CLOUD COMPUTING – Internet-based applications and services

Cloud computing reminds me of flying on a magic carpet. It’s a ride into virtual world.

So, I’m in the process of trying to make sense of all the latest trends in technology, and maybe I’m a little behind, but then again I only got internet in my home a few years ago when 3G became cheaply available in South Africa. There is so much history involved in the creation of the internet and the web, starting from before man landed on the moon as mybroadband.co.za reports:

“In the third week of July 2010 the world passed a significant broadband milestone, The world now has half a billion fixed broadband lines, with 1 million new lines added per week”

Broadband is faster internet access, like a wider highway or bigger hosepipe. Using this rapidly advanced global data communications system, we now have Cloud Computing.

In short, it is internet based applications and services, where using a simple web browser you are in another dimension of our technology based world. It’s hard to even understand the complex network if information sharing and storage. What impressed me first was that with access to the internet, you can access expensive programs that you normally had to install on your computer, such as Goggle Apps. As a home user, you can store your data up there too. No need to store everything physically on your computer. In 90s when I was at varsity, I would always email my university documents to myself without having a live updated version. At work, the same thing inlcuding all of your office resources from anywhere. Less need for servers which is handy when your office moves location, and saves power and IT personnel too. The list goes on and on about hardware and software.

Every major company is on-top of cloud technology, and created an ocean filled with applications and services around it.

Check out:

(Microsoft does not have a data centre of their own in South Africa)

Microsoft Business Productivity Online Standard Suite (BPOS)

–       Exchange online

–       Sharepoint online

–       Office Communications online

–       Office live meeting

Finally here in Africa, due to the rapid accessibility to broadband, we are able to finally have cost savings across the board and access to world class products and services.

Some quotes:

“Cloud Computing,” to put it simply, means “Internet Computing.” The Internet is commonly visualized as clouds; hence the term “cloud computing” for computation done through the Internet. With Cloud Computing users can access database resources via the Internet from anywhere, for as long as they need, without worrying about any maintenance or management of actual resources. The best example of cloud computing is Google Apps where any application can be accessed using a browser and it can be deployed on thousands of computer through the Internet. [1]

Chief executive Larry Ellison of Oracle says “The whole idea of cloud computing is to have a pool of resources that is shared among lots of different applications inside your company,” he said.

Even if a business is not moving into the cloud yet, it is becoming increasingly important that the company considers the pros and cons of cloud computing, now.

Cloud computing – which encompasses both internal and external cloud environments – changes the IT game entirely. The current trend is away from investments in expensive hardware and software to manage the business, and towards services and infrastructure provided through the Web; services that can be scaled, added to or upgraded as and when the business needs it. [2]

History:

In 2006, Amazon found that the new cloud architecture resulted in significant internal efficiency improvements whereby small, fast-moving “two-pizza teams” could add new features faster and easier, Amazon initiated a new product development effort to provide cloud computing to external customers and launched Amazon Web Service (AWS)on a utility computing basis in 2006.

[1] http://blog.sqlauthority.com/2009/04/21/sql-server-what-is-cloud-computing-introduction-to-cloud-computing/)

[2] http://www.itweb.co.za/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=36959:think-twice&catid=203

[3] http://mybroadband.co.za/news/broadband/15359-Half-billion-fixed-broadband-lines-worldwide.html

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ALCATEL-LUCENT SOUTH AFRICA, A SOLUTIONS BASED COMPANY Interview of Alcatel-Lucent Vice President (South Africa) Chad Baker, interviewed by Andrea Steyn for research purposes


Today I was lucky enough to have an hour with Chad Baker. We talked technology developments, sales strategies, African markets and community programs. I was honestly surprised by the way the company works, and I mean this in the best way I can.

I expected a giant formal office with a private lift (Vodacom is like this), however Chad is relaxed, approachable and on top of things. I can imagine it would be great working with him.

Global CEO Ben Verwaayen was equally approachable, responding to my email promptly at night regarding a speech he recently gave in Cape Town about the future of technology (which I blogged earlier).

I started my meeting by asking about all sorts of technology that the company are developing, especially with the launch of so many servers, software and communication integration products in the market this week.

Communication all started in 1839 with the invention of the first commercial telegraph. Bell Laboratories is part of Alcatel-Lucent today, and originally started by making telephones in 1925 (remember the telephone invention in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell?). Bell Labs has won more Nobel prizes than most countries. All of their inventions are fascinating. Do you know the company has just been able to transmit data at 100 million gigabits per second per km? (that’s 100 petabit per second per km – now I have a new word to impress my friends).

But enough about all that. Read my other blog’s for interesting tech from Alcatel-Lucent.

