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Helping Customers Help Themselves: The Era of Self-Service

By: Jessica Verbruggen, Integrated Marketing Assistant at Alcatel-Lucent Motive

While the Internet and all of the technologies that have stemmed from its creation have served to make our lives easier in many ways, they can also be very confusing and frustrating at times. In these times, people have traditionally turned to call centers to get customer support. In today’s increasingly digitized world though, fewer people are relying on this form of assisted service. Contacting a call center tends to be time consuming and, often times, frustrating. Traditional customer support is not very well-suited to handling the millions of very specific questions that arise during device usage every day. Enter mobile self-service.

There are few areas of our economy today that haven't been touched by the growing self-service industry. Many, it seems, prefer to resolve their issues themselves. People relish the ability to “do it themselves” because it affords them a certain level of control over their devices and services that was previously not attainable.

Addressing the threat from OTT voice apps with VoLTE

By: Josee Loudiadis, Director of Network Intelligence, Alcatel-Lucent 

Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and rich communications services can help mobile service providers reclaim market share being lost to over-the-top (OTT) applications.

Voice and text revenues are declining as mobile service providers (MSPs) face an unprecedented challenge from OTT communication apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and lesser known entrants, including WhatsApp and LINE. At first, MSPs enjoyed net gains because the use of these apps had generated significant data revenue. But times have changed. While still a source of revenue, these apps have begun to erode MSP’s native voice and messaging revenue.

To illustrate, let’s look at WhatsApp, who recently debuted its business model for mobile virtual network operators. In this model, WhatsApp (now owned by Facebook) provides voice and messaging services while leasing wireless services from a mobile operator. This means that MSPs are left with price per bit as their sole differentiator.

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.

THE SECRET VALUE OF VoLTE - WHAT'S IN IT FOR CONSUMERS

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

Today’s consumers want faster mobile broadband, and lots of it. That’s the dominant fact shaping Mobile Service Providers’ competitive strategies. So let’s look at what you can offer these valuable subscribers with voice over LTE (VoLTE).

The proof is in: Measuring VoLTE, 3G and Skype in the Live Network

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

There’s been a lot of debate within the industry about VoLTE’s readiness and how it stacks up against 3G voice and applications like Skype.

Now Signals Research Group (SRG), a leading field research and consulting services leader covering the wireless telecommunications industry, has closely studied the performance of VoLTE, 3G and Skype in AT&T’s commercial network and issued their report.  As we noted last week, SRG conducted that independent network benchmark study in Minneapolis-St. Paul, in collaboration with Spirent Communications. This is a market where Alcatel-Lucent provides the infrastructure, so I’m particularly glad to share this report with my friends and colleagues who’ve helped design, deploy and optimize VoLTE

During June and July, SRG tested VoLTE, 3G and Skype for everyday conditions, including stationary and mobile locations, strong and weak radio coverage, and under a variety of network loading and multi-tasking conditions. The tests evaluated voice quality, call setup time, call reliability, eSRVCC handovers, network resource utilization, and battery life.

We ask the experts: How can exceptional QoE be achieved in VoLTE networks?

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

What does voice over LTE (VoLTE) offer your subscribers? Better voice quality, including HD voice. Rich communications with messaging and video. And whatever inventive applications you choose to introduce. In other words, VoLTE can provide a superior quality of experience (QoE) for subscribers and give you a competitive edge — particularly when your service operates at its best. 

ALU.7.28.14.1.JPG

In my last blog[CCE1] , our experts explained why an end-to-end strategy is the key to maintaining peak VoLTE performance. Now we’ll look at how this strategy gets put into practice to optimize real-world service offerings. The information here is based on interviews with Luis Venerio who works with our VoLTE Readiness Services team. And his observations come straight from his experience on VoLTE deployments that serve millions of subscribers.

We ask the experts: How can exceptional QoE be achieved in VoLTE networks?

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

What does voice over LTE (VoLTE) offer your subscribers? Better voice quality, including HD voice. Rich communications with messaging and video. And whatever inventive applications you choose to introduce. In other words, VoLTE can provide a superior quality of experience (QoE) for subscribers and give you a competitive edge — particularly when your service operates at its best. 

ALU.7.28.14.1.JPG

In my last blog[CCE1] , our experts explained why an end-to-end strategy is the key to maintaining peak VoLTE performance. Now we’ll look at how this strategy gets put into practice to optimize real-world service offerings. The information here is based on interviews with Luis Venerio who works with our VoLTE Readiness Services team. And his observations come straight from his experience on VoLTE deployments that serve millions of subscribers.

The WebRTC Craze

Blog post is co-written by Anne Lee, Chief Technology Officer of IMS Innovations at Alcatel-Lucent and recently recognized by the industry as a WebRTC pioneer and by Gilles Duboué, IP Platforms Innovation Marketing at Alcatel-Lucent.

The craze for WebRTC grows louder as its realization in the market begins to be marked with high profile adoptions such as in Google Hangouts, Amazon Mayday, and SnapChat’s AddLive solution. The formal standardization of WebRTC began in 2011.  Early implementations by Google and Mozilla, on Chrome and Firefox respectively, followed shortly - beginning in 2012.  And with the availability of developer versions of WebRTC on Chrome and Firefox, an ecosystem of proof-of-concept and early commercial products and solutions quickly emerged.  Open source plug-ins are filling the gap in browsers that do not yet support WebRTC e.g. Internet Explorer.  There is also clear progress being made in WebRTC standards for ORTC.  Given this, we expect that WebRTC ORTC will likely be natively available on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer within the next 18 months.

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.

Your Current IP Session Border Controller Won't Cut It Long Term

By Mae Kowalke, TMCnet Contributor

Conversations are changing.

In the past, people could expect to call each other, e-mail or meet in person. But the new conversation experience includes the ability to instantly interact via multimedia with others, video conference from any location and without installing special software, and seamlessly merge several different voice and chat streams.

The session border controllers currently used by many network operators are not meant to handle this complex new communications environment.

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.

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.

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.”

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