Thursday, April 10, 2014

Internet Dimensions - Alcatel-Lucent projections + Bell Labs return

The Alcatel-Lucent Joint Ordinary and Extraordinary Shareholders Meeting scheduled for Paris on May 8, 2014, makes instructive reading for many reasons: the company continues to be slow to innovate and barely keeps up with its competitors; there are massive debts, profit seems unlikely to be a strong point of this year; the European economy has not allowed the firm to leap onto new initiatives and unfortunately it must look to the US for sales. The 8.1 percent increase in wireless access division activity was good news for 2013.

Many people were part of the companies Alcatel and Lucent in the late 1980s into 2002, as the US and global telecommunication markets were liberalised. Those people enjoyed the spoils of the telecoms boom followed by the bursting Internet bubble. The latter had little to recommend it!

The company includes some of its own analysis into the projected size of the digital technology population. Two data sets make eye-boggling repeating:

  • by 2017 3.9 billion people are expected to be on line. This is a 720% increase from 2012.
  • Between 2012 and 2017 there will be a 440% increase in data centre traffic.

Finally, to reinforce the importance of the change in the dimensions of the Internet, Alcatel-Lucent has announced that it is significantly increasing its research capability. The page 18 paragraph begins with the following phrase: "refocus and unlock innovation." It is going to be a "new engagement model for Bell Labs Research," to move it "closer to the portfolio life cycle." Yes that's right, Bell Labs is back!

The outcome may be to offer more granularity to the firm's understanding of the growth of the Internet, particularly knowledge about the subsets of users and the fragmentation of applications.

For  media analysts, the report suggests a continuing huge move to digital stuff and not just big data. It means more innovation theory is required.