SOLUTIONS BASED COMPANY

I learned from Chad Baker today that they work from a customer point of view. Identifying the customer’s needs first, and then working on a total solution using all of the resources available. Understand what the end user wants. Second comes innovation through the new technology solutions at hand; third comes working with your tech engineers to develop these systems.

Suddenly I remember reading a presentation last night from the French Alcatel division:

The Values:

–          Customers first

–          Innovation

–          Teamwork

–          Respect

–          Accountability

Almost like being at university again, and reading a textbook, Chad described the way they operate in exactly the same order as these company values. I’m not trying to earn him some brownie points, but it does show that the company have a strong code of ethics that spans across the 130 countries that they are in. If you want streamlined and consistent delivery of services, then without a doubt you are going to get that.

Apparently, as Chad went on to say, all of his employees work really long hours, putting all possible effort into their jobs. It was nice to hear him boast about the people he works with. They have phenomenal internal communication systems, which even allow employees to blog, and share thoughts with each other. Being able to work from diverse locations, it’s important to stay in touch with each other for pooling knowledge, and that’s even on a global scale. Employees have access to the intranet which hosts a wealth of information and resources such as case studies. Its global, so a giant web of information is available and communication between branches no problem.

Chad Baker shared with me some exciting developments that the company are doing in Africa yet to be deployed. I wasn’t privy to the details, but it is going to make information communication technology available to the $1 user. Great news for Africa and our rural communities! More news on this when deployment occurs.

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VoIP technology: exciting developments to save costs using existing technology

Ok so I have a feeling that not many folk know that voice technology is changing rapidly. That there are major cost saving using existing technology – it’s just a matter of being shown all about it.

I’ll be writing about all these things in future, and even I will learn about new things which I can’t wait to share.

Information should be shared, benefits can be taken to SME’s and those affected by the recession, and hopefully inspire the development of new applications.

“. By taking existing technologies and deploying them in new ways, Service Providers can offer innovative solutions that provide benefits to both consumer and business users, while also improving reliability and reducing operating costs.

I am thrilled to see the deployment of PPT in China. Let’s hope that this reaches Africa, where 3G is widely available.

Sources:

News:

China Telecom deploys first CDMA Push-to-Talk service in China with Alcatel-Lucent

http://www.linkedin.com/share?viewLink=&url=http%3A%2F%2Flnkd%2Ein%2FNjNN4Y&sid=s122030652&urlhash=ZwfY&redirect=&trk=sae_i_m_so_val

roviding 3G voice value-added services to vertical and enterprise markets

Shanghai, September 21, 2010 — Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) today announced that it has successfully deployed its CDMA High Performance Push-To-Talk (PTT) service for China Telecom. This new service, a first in China, will target vertical and enterprise customers and will be commercialized across the country by the end of August. The commercial contract was secured by Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell the flagship company of Alcatel-Lucent in China which previously deployed China Telecom’s CDMA EVDO-based solution.

Alcatel-Lucent’s CDMA HP-PTT end-to-end solution will provide China Telecom’s 3G customers with immediate voice interaction across geographically dispersed groups of workers to meet their productivity needs, without the costs and delays associated with traditional circuit-switched voice services. HP-PTT service allows one-to-one (private) and one-to-many (group) calls to be established across the wireless service coverage area at the push of a single button. China Telecom’s 3G subscribers will thus be able to enjoy convenient and reliable voice, data and PTT services all in one handset.

Alcatel-Lucent provided its high-capacity, high-performance CDMA end-to-end solution including systems for registration management, group management, data management, new lease line application, and network management. Alcatel-Lucent also provided professional integration and system development services to integrate such services as radio access network (RAN) and Packet Data Serving Node (PDSN) deployed by various suppliers on many sorts of handsets. Alcatel-Lucent acted as project leader to provide a customized solution and manage and coordinate all relevant vendors in the process.

As a breakthrough voice service on China Telecom’s CDMA network, the new High Performance Push-to-Talk service, will greatly stimulate China Telecom’s mobile business and revenue,

Alcatel-Lucent’s solution fully meets stringent quality of service (QoS) requirements associated to the use of the voice-over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technologies for PTT systems which will enable China Telecom to extend its experience in providing high quality 3G and next generation IP based services.

“The project further enhances our long-term partnership with China Telecom and confirms Alcatel-Lucent’s leading position in the CDMA market in China,” said Romano Valussi, president of Alcatel-Lucent Shanghai Bell. “Alcatel-Lucent’s advanced solution and enriched network management experience will help China Telecom provide more flexible, value-added services to the strategic vertical and enterprise markets.”

Alcatel-Lucent is a world leader in the CDMA market worldwide and continues to innovate in the CDMA/EVDO to keep operators competitive during the evolution to 4G. Alcatel-Lucent has more experience than any other telecom player in integrating and re-architecting networks. According to industry analyst firm Dell’Oro*, Alcatel-Lucent leads in terms of worldwide CDMA revenues with a market share of more than 40 % (2Q’10). Alcatel-Lucent has more than 70 CDMA customers in 40 countries – and supports five of the top six global CDMA operators.

