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Rich Tehrani

[April 28, 2004]

Alcatel: Delivering VoIP Or MSPD Or MMoIP?


Editor's Note: This is the ninth in a series of short articles from Rich Tehrani based on recent visits with a number of VoIP vendors. The previous article is available here.

Alcatel, being a French company, kept a low profile as tension between the US and France mounted. I met with company executives recently and they assured me that keeping a low profile doesn�t mean they aren�t innovating, making new products and selling them around the world. In other words, they are still committed solidly to the global communications market.

In order to check on them, I did a search on TMCnet.com and found that they have really been making announcements at a rapid clip. Especially lately.

But it isn't just the announcements and market share increases that are impressive about this company. Alcatel has also impressed me lately with their approach to telecom as they preach the open systems mantra more than most other companies in the space and they are looking for new ways to change telephony to make it more effective and useful.

In recent talks with company executives for example, I heard them say things like, "A person should have one voice mail regardless of where it resides," and "We need common services across wireless and wireline networks."

Also on the wish list, common interfaces on voice mail so we don�t have to remember different codes for home vs. work vs. cell voice mail systems.

They have a name for technology that will allow much of this to take place, multiservice packet delivery. This is interesting to me as it is similar to Nortel�s multimedia over IP concept that they have been preaching as of late. Just when you thought the word VoIP was the new industry standard, get ready for MSPD or MMoIP. Remember, you read it here first.

Getting back to the Alcatel vision (or at least the vision of a variety of their corporate executives I had a chance to meet with recently), we should be able to have instant conferences via video if we like. The industry needs to focus on users instead of devices or access medium (I concur).

Personalization is a powerful theme for Alcatel and they tell me they have an example of a Taiwanese service provider that allowed customized ringback tone, meaning that your callers will hear an audio file of your choosing instead of the standard ringing we are all used to. There are some interesting concepts worth thinking about such as customizable tones based on caller. The carrier in this example had a 4.5 month payback on the system by the way and this may be why Alcatel is thinking of themselves as the company that allows for mass market customization in commutations. You hear me harp about the need for new and exciting services allowing service providers to differentiate themselves. This vision is exactly the direction tomorrow�s communications companies need to be going. Good Job Alcatel.

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Rich Tehrani is TMC's president. He welcomes your comments. Participate in our forums.

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