At the time we went to print, the shareowners of both Lucent and Alcatel has just approved the two companies' pending merger, which the companies expected to close by the end of calendar year 2006
Telecom Asia: The global ITU event will be held in Hong Kong for the first time, and many see this as a 'coming of age party' for China's telecoms. How does Lucent view the China market‾
Patricia Russo: Lucent has a long history in China that dates back to the opening of our Beijing office in 1985 when we were still part of AT&T. We have always seen this as an important world market, and we currently have about 4,000 employees - a Bell Lab facility and five R&D centers in China. Our largest in-country investment is a joint venture in Qingdao that manufactures a full array of telecom network equipment and solutions.
By holding the global ITU event in Hong Kong, the global telecoms community is recognizing the significant role China plays, not just in terms of manufacturing but also in terms of subscriber growth and its pursuit of cutting-edge technology.
The telecom landscape in Asia and around the world is in the midst of a dramatic transformation. What will the end-user experience be like in a couple of years‾
At Lucent, we see 'four C's' that will define the next-generation communications experience: collaboration, content, convergence and, most importantly, community.
As people look for ways to better collaborate - whether it be on a business problem or planning a family vacation - they want to effectively share ever-increasing amounts, and types, of content. To do this in the most efficient manner, they need the types of converged services that our industry is just now starting to deliver. All of these elements will help next-gen networks deliver a true sense of community.
At Lucent, we call these converged services 'Blended Lifestyle Services,' which are about simple, seamless, secure access to all of my services anytime, anywhere and with any device. They're about delivering a 'killer user experience' that is personal and portable. And they're about having the ability to simultaneously access multiple applications with one click while inviting others to participate in a rich, integrated communications experience.
The 'lifestyle' component of the experience is an integral part of making the service relevant to the consumer and enterprise user. For example, teens and tweens will find value in a blended service experience that enables richer gaming, messaging and social networking capabilities, while a business professional will find value in an experience that enables multitasking, collaboration and a seamless transition between personal and business communications.
How is Lucent working to make this killer user experience a reality‾
The underlying network will play a crucial role in delivering a killer user experience. Our customers are starting to turn to IMS-based networks that will enable them to offer the applications and services that blend voice, data, video and other multimedia content while enabling end-users to create their own personal networks inside the carriers' networks.
For example, IMS will enable you to create a personal network that knows that you want to send IMs to a select group of friends while watching your favorite TV program, and also knows to interrupt you when your daughter calls to say she needs to be picked up from basketball practice - all at the same time on the same device (cellphone, TV, PC or PDA). IMS architectures also will break down the barriers that restrict which applications can be delivered to which end points. That's why it is so attractive to carriers and end-users alike - and that's why we've been investing so much of our time and resources to its implementation.
Lucent's vision also puts advanced intelligence in networks, which will enable them to act as 'active end-user preference agents.' For example, tomorrow's networks will automatically send you customized traffic reports, movie reviews and sale notifications based on the preferences it recognizes in your daily communications routine. Such network intelligence also will enhance the value of such end-user devices as PDAs, smartphones and integrated communications devices.
Earlier this year, Lucent took a big step toward helping our service provider customers deliver the promise of IMS with our introduction of Acuity - Lucent's service-aware, end-to-end network architecture designed to deliver such high-bandwidth, IP-based multimedia services to business, residential and mobile subscribers more efficiently and at a lower cost than is possible using traditional IP networks.
What will be the next killer applications‾
It's really about the killer user experience and the personalization of the network that I referenced earlier, rather than any one killer application. During the next 12-24 months, we should see a host of converged applications emerging that combine content and personalization to both enhance existing services and create new ones that are relevant to our everyday lives.
- Some of the applications we see in the pipeline include:
Multiparty gaming applications that traverse fix and mobile networks with integrated real-time voice and data communications.
- Integrated private and public network features and preferences for business users. In such an environment, a business professional would have access to the same features available in the office - including directory, short dialing, forwarding and voicemail - while on the road.
- Universal contact lists that integrate personal and business contacts and can be accessed through any device or broadband access network.
- Remote parental control activation and monitoring from a mobile device to other mobile devices, set-top-boxes or home PCs. This will allow parents to receive alerts when inappropriate content is being accessed or to define viewing times for children watching TV.
How will these applications feed into the digital divide, which is acutely felt in many parts of Asia Pacific‾
The benefits to society of these types of applications will be significant, wide-reaching and similar to those offered by today's broadly available wireless services.
A 2005 London Business School study detailed an overwhelming relationship between mobile phones and economic growth in developing nations. According to the study, mobile telephony has a positive and significant impact on economic growth. A developing country that has an average of 10 more mobile phones per 100 people between 1996 and 2003 had 0.59% higher GDP growth than an otherwise identical country.
The sharing of mobile handsets is extensive in poor, rural communities, and people at all income levels are able to access mobile services, either through owning a phone or using someone else's. Thus, the mobile phone truly has become the world's technology currency. As such, it's up to us in the industry to find new ways to extend the reach of both mobility and IP-based applications to help close the global digital divide.
Bell Labs continues to pioneer efforts in new areas of innovation. One very exciting area is nanotechnology - or the engineering and controlling of devices and materials at the nano scale.
A nanometer is about four atoms wide or one billionth of a meter. That's about one hundredth the diameter of a human hair.
The New Jersey Nanotechnology Consortium, based at and run by Bell Labs, is working on everything from next-generation nano batteries and chemical factories on a chip, to liquid lenses, microscopic sensors and arrays of hundreds of micro-microphones - creating the potential for new industries and technologies.