis of such data can allow for better business intelligence, higher levels of safety and security, lower cost and more proactive maintenance, and potentially improved health and welfare.

But more connectivity and more data sharing also can mean more potential for security problems.

Video Shows How Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) Actually Works

By: Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Rarely does a video about network functions virtualization (NFV) captivate your attention like the one that Alcatel-Lucent recently uploaded about service innovation and lean operations in the context of NFV. Sometimes NFV can be a challenging concept to get your head around, but the video breaks it down with clear visuals and none of the PowerPoint that usually puts you to sleep.

If you haven’t seen the video you can watch the embedded version below. But also let me explain what the video is talking about.

5 areas OpenStack needs help to support NFV

By: Andreas Lemke, Marketing Lead, CloudBand NFV platform, Alcatel-Lucent
From original Alcatel-Lucent TechZine posting

OpenStack isn’t an as-is solution for telco network functions virtualization (NFV) infrastructures. OpenStack is an open-source cloud management technology that provides many of the capabilities needed in any NFV environment. And this has prompted interest among many telco service providers.

But to realize the full benefits of NFV, service providers need NFV platforms that provide additional capabilities to support distributed clouds, enhanced network control, lifecycle management, and high performance data planes.

Analytics, Visibility are Key for Service Providers in Addressing the Connected Home

By Paula Bernier, TMC Executive Editor

Churn can be a costly problem for service providers, particularly when it gets up into the high double-digit percentages. And that’s exactly what can happen when customers are less than satisfied with their communications services. In fact, it has been estimated that churn is 89 percent for subscribers who have a poor customer experience.

But there is an answer.

NFV INSIGHTS: The right SDN is right for NFV

By: Roland Mestric, Director, Video Solutions Marketing

It feels like it was just a few months ago when you could read articles in the trade press lumping together SDN and NFV with NFV being a form of SDN or vice versa.  Yes, both somehow are about virtualization and about converting hardware into software. Today – after numerous proofs-of-concept run by service provides around the globe – we know the role of SDN as virtually indispensable for NFV solutions that aspire to deliver the kind of agility and operational simplification we all expect from NFV. Only SDN can deliver quickly enough the (virtual) networks needed for newly deployed network functions. Alcatel-Lucent has recently demonstrated a complete virtual evolved packet core (vEPC) including a virtual IMS/VoLTE deployed in less than 30 minutes.

NFV INSIGHTS: Why Distribution Matters

By: Andreas Lemke, Alcatel-Lucent Sr. Marketing Manager – Cloud

 “GM factories reduce production in aftermath of Japan earthquake 2011”, “Hard disk shortage due to Thailand flooding 2012“, “Drug shortages continue to vex doctors”, “China factory fire sends memory chip prices to three-year high (2013)”. Industrial supply chains are becoming increasingly tenuous as they are thinned out and stretched across the globe. Raw materials are available from fewer and fewer specialized suppliers and warehouses are eliminated for just-in-time production. Small, local incidents affect the supply of goods on a global scale.

In the IT industry we are seeing a similar trend. Enterprises are moving their applications and data to the cloud, but this cloud is often highly centralized and not as resilient, free flowing, or efficient as one might think. Amazon Web Services, the largest cloud provider in the world, is serving their global customers from no more than two handfuls of locations. Netflix and other companies have experienced major outages due to single failures in the cloud they used.

So what does this mean for NFV?

Agile Optical Networking Breaks Speed Records and Meets Customer Demands

Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

With adequate bandwidth and network speeds now a cornerstone of life for both businesses and consumers, optical transport is increasingly becoming a key solution for network operators.

The market for optical network equipment is expected to reach $15 billion by 2018, according to research firm, Dell’Oro. Optical transport of the 100G variety is expected to make up 80 percent of that demand.

Communications Industry Researchers (CIR) also recently released a report predicting that the market for 400G will hit $528 million by 2019, and the market for supporting optical components and silicon devices will reach $195 million that year.

Clearly, optical networking matters. It is easy to see why when looking at the recent achievements of Alcatel-Lucent’s agile optical networking technologies.

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.

OpenTouch--Welcome to the Personal Cloud

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

What mobility has done is change the conversation. For the past 30 years, enterprise data communication was about the personal computer. But that’s shifting as smartphones and tablets have given the world the ability to more easily perform work from any device with a cellular and/or Wi-Fi connection. The cloud has then given business the ability to perform business with these devices, effectively taking enterprise computing resources and making them available to any employee with authorized access at any time.

The bring-your-own-device (BYOD) trend within the enterprise is the manifestation of this. And, IP-based communications of all types has also changed quite a bit driven by mobility and the cloud. Collaborative conversation is much easier, and video conferencing is easier than ever.

Helping to meet the needs of the new direction of business companies such as Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) have developed services that help enable this transformation of business.

How the Cloud is Making Datacenters Dynamic

By: Sunil Khandekar, CEO, Nuage Networks

The future of datacenters is virtual, automatic, cloud-based, instantaneous, and boundary-less. These might not be the words associated with datacenters today -- you're more likely to hear slow, cumbersome, and related words in the same breath -- but software is driving this revolution in networking.

It has been undergoing a massive shift to the cloud for years now, driven by enterprise motivations to consolidate, as well as to use computer resources more optimally and efficiently. While computing virtualization has driven this transformation, the network has fallen woefully behind. Imagine having 20 virtual machines (VMs) in a server: Tomorrow that number grows to 100, to 200 the day after, and so on.

As you realize the implications of this growth in the datacenter, it becomes clear that the traditional networking approach of connecting those VMs is mindboggling because it doesn't deliver the true promise of the cloud -- instant access to apps anytime, anywhere and with no disruptions.

