Next Generation Communications Blog

January 2009

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The Digital Hospital is no Longer a Dream

Among the vertical markets that are benefitting from the rapid and widespread growth of technology the healthcare space is clearly a winner. Whether it's imaging or robotic surgery, hospitals the world over are evolving quickly, deploying the latest technological innovations, and offering ever more advanced services to their patients.   Flying under the radar of this technological change, are the changes occurring to the communications infrastructure that underpins these hospitals and allows the practitioners (nurses, doctors, administrators...) to get on with the business of helping people, saving lives, etc... in a more effective, efficient manner.   The so-called digital hospital is no longer a dream.   Case in point, a recent edition of Alcatel-Lucent's Enriching Communications magazine, featured a case study of Annecy Hospital and how the facility is benefitting from Alcatel-Lucent solutions as deployed by NextiraOne.   Annecy Regional Hospital Center (CHRA) is the largest hospital in the Haute-Savoie department in the French Alps, with over 970 beds. Every year, the facility's 2,400 healthcare personnel handles more than 50,000 emergency cases and treats 70,000 patients, requiring 300,000 hospital bed-days.   The plans called for the deployment of next-generation communications infrastructure. The solution had to offer tight security and it had to allow for mobility, allowing information to be available in all areas across the healthcare campus.

Genesys Acquisitions Target Productivity Growth, Cost Reduction

Brendan Read, senior contributing editor of TMC's Customer Inter@ction Solutions magazine writes on his blog, The Readerboard, about the recent acquisition of Conseros and SDE by Genesys Telecommunications Labs, an Alcatel-Lucent company.   The theme is reducing costs and increasing productivity, two themes that are near and dear to enterprises of all shapes and sizes as this current economy continues to be a cause for concern.   Here is Read's entry in its entirety:   One of the signature features of Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, owned by Alcatel-Lucent, and why it is highly respected is its ability to execute thoroughly: whether in devising and enhancing new software or buying other industry firms.   A case in point is Genesys' announcements today of two acquisitions: Conseros, which provides software that enables dynamically prioritizing work task distribution, and SDE the creators of the Genesys Customer Interaction Portal (GCIP). The two moves are very timely because these firms bring to Genesys, and to its customers and prospects solutions that can help them increase their productivity and reduce costs.   The Conseros acquisition adds to the Genesys intelligent Workload Distribution (iWD) solution the ability to extend and route calls to outside of contact centers, such as bank tellers, field techs, retail clerks, and back office staff based on skills-based routing and availability.   This functionality, says Genesys, saves on facilities, equipment, and headcount costs. Rather than hire and outfit, say, 10 new agents in the contact center, they can leverage a small portion of 100 back office employees.   There is growing anecdotal evidence to support the effectiveness of iWD.

Infonetics: ALU Among Top Mobile WiMAX Vendors

A recent survey conducted by Infonetics finds that Alcatel-Lucent is among the top vendors in the mobile WiMAX market.   According to the survey, which asked Service Providers to name the top equipment suppliers in the space, Alcatel-Lucent, Alvarion, Huawei and Motorola led the list of a dozen gear makers.   The survey, Perception Is Everything: WiMAX Vendor Leadership Service Provider Survey, was conducted over the course of two months (October/November) 2008, and asked purchase decision makers at incumbent, competitive, and mobile operators that own and operate a mobile WiMAX network (or will by 2010) about their:   ·         Mobile WiMAX and cellular mobile network deployment plans ·         Most important criteria for choosing a mobile WiMAX equipment vendor ·         Familiarity with 10 mobile WiMAX vendors ·         Perception of the top vendors in the mobile WiMAX market ·         Ratings of 10 mobile WiMAX vendors based on 7 criteria: handsets and applications, WiMAX network performance, end-to-end solutions, pricing, product feature/roadmap, service and support, and ecosystem   Of the Service Provider respondents 41% are from Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA); 23% are from Asia Pacific; 18% are from North America; and 18% are from Central and Latin America (CALA).

Change is Good, Enriching Even

It's ironic that in the days leading up to the inauguration of President-Elect Obama to think that the word "change" would connote anything but a positive message. However, as Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Products group President Tom Burns writes in the introduction to the most recent edition of Enriching Communications magazine:   As creatures of habit, both individuals and organizations have historically been resistant to change. This is primarily because of the discomfort and uncertainty that it invariably introduces.   And yet, as Burns notes, in today's rapidly changing business environment individuals and businesses ignore change at their own risk. In fact, a plethora of ever-changing conditions are constantly contributing to what is being referred to as a transformative imperative.   Today's emerging communications tools, encompassing end-to-end IP infrastructure, and dynamic applications that fall under the category of 'Web 2.0' are forcing enterprises to rethink the way they communicate internally as well as with their customers.   Burns believes that at the center of this evolving communications landscape is the realization that knowledge -- both tacit and explicit -- must be transformed into actionable intelligence, "enriched by contributions, comments from virtual teams and ultimately strengthened by the "wisdom of crowds," yielding what he refers to as connected knowledge."   He explains his vision of the concept of connected knowledge as the "ability to get the right information from the right person, on the right device, at the right time, whether at the office or in a mobile environment - to make a difference in a business situation."   The enterprise of today is a vastly different environment than the workplace of even a decade ago. The speed with which information travels, gets consumed, reshaped, and redistributed is mind-boggling.   Alcatel-Lucent views these changes as contributing to what they call the Dynamic Enterprise.   Many of the articles that appear in the current issue of Enriching Communications explore the boundaries of the dynamic enterprise, and illuminate a world where network, people, processes and knowledge all interconnect to benefit all who come in contact with this flow of information.   Check back often to the Next-Generation Communications community often to stay up to date with the latest articles designed to give you a glimpse into the dynamic enterprise.

