Next Generation Communications Blog

Web 2.0

Is Business Ready for the Millenials?

A brand-new survey from the respected Economist Intelligence Unit in combination with Genesys predicts finds that most companies are struggling to adapt their businesses to serve customers who are part of the Millennial Generation. The Millenials are generally thought to be those consumers born between 1982 and 2001 (7-26 years of age today).   Millenials actually outnumber baby-boomers today, and this generation will continue to grow in influence as younger members of the group reach adulthood over the next decade or so.   According to the report, three key findings emerged from the study: ·         Investment strategies are shifting to favor Millenials: Companies are debating heavily whether to invest more in catering to aging baby boomers versus next-generation consumers, with 42% saying they should tilt toward younger customers, while 39% would shift toward baby boomers and generation X. ·         The time to act is now: Most companies (54%) have not yet set their strategies or marketing for Millennials even though they overwhelmingly agree that such steps are needed, with 75% saying Millennials will impact their organization as consumers in the next three years.  ·         It's an Enterprise 2.0 world: Most companies have a sophisticated understanding of what it would take to adapt, but are not ready to change their customer engagement model by leveraging social networking, peer marketing, better online support, text messaging, and blogging.     The report underscores the need for businesses to invest in new methods of customer communication and to tailor their approaches to match specific customer preferences.   To download a copy of the report, click here.

In Tough Economy, Innovation Holds the Key

Alcatel-Lucent, currently undergoing a strategy review under their new CEO, recently said that market conditions are forcing the firm to lower their 2008 sales expectations by 2-5 percent, according to this Reuters item.   However, the article also reported that ALU's investor relations chief, Remi Thomas, said he believed "carriers would continue to invest in strategic areas designed to generate new business, in capital equipment that could reduce operating expenses, and to meet regulatory requirements."   It is precisely this need for customers to generate new business that should help firms that develop innovative telecom solutions to weather the financial storms roiling the global markets.   A recent article by Xavier Martin, who handles Strategic Marketing for the Enterprise Solutions Division at Alcatel-Lucent, speaks to the evolution currently underway at enterprises across the globe. In the article, The Dynamic Enterprise - Leveraging 2.0 Applications, the author states that:   Over the next few months and years, a growing number of mid-market, large and multinational companies will learn that significant gains can be made by integrating tangible and intangible organizational assets - network, people, processes and collective knowledge - to boost productivity and efficiency and achieve a competitive advantage.   Martin also speaks of the need for CIOs to evolve in step with the needs of their evolving enterprise to ensure that the technology is implemented in a seamless way to achieve the goals of the organization:   Their new responsibilities make it necessary for them to look beyond technology toward enabling business objectives such as attracting customers and supporting key processes. Thus, in Dynamic Enterprises, CIOs must carefully tailor their portfolio of projects with an eye to realizing a comprehensive business transformation over a period of time.   Check out the full article here.

touchatag Gives Application Developers Opportunity to Innovate

touchatag is an online Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) service that enables developers and Web-savvy consumers to create innovative one-touch applications which connect everyday objects with online applications.   The key word to note for today's exercise is "developers," or more correctly, application developers.   The touchatag Developer Network was launched to give these developers an opportunity to create innovative touchatag applications.   Borrowing a concept from previous partner programs and developer communities, the touchatag Developer Network was created to address a simple and well understood fact; namely that no team of developers could ever hope to create every possible application that would make use of touchatag.   Rather, according to developer relations manager Ted Haeger, "The community exists to provide developers with economic opportunities and programming interfaces so that third party innovation can run far and wide."   A recent article entitled, Developers Key to Success of touchatag Project, discusses these opportunities and offers some market projections as well as highlighting several "showcase applications" that have already been created using the core elements of the touchatag solution.   As the author states, application developers, "...can easily and quickly deploy countless applications, limited only by their collective imagination."  

