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News and analysis of developments in the enterprise communication industry and market with primary focus on Europe.

The author aims to tap into ideas, insights and thoughts of the readers to get varied perspectives.

Views expressed in this blog are solely the author's opinion and in no way reflect those of his employer.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

News from Alcatel's desk: An analysis

Last week Alcatel-Lucent participated in the 3GSM in Barcelona. They announced the launch of unified mobile TV experience. Claimed as world's first, a single device (such as a pocket PC powered PDA) offered access to TV channels delivered by 3G and broadcast networks. This offers interesting options to service providers, content players and users. Optimal business model needs to be found, that offers value for money to users and ROI to service providers. Other challenges includes ironing out the content value chain, address copyright issues, create a robust value chain for user generated content. Pricing models is probably the trickiest part of the overall proposition.

That being said, the availability of mobile TV is expected to drive some sales in the video equipment market amongst enterprise segment. I believe that if a value proposition is created, enterprises would be one of the largest creaters of content. Advertising and corporate communication will go to the next level within enterprises. The billion dollar business question is to design a valuable advertising model.

Alcatel has a strong enterprise portfolio. Recently they shipped their 10 millionth OmniPCX office. Its interesting to compare this with the announcements that Avaya and Cisco made late last year. While one announced the sale of 9 millionth IP phone, the other quickly followed with a bigger boast-10millionth IP phone. True, Alcatel's OmniPCX office says nothing of IP phones, but then its simple to see who has a greater market share considering the average number of lines for OmniPCX ranging around 27.

The vendor also announced a new IP dedicated recording (IP DRlink) interface for its OmniPCX Enterprise IP PBX. The IP DRlink enables Alcatel-Lucent's IP phones to be connected to voice loggers and quality management systems for voice recording in call center, financial trading floor, public safety and other enterprise applications. This feature is expected to gain the interest of contact centres, financial services and the healthcare industry. Inline storage and archiving of communication has a great potential in the times to come, as we start seeing greater traction for unified communication and indeed convergence.

Other announcements centered around carrier grade wireless and wireline, an area where I am still a student. I won't delve into those now.

Overall, the announcements were pretty sound. However, a close view of all their announcements showed that the vendor lacks a clear cut vision into the future. Seems more like they are a supplier who meets customers demands. This is good in a lot of ways such as minimising risks, however it takes the margin and early market advantage that Alcatel-Lucent can leverage from the work that the great innovators do at Lucent bell labs and Alcatel's R&D team.

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