Service Providers Cut Costs and Boost Agility by Taking a Cloud Approach to Operations

By Mae Kowalke

The cloud is one of the hottest trends in computing, and communication service providers (CSPs) have an edge when it comes to cloud services. That’s because unlike IT and internet companies, CSPs also control their own network. This gives CSP’s a unique advantage and the carrier cloud a leg up on other offerings.

But the carrier cloud is only one way that CSPs can benefit from the cloud. They also can apply the same technique used with the cloud, namely virtualization, to evolve their own operations.

Innovation Allows Broadband to Get to Fast Faster

By Susan Campbell

Demands on broadband providers have been nothing short of intense the last few years. The predicted “data storm” has arrived and users now expect more flexibility, capability, quality performance, and access to rich applications and features. This can be a challenge for service providers trying to meet the need, but is also creating new opportunities and revenue streams when challenges are overcome to improve service delivery overall.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent blog, Connecting the World – from Innovation to Reality, highlights these opportunities. Author Dave Geary, President Alcatel-Lucent Wireline, points out the socio-economic benefits of broadband. And, while we’re aware of the increase in mobility and growing demand for access, there are also a few other stats that may be surprising for some vendors, including that wirelines still mater.

Seven Steps to Assess Eco-Impact of ICT

By Susan J. Campbell

As much as we have come to rely on communications technologies to stay connected and streamline business processes, those providing the access must still pay attention to the impact on the environment. Eco-sustainability in fact is emerging not just as an issue of being a good corporate neighbor, but as important for being a preferred provider of products and services.  This is why it has become important that the telecommunications industry use a uniform protocol for measuring the eco-impact of its services and networks.

A recent Alcatel-Lucent TechZine article, Seven Steps to Greater Green House Gas Awareness in ICT, explored this topic. It highlights the new global standards designed to create a unified approach to the measurement of green house gas emissions. Focus is on current life cycle assessment tools such as those developed by Alcatel-Lucent (ALU) which can be employed by ICT vendors, particularly the telecom ones, for estimating the eco-impact of services and/or networks in a meaningful and actionable way.

Leveraging the Power of the Cloud to Deliver Teleworking, Social Networking Services

By Beecher Tuttle

The idea that a company exists within the four walls of an office is quickly becoming antiquated. Today's enterprises are increasingly relying on remote workers – aka, “teleworkers” – to contribute to their core business.

The newfound prevalence of teleworking is due to a variety of factors, including recent advancements in technology, social trends and the sheer number of benefits that it can provide to both enterprises and their employees. These factors were recently referenced in a recent Enriching Communications posting, The Office is Not Always the Premises, by Bryan Davies, Director of Advanced Communications Solutions at Alcatel-Lucent (ALU).

Companies have begun to accept teleworking as a viable option because of its proven ability to help reduce costs. By hiring remote workers, enterprises can continue to grow in their current facility without needing to add office space or absorb an uptick in energy consumption. In addition, companies can reduce absenteeism by creating fewer impediments to an employee coming to work, says Davies.

Cloud-Based Video Provides New Immersive Communications Capabilities

By Erin Harrison

Today’s end user is looking for a richer conversation experience when using a variety of network-connected devices.

For example, new technologies are emerging that allow people to use any video-enabled device to enter a shared virtual space, and discuss and share information in a way that is almost like being together in the same physical space. As a result, these advances in video communications have provided a new opportunity for service providers to bring interactive video conversations to any device, from anywhere.

According to an article in Alcatel-Lucent’s Enriching Communications, Immersive Communications: A New Video Conversation Experience, with these new technologies users will no longer be limited to the confines of telepresence rooms to experience an immersive conversation at long distance. They will be able to experience this at work, at home and on the move – holding video meetings and sharing documents over PCs, tablets and smartphones.

Opt-In Mobile Marketing Strategy: 6 Tips for Success

By Susan J. Campbell

As consumers, we are constantly on the go with a mobile device of some kind in our hand providing directions, connection with a colleague or access to the data we need to close the big deal. The same device guides our social lives as we’ve come to rely on smart devices to manage our activities, content and connections. For brands, this provides the perfect opportunity to develop an Opt-In Mobile Marketing Strategy.

A recent blog by Mihai Vlad of Alcatel-Lucent’s Optism unit entitled, Thinking Human: Six Steps for Building a Successful Opt-In Mobile Marketing Strategy, highlights the opportunity that exists with the proliferation of the mobile phone as the must-have device. By developing an Opt-In Mobile Marketing Strategy, mobile operators, marketers and their brands can ask permission before engaging with consumers. In doing so, it provides unprecedented access to the consumer’s attention and the opportunity to build trust.

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.

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.

Driving DSL Network Performance Excellence with Motive Network Analyzer

Susan J. Campbell

Driving DSL Network Performance Excellence with Motive Network Analyzer

A dramatic rise in the performance required of digital subscriber line (DSL) networks is being caused by consumer adoption of bandwidth-demanding triple-play services. With the support of new real-time voice and high-definition video services, DSL network lines are now operating closer to their physical limits. This is straining copper and fiber capabilities and making them more vulnerable to quality and stability problems in delivering high quality experiences to individual households.  

To meet these challenges, service providers must have the right tools and processes to meet the expectations of customers on DSL networks, while also preventing the escalation of operational expenses (OPEX) in doing so even as migrations to all fiber connections are taking place.

This fall Alcatel-Lucent announced that its Motive Network Analyzer surpassed the 100 customer mark. The big draw for this solution is its ability to enable service providers to identify, diagnose and troubleshoot all DSL problems across fiber and copper that can affect the customers’ experience when leveraging broadband service.

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