Alcatel-Lucent's VP of emerging technologies and innovation, Jason Collins, was in Australia this week to bring the company's ng Connect industry collaboration programme to the Australia and New Zealand markets.
Collins explained ng Connect (www.ngconnect.org) "is about bringing people together and discussing as a group directed collaboration towards one goal...illuminating the things in the network that are important and figuring out what the end user experiences that are possible are."
Alcatel-Lucent announced ng Connect in February 2009 saying it was "dedicated to establishing a rich and diverse ecosystem of infrastructure, devices, content and applications for both mobile and fixed broadband networks...[to] 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."
In particular, the company's underlying goal with ng Connect is to try and ensure that its major customers - network operators - are not reduced to mere carriage providers with all of the value in the end user service being provided by over-the-top players, like Google and Apple.
"What we are hoping to do is to create a healthier industry ecosystem so all of us can benefit," Collins said. "I am trying to create a local ecosystem here in Australia and New Zealand of people in multiple industries to help us in thinking through those experiences an then building them."
Major US telcos - AT&T, Verizon and Sprint "are all engaging in open innovation," according to Collins. "They are building centres. They are doing this for multiple reasons. They get a marketing showcase...They also do interoperability testing and certification [of new network-connected devices] but more importantly it is about getting new telco products and capabilities into the pipeline so they can improve their time to market."
One way in which Australia's largest telco, Telstra, is trying to maintain its role in the value chain is by investing in innovative applications and trying to facilitate their incorporation into its network, through its recently formed subsidiary, Telstra Application and Ventures Group.
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