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Cloud Computing

Q&A: Enter the Personal Cloud Era

The "Personal Computer Era" has evolved into the "Personal Cloud Era" with the surprising new entrant, the tablet, says Michel Emelianoff, Executive Vice President of Alcatel-Lucent and President, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise.

What do you mean by the New PC Era? How is it different from the old era?

For the last 30 years or so, we have been living in what some refer to as the "Personal Computer Era". During this period, the Personal Computer (PC) became the centre of everything and it became more important every day. In many cases, it has also become the sole device for access to corporate information.

But for a couple of years, a surprising new entrant has created something quite different from what we knew in the past - the tablet, and its arrival in the enterprise space is a symptom of a global transformation.

The tablet heralds a future where the terminal is nothing more than the access point to individual and personal content. The content will be stored in a 'space', available from anywhere, any device, anytime.

We have entered the Personal Cloud Era.

It is important to note is that the Personal Cloud Era will not put an end to the Personal Computer. Laptops will continue to play a significant role in enterprise communications, but they will be one device out of many.

Organisations will continue to invest in fulfilling the needs of a more and more mobile and collaborative workforce and IT departments will have to redefine their role and adapt their mandate and mission to changing business conditions.

How does Alcatel Lucent envision its business and relevance in the new and emerging era?

We believe there are basically three possible strategies to deploy, depending on your priorities or business imperatives.

The first one is to deliver services which will raise the bar in terms of user experience and will deliver what users expect in terms of convenience, comfort and ease of use. We put this under the term of "conversations", as opposed to connectivity or communications which are what usually most of the companies deliver to their end-users.

The second is to rethink the infrastructure to support the new uses of the Personal Cloud Era in terms of mobility, multimedia and pervasive access. We are talking here about Application Fluent Networks, or networks which are intelligent enough to adapt to the applications.

And the last, link to the models, is the shift to the cloud, or a comprehensive approach to help organisations make the shift at their own pace, from premises to cloud or somewhere in between if they have not yet decided for one or the other.

Our global strategy is to continue to innovate in these three areas, in order to help our customers, of any size and in any industry, take advantage of the transformation and increase employee productivity and customer engagement through solutions which match their standards in terms of communications.

For each of the three above mentioned strategies - conversations, application fluent networks and shift to the cloud - we are unique at offering two transformational paths: evolution from the existing architecture with the guarantee of no technology disruption, or a pure transformation as an overlay of the existing communication infrastructure, hence providing full protection of the past investments. The one being not exclusive to the other.

What do you mean by a converged campus? Is it a challenging environment for companies like yours?

The converged campus is one of the solutions offered by Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise as part of our Application Fluent Strategy. The converged campus solution is the network infrastructure providing the connectivity for the corporate office, branch office and home office that enables users to have quality access to their application anywhere, anytime with any device - wired or wireless. The converged campus solution includes a unified wired and wireless access, a high performance core and a comprehensive management system. It provides the quality experience the user needs in a secure environment while simplifying the IT team operations and reducing operational costs.

All companies are challenged to keep up with trends like BYOD, mobility and the move to the cloud. They need to rethink their network infrastructure or be left behind. The converged campus network with the unique intelligent application fluent network approach is well position to help companies overcome these challenges. The differentiation in our solution enabled our company to expand its market share. This is illustrated, for instance, in our Q2 2013 Year-on-Year double digit growth that is well ahead of the average market.

How do you see the networking and communications market changing/evolving in the Asia Pacific region?

With Digital Transformation in the Enterprise, we see networking and communication applications coming together. Both used to be working in silos. How do we know? Ask yourself, what happens when your application slows down? Chances are the network gets the blame; you will probably shut down your PC, reset the network or increase the speed of the feeds, right?

With social media quickly becoming the primary means of communication and collaboration and video fast becoming the next "voice", network has to be smarter and more application aware. That means network has to automatically tune itself to the context of the applications running through it.

The concept of smart network is not new and you can find them in the legacy carrier and large enterprises with the used of routers and high-end application appliances. But they are expensive and complicated to implement. Not anymore when you consider that more than 3,000 of our customers in Asia Pacific have cost effectively transformed their IT infrastructure with the approach to Software Defined Network using ALU Application Fluent Network (AFN) architecture.

The AFN offers our enterprise customers a high-quality rich user experience, automates control and lowers their total cost of ownership.

What are the key growth markets for Alcatel Lucent in Asia?

We see pretty strong growth in the "foundation" economies such as Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand. We see pretty good growth in the "take-off" economies such as China and Australia. The "flying" economies such as Singapore, South Korea and Hong Kong can be better.

As for market segments, we are still dominating in Government, Education, Defense and Healthcare, Hospitality and Manufacturing. And due to our carrier-grade and ruggedised solutions, we have also very strong tractions in Telecoms, Transport, Oil & Gas and Energy segments.

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