RFID Opportunity Grows

In a recent article, touchatag: The Interactive Advertising Opportunity, the author cited industry research that highlighted the opportunity that exists in the RFID space.   Analysts estimate that the market for RFID network, software and services will increase over a five-year period from around $1 billion in 2008 to over $6 billion in 2013 (IDTechEx). Strategy Analytics projects that in 2012 around 250 million NFC phones will be sold and that in 2017 over 1 trillion RFID labels will be tagged. According to ABI Research, the RFID market is expected to generate $9.7 billion by 2013.   Well, ABI Research has updated their numbers and is now calling for total revenue earned from RFID transponders, readers, software and services to top the $5.6 billion mark this year, according to the latest market data from ABI Research practice director Michael Liard.   The research study, titled RFID Annual Market Overview, portrays the market as fragmented, but Liard says, "...despite some project deferrals and terminations, there will be market growth."   According to Liard, "...the RFID market continues to be worthy of cautious optimism in the near to mid-term."   These numbers underscore the opportunity for application developers.  A recent article, Developers Key to Success of touchatag Project, further explores the opportunity for developers to leverage solutions such as Alcatel-Lucent's touchatag, to create exciting new applications.

Alcatel-Lucent Announces Rich Communications Platform

Alcatel-Lucent continues to evolve their rich messaging/unified communications strategy. Today the company announced the Rich Communications Manager, a platform designed to deliver what the company calls, "a Web 2.0 experience with enhanced Web messaging, providing an online web interface for subscribers to manage their communication needs."   The solution lets users retrieve, view, respond to, and forward voicemails, SMS, MMS, emails, and fax from a Web-based portal.   The solution allows users to view all types of messages in a single converged message queue and also eliminates multiple logins, user interfaces as might be required by various messaging applications.   Rich Communications Manager also targets service providers, giving them the tools they need to improve and simplify how their end users communicate by integrating different services in a single portal.

touchatag: Changing The Way We Consume, Share Media

Consumers are driving a major shift in the way media services are consumed and shared, and savvy application developers are poised to leverage the latest tools and advances in technology to present these consumers with an ever-growing array of choices in how they will interact with next-generation media.   One recent innovation comes in the form of touchatag, the online Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) service that enables developers and Web-savvy consumers to create innovative one-touch applications, which connect everyday objects with online applications.   One such application would allow users to take the age-old paradigm of sharing a mix tape and updating that practice to the 21st century.   The application in question lets users control their iTunes account via a music player cube made up of six tags, all applied to the sides of a cube. Users can assign controls (like play, stop, next track), music files (that you can stream over the internet) and Web radio stations to the touchatags. Since a cube has 6 sides there are 6 things your cube can tell iTunes to do by just touching the touchatag reader. The idea is that you stick the 6 tags on the sides of a cube (like an old Rubik's cube, a photo frame cube or a foam toy die).   Or perhaps, more simply, users can leverage the touchatag solution to create custom playlists to personalize media selection and facilitate content sharing.   The point here is that application developers and creative end users can design a wide variety of touchatag-enabled applications, limited only by their imagination.   For developers, touchatag has launched an online community where interested parties can access a full API suite enabling them to easily build and extend contactless applications.   For more information, read the article entitled touchatag Presses Play in Entertainment, Smart Toys Segments or visit the touchatag Web site.    

ng Connect Expansion Nets Four New Members

The recently announced ng Connect Program has been enjoying strong growth as industry interest in next generation communications grows apace. Launched in February 2009, the ng Connect Program added four new members last week, bringing the total number of companies in the program to 18.   According to a recent article chronicling the expansion of the program, ng Connect is a multi-industry initiative formed to create a "rich and diverse ecosystem of infrastructure, devices, content and applications for both mobile and fixed broadband networks" including 4G, Long Term Evolution (LTE), GPON and other ultra high bandwidth technologies.   The new members include:   Atlantic Records -- Currently a top label in the music industry, Atlantic has a rich history as the home to such musical icons as Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, John Coltrane, and Led Zeppelin. Kyocera Communications Inc. (KCI) -- A new venture addressing the sales, marketing and service needs for Kyocera and Sanyo-branded wireless devices in the Americas, the company's devices are driving the convergence of telecommunications, broadband and multimedia. LearningMate -- A provider of end-to-end e-Learning education solutions by developing engaging, instructionally sound, interactive learning experiences on a variety of technology platforms and devices. MediaTile -- A supplier of all-in-one cellular digital signage and kiosk solutions designed to help customers manage and monitor their advertising, informational or interactive communications network.   According to Derek Kuhn, vice president of Emerging Technology and Media, Alcatel-Lucent, "The ng Connect program is making great progress signing up new members who are actively working together to build an open ecosystem that we know can bring whole new classes of services to market; services that can leverage the growing capabilities of service-aware IP networks, IMS and more."  