Multi-Screen = Mega Opportunity

A new trend is sweeping the land.   Consumers, once tied to their television screens or computer monitors are now leveraging a wealth of modern devices to stray far from their homes and offices, while consuming an ever greater array of content. It's no longer necessary to rush home to catch the latest episode of a favorite program, or stay late in the office to stay up to speed with an important webcast. Increasingly end users are taking this content "to go."   As we touched on in our last blog entry, the opportunity facing service providers and advertisers alike when it comes to enabling -- and serving ads to -- this new nomadic audience, is huge.   Today we'll focus a bit more on operators and how they can enable this so-called multi-screen experience.   In a recent article in Alcatel-Lucent's Enriching Communications magazine, authors Thomas Fuerst and Richard Fraser of the company's Carrier Business Group discuss how service providers need to begin planning for this increasingly important trend in consumer service consumption.   Today's iPod weaned, touch-screen enabled consumer, who has the expectation of broadband everywhere, has come to expect the ability to download applications and watch programming on any device, in any location. And they'll want the ability to reuse that content across multiple screens i.e., multiple devices.   Imagine downloading a documentary to watch on your 50-inch plasma set at home. You have to leave for work, but that's ok, the show has been synced with your mobile device, which allows you to watch more of the program on the train as you make your way to the office.

ALU Enables Operators in Mobile TV Race

Historians fondly remember the golden age of television, that period of time, which spanned the late 1940's through to the early 1960's. By the late 1950's television had become the dominant form of in-house entertainment, and manufacturers and consumer goods companies began to advertise their wares to this somewhat captive audience.   According to the Web site for The Museum of Broadcast Communications, the term soap opera even has its roots in commercially-sponsored daytime programming, where "the term "soap" in soap opera alluded to their sponsorship by manufacturers of household cleaning products."   Advertisers had decades of uninterrupted access to this audience.   Now fast forward to today. TV viewership is rapidly declining, the advent of digital video recorders makes it possible for viewers to skip through commercials, making advertising a difficult business indeed.   Today's opportunities for advertisers lie beyond the so-called "boob tube" -- with users consuming video entertainment in ever more innovative ways, advertisers need to keep pace. One way to do so is to provide advertising messaging that is compatible with the increase in Mobile TV or Mobile Entertainment..   A recent article in Alcatel-Lucent's Enriching Communications magazine, entitled Early Movers in Mobile TV are Poised to Capture a Burgeoning Market cites research by ABI Research that posits   the number of mobile TV subscribers worldwide will grow from 11 million in 2006 to 462 million in 2012, representing a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 85%. But cashing in on this growth will require service providers to make significant changes to existing network infrastructures and business models.   This is certainly fertile opportunity for advertisers and carriers alike to serve ads to their customers.   The article provides case studies, in particular a look at how Australian carrier Telstra is bringing its solution to market.   The solution is based on Alcatel-Lucent's 5910 MiTV solution, which enables a highly personalized, interactive service with advanced features, including fast channel change, user interactivity and a compact client for embedded applications on handsets.   Another case study focuses in on ICO Global communications, a satellite communications company based in Reston, Virginia.   The operator has developed an advanced hybrid system combining satellite and terrestrial communication capabilities to offer wireless voice, data, video, TV and Internet services on both vehicular and portable devices.   In April 2008, ICO successfully launched the ICO-G1, a next-generation geosynchronous satellite operating in the 2GHz S-band with a service footprint that covers most of North America, using the Digital Video Broadcast - Satellite services to Handhelds (DVB-SH) standard.   To learn more, click to read the article.

China 3G Market Can Still Be Huge Opportunity

In a recent AP item, reports of a highly politicized "scramble" by telecom equipment manufacturers for their piece of a potential $41 billion pie, were set in motion by China's move to roll out third-generation or 3G mobile phone services.   According to the AP report:   Chinese sales could be crucial for suppliers such as Motorola Inc., Alcatel-Lucent SA and Nokia-Siemens Networks as global demand slumps.   The report cites state-run media claims that China Mobile (which together with China Unicom dominates the mobile operator landscape) is looking to sign up 100 million 3G subscribers in the next three years.   It remains to be seen if foreign-owned companies will get a fair shake at the business. The AP report said that it's possible that Chinese regulators may   ...try to boost China's high-tech industry by ordering wireless carriers to buy domestic products. Beijing has tried to use such restrictions to nurture other fields, prompting complaints by the United States and other trading partners.   China's leading domestic suppliers are Huawei Technologies Ltd. and ZTE Ltd.   Duncan Clark, chairman of BDA China Ltd., a Beijing consulting firm was quoted in the report as saying that foreigners might only be in line for less than half of China's 3G orders.   Given the size of the market, an opportunity to provide equipment to serve even half the potential customers might not be such a bad thing after all.
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