Alcatel: Corporates Start to Drive Telco Trends

SINGAPORE (04/18/2000) - Telecommunications services are too central to business success to be entrusted to small, newly formed suppliers, which is why many of those start-up companies suffered in the recent stock market slide, according to Ian Margeson, regional director Asia-Pacific, services and distribution division, Alcatel SA.

It is now the turn of end-users to tell telecommunications providers what next-generation services they need in order to run their businesses more effectively, which implies a stable relationship with a large supplier, Margeson said.

"What business users want is now driving where the (telecom) operators are going," he said at a press conference here today. "Operators no longer just offer a standard set of services to all their clients.

"Many people realize the problems of dealing with a small, fast start-up business rather than dealing with a long-term blue-chip company. That's why we've seen (small companies') problems on Nasdaq recently."

Citing VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) as an example of a new service, Margeson said that Alcatel's approach is to enable VoIP and traditional circuit-switched voice networks to coexist in a company, rather than offering VoIP as a replacement.

That way, a company can use VoIP for internal communications, where a slight loss of quality is tolerable, while continuing to use high-quality circuit-switched networks for dealing with external clients.

WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) will provide one of the most fertile grounds for new applications, as companies understand the need to deliver unified messaging services to mobile users, according to Margeson.

"Once the WAP infrastructure is ready, there will be hundreds or thousands of software houses writing WAP applications," he said.

Alcatel offers what it calls "transparent convergence" through its OmniPCX 4400 IP-based communications product, which was launched to business users in Asia-Pacific today.

The OmniPCX platform includes an integrated call center, digital and IP telephones, voice messaging applications, applications to enable mobile use and voice and data network management, the company said.

"Companies need to enable ubiquitous IT," Margeson said. "There needs to be a convergence of IT and communications in infrastructure and applications, not a set of disparate components."

Alcatel, in Paris, can be reached at +33-1-40-76-10-10 or at http://www.alcatel.com/.

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