Next Generation Communications Blog

February 2009

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Alcatel-Lucent Sees IP PBX Growth

Yesterday, Infonetics Research announced its Q4 (2008) Enterprise Telephony report.


Amid the gloom of the global economic malaise, which in the fourth quarter of 2008 saw the worldwide enterprise telephony market drop 14% sequentially to $2.3 billion, Alcatel-Lucent enjoyed some success.


The Infonetics report illustrated that revenue is down for all types of equipment including pure IP PBX, hybrid PBX, and TDM PBX, and that the main reason for the decline is the lack of new business creation and business expansion courtesy of a weak worldwide economy.


However, in the face of all this negative news, the report also found that Alcatel-Lucent realized PBX equipment revenue gains in Q4, growing 13% sequentially, which far outstrips the year-over-year, overall PBX market growth of 1.1%. The IP PBX segment continues to improve while sales of traditional TDM gear continue to shrink.  Pure IP PBX revenue grew 25% worldwide in 2008.


According to Matthias Machowinski, Directing Analyst, Enterprise Voice and Data, Infonetics Research:


Because of the significantly deteriorating worldwide economic conditions, we expect the overall enterprise telephony market to contract fairly significantly in 2009. Once the world's major economies start growing again, however, a recovery in the PBX market will follow. We expect the market to stabilize in 2010, resume growth in 2011, and hit double-digit annual growth by 2012.



Alcatel-Lucent in the LTE Spotlight

Alcatel-Lucent has been at the center of much of the big LTE news emanating from Barcelona this week. LTE, or long-term evolution, is a fourth-generation (4G) wireless networking technology designed to succeed today's 3G wireless networks. 4G networks based on LTE will reportedly enable download speeds of up to 100Mbps, and will most likely be considered as alternatives to DSL, cable, satellite, and other current broadband offerings.   Dick Lynch, Verizon executive vice president and chief technology officer, delivered a keynote address at the Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona today, and in his speech, Lynch offered details regarding the operator's 4G LTE plans.   Lynch announced that Verizon Wireless, a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone, has chosen Alcatel-Lucent among a select group of primary network vendors for its initial LTE network deployments in the United States.   Utilizing their existing spectrum, Verizon Wireless and Vodafone have been field testing 4G LTE networks in Minneapolis, Columbus, Ohio, and Northern New Jersey in the United States, as well as in Budapest, Dusseldorf, and Madrid in Europe. These field trials have demonstrated download rates of 50 to 60 Mbps peak speeds. Utilizing its recently acquired 700 MHz spectrum, Verizon Wireless hopes to expand its 4G trials this summer, with the goal of commercially launching its LTE network in 2010.   Ben Verwaayen, chief executive officer of Alcatel-Lucent, commented, "With LTE's bandwidth and its ability to co-exist with the current 3G platform, we look forward to partnering with Verizon Wireless to build the next-generation foundation that will economically enable new forms of communications using both fixed and wireless, as well as mobile broadband."   In other news related to Alcatel-Lucent's LTE plans, the company announced it has completed a series of data calls - involving terminals from third-party suppliers using Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology for Time Division Duplex (TDD) spectrum (TD-LTE), a mobile broadband standard that will be used by operators in China and across the globe.   Alcatel-Lucent also introduced a software module designed to enable service providers to expand the capabilities of their wireless networks through the rapid introduction of Long Term Evolution (LTE) technology.

touchatag Enhances the Event Experience

Just this week, Alcatel-Lucent announced a series of new business applications to its touchatag Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) solution that enables developers and Web-savvy consumers to create innovative one-touch applications, which connect everyday objects with online applications.   One interesting application of this technology lies in the event organization space.   This technology gives event attendees the ability to extend their real-life surroundings to incorporate online resources and applications.   First a word on some of the technology that makes this go.   What is RFID? According to RFID Journal, radio frequency identification, or RFID, is a generic term for technologies that use radio waves to automatically identify people or objects. There are several methods of identification, but the most common is to store a serial number that identifies a person or object, and perhaps other information, on a microchip that is attached to an antenna (the chip and the antenna together are called an RFID transponder or an RFID tag). The antenna enables the chip to transmit the identification information to a reader. The reader converts the radio waves reflected back from the RFID tag into digital information that can then be passed on to computers that can make use of it.   What is NFC? According to the NFC Forum, Near Field Communication (NFC) is a short-range wireless connectivity technology standard designed for intuitive, simple and safe communication between electronic devices. NFC communication is enabled by bringing two NFC compatible devices within a few centimeters of one another.

ng Connect Initiative Creates Opportunity

This week Alcatel-Lucent announced the multi-industry initiative - the ng Connect Program - that is dedicated to establishing a rich and diverse ecosystem of infrastructure, devices, content and applications for both mobile and fixed broadband networks including 4G, LTE, GPON and other ultra high bandwidth technologies.   According to the announcement:   The ng Connect Program will bring the benefits of a seamless broadband experience to mobile phones, computers, cars, gaming systems and more, enabling consumers to stream more content, run more sophisticated applications on-the-go, and communicate in the most popular formats of today, and tomorrow.   Rich Tehrani shares his thoughts about this initiative on his blog:   The group will accelerate deployment of new devices and services by helping to determine interoperability across industries such as automotive, entertainment, wireless and consumer electronics. One area where there is a need for better integration is consumer electronics and automotive where in many cases a simple headphone jack is the extent of the integration. Or even worse, a car's stereo system tuned to a predetermined FM frequency to play music from a handheld music player which has an attached FM transmitter.   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.   Service providers and advertisers should watch these developments closely, as they presage a tremendous opportunity. As they say, watch this space.
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