Convergence Is the Future for ISPs

AMSTERDAM (03/15/2000) - Convergence is the key for companies that want to still be in business in the service provider industry in the future, Roderrick Randall, executive vice president of Global Marketing, Internetworking Systems for Lucent Technologies Inc., said in a speech at the ISP2000 in Amsterdam today.

"We're going to see the Internet converging with everything," Randall said.

With all industries going electronic, from mail and entertainment to commerce, everyone is becoming a competitor. "The Internet age is causing a whole new set of winners and losers," he continued.

But in this electronic age, it is the human touch that convergence brings which will decide who survives. By linking voice telephony, Internet Protocol (IP) and broadband cable, the business will go to Web sites which offer customers human interaction through video connections with customer service representatives, Randall said.

"Internet stocks are getting huge valuation because their market caps [market capitalization] can get high enough to purchase their brick competitors," he said. But only if the online companies make the right moves with convergence.

"In order for it to work, service providers need to understand the technology behind the convergence," Denis Gheysen, head of Business Communications for Swisscom, said.

"Convergence will require tying a lot of tools together," he added. Things such as unified messaging, mobile Internet, and voice integration will have to be tied together, along with offering customers options such as bundled telephony and Internet access and single itemized billing.

"IP and Internet will drive convergence to new service opportunities," Gheysen said. "In the end, everything is data, and even though it's converged, people will still call each other on the phone and use e-mail, but they'll be doing it over a converged network."

Lucent, in Murray Hill, New Jersey, can be reached at +1-908-582-5800 or http://www.lucent.com/.

Swisscom, in Bern, Switzerland, can be reached on the Web at http://www.swisscom.com/

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