Alcatel-Lucent: Some Thoughts on Rich Communications Manager

Alcatel-Lucent recently launched its 5155 Rich Communications Manager -- a solution that essentially provides a Web framework to bring together messaging, network address book, and other services with seamless interoperation.   Its WebDesk interoperates with other Alcatel-Lucent offerings, such as the 5100 Converged Messaging System, the 5410 XDMS Network Address Book, and the 5110 SMSC, company officials say. Importantly, especially in this slower economy, the solution's standards-based interfaces can be integrated with other network elements to provide converged and unified messaging.   The solution was chosen "Most Innovative Mobile Application" at the Andrew Seybold Choice Awards.   Alcatel-Lucent officials say the solution is designed to allow mobile and wireline end users to retrieve, view, respond, and forward video, photos and text from a Web portal that also integrates address books between user devices.   TMCnet had a chance to put some questions about the new product to Ray Colbert, Alcatel-Lucent's director of Rich Communication marketing strategy.
Alcatel-Lucent has put a lot of thought into streamlining communications and saving costs for businesses, and in addition, has paid attention to end users' habits and the rising popularity of social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter.   Colbert's comments bear that out, as he told TMCnet in the interview that Alcatel-Lucent understands that the Web is where innovation is happening now.

Citizen Media Project Results

Alcatel-Lucent is part of a group of companies that presented the findings of a Europe-wide research project that evaluated ways in which average citizens could become engaged in the creation and development of innovative online applications. Addressing the boom in new user-generated digital content and the new digital formats with which they are shared, the partners investigated in particular the role that the Internet and television play in creating social networks and how these media can influence people's daily lives and foster social change.   The Citizen Media study spanned almost three years and tracked how thousands of non-professionals (those with no prior ICT experience or Internet usage) invented and developed socially-beneficial applications.   In the end, participants from Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Norway created a diverse series of applications that were deemed to deliver some social benefit.   The sociologists and engineers who made up the Citizen Media research team were led by Michiel Pelt of Alcatel-Lucent's Bell Labs in Antwerp who noted, "This is technology upside down. The advantage of working with living labs is that by observing and working with end-users who are designing, developing and deploying their ideas we can quickly turn these inventions into socially relevant innovations that have value to them. Innovations that are built with customers have a higher probability of sustainable market adoption so this type of Open Innovation really pays off."   To view videos, content, etc., feel free to visit the Citizen Media Web site.

Rich Tehrani: ng Connect Interview

Rich Tehrani has an interesting recent blog post titled, ng Connect Improves the User Experience, in which he publishes an interview he conducted with Chris Carfagnini, Director of Emerging Technology & Media for Alcatel-Lucent.   Presented here, is Rich's entry in its entirety. For more insights from Rich Tehrani, please visit his Communications and Technology blog.  
  ng Connect Improves the User Experience Device and service convergence continues to accelerate and as it does, the complexity involved in creating new products and services increases. A counter to the trend of increasing complexity is the new multi-industry ng Connect Program, founded by Alcatel-Lucent which is establishing a rich and diverse ecosystem of infrastructure, device, content and applications for both mobile and fixed broadband networks including 4G, LTE, GPON and other ultra high bandwidth technologies.   The group accelerates the deployment of new devices and services by helping to determine interoperability across industries such as automotive, entertainment, wireless and consumer electronics. The value proposition for members include access to research, reduced development costs and a first mover advantage across markets. For carriers there is the increased use of broadband, reduced OPEX and churn and accelerated time to market.   For consumers the benefits include better integration of disparate entertainment systems, a higher level of value for devices which are part of this initiative, enhanced payment options and perhaps lower cost for a variety of next-gen services and devices.   The interview is below.   What is the ultimate goal of the ng Connect Program? The primary goal is to facilitate improved end user experiences on all forms of ultra high bandwidth broadband connections.
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