About China Telecom
China Telecommunications Corporation (China Telecom) is an extra-large state-owned telecom operator organized according to China’s telecom industry reform scheme. As a principal telecom enterprise and the greatest basic telecom operator of China, China Telecom owns the global largest fixed-line telephone network that covers the cities and towns as well as the rural areas of China and penetrates to every corner of the world. Member units of China Telecom include 31 provincial (municipal and autonomous regional) enterprises which provide telecom services nationwide.

* Mobility Infrastructure-CDMA (Worldwide) 2Q10 [August 2010 – Dell’Oro Group][1]Mobility Infrastructure-CDMA (Worldwide) 2Q10 [August 2010 – Dell’Oro Group]

About Alcatel-Lucent
Alcatel-Lucent (Euronext Paris and NYSE: ALU) is the trusted transformation partner of service providers, enterprises, strategic industries such as defense, energy, healthcare, transportation, and governments worldwide, providing solutions to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users. A leader in fixed, mobile and converged broadband networking, IP and optics technologies, applications and services, Alcatel-Lucent leverages the unrivalled technical and scientific expertise of Bell Labs, one of the largest innovation powerhouses in the communications industry. With operations in more than 130 countries and the most experienced global services organization in the industry, Alcatel-Lucent is a local partner with a global reach. Alcatel-Lucent achieved revenues of Euro 15.2 billion in 2009 and is incorporated in France, with executive offices located in Paris. For more information, visit Alcatel-Lucent on the Internet:http://www.alcatel-lucent.com, read the latest posts on the Alcatel-Lucent blog http://www.alcatel-lucent.com/blog and follow us on Twitter: http://twitter.com/Alcatel_Lucent.

Huawei Voice Evolution Solutions

http://www.huawei.com/core_network/voice_evolution_solutions.do

Voice is not dead! The last few years have seen a dramatic increase in the total amount of time that people spend talking to each other. What is changing is how they communicate. A voice call can now take many forms, from a simple telephone call on a home phone, to a call placed on a mobile phone, to a call made on a PC entirely handled by the Internet. Ensuring that a core network can evolve with users’ voice needs is critical to future success.

As networks evolve to meet new requirements, there are common themes that must be addressed:

Mobile Voice Consolidation– Mobile Service Providers have a unique set of challenges that involve not only handling traditional mobile voice calls, but increasingly those voice calls must compete for resources with data and video calls and fixed-mobile-convergence (FMC) calls. Effectively using All-IP networks, increasing bandwidth efficiency and improving reliability are keys to succeeding in this consolidation.

PSTN Consolidation – Customer demand for new services offers an exciting opportunity to build new sources of revenue and reverse competitive losses. By taking existing technologies and deploying them in new ways, Service Providers can offer innovative solutions that provide benefits to both consumer and business users, while also improving reliability and reducing operating costs.

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ICT AS A VALUABLE ENVIRONMENT IN A SOUTH AFRICAN TOURISM SYSTEM: INTERACTIVE GPS, AN ACCESSIBLE AND UNDER-UTILIZED TECHNOLOGY REACHING EVERY CORNER OF THE WORLD h

I wrote the following blog post 08 May 2008. Interesting to compare with the developments of today.

When analysing various technological trends of today – I have recently come across a new idea in my research dissertation that has sparked interest in my mind.

I am attempting to link a rural person in south africa, to inbound international tourists, using Information Communication Technologies.

It is well known that a tourist visiting South Africa wishes to indulge in heritage and cultural tourism. This recent trend in tourism shows that such tourists wish to be in control of their travel decisions, dive deep into the rural areas and come in contact with enthnic cultres, and share and learn while on holiday.
ICT AS A VALUABLE ENVIRONMENT IN A SOUTH AFRICAN TOURISM SYSTEM: INTERACTIVE GPS, AN ACCESSIBLE AND UNDER-UTILIZED TECHNOLOGY REACHING EVERY CORNER OF THE WORLD

Internet acess is not country wide in south africa, and yet you can go anywhere and use your GPS, without paying.

Would it be possible to work on an interactive technology for people in rural areas? Can this also be made availible to an internation tourist on a trip to the country?

In this very simple way we have created the link that may possibly generate tourism, and bring economic benefits to the community.

Limitations:GPS – and internet? Can we combine these two and is it possible?http://tech.yahoo.com/blog/hughes/22053

Dash Unveils the First Internet-Connected GPS Device

Yes its possible!!!

Another angle relates to the fact that this internet / GPS service should be free to use, especially for the poor communities.

There are many organisations petitioning for the correct usage and consumer cost for various ICT.

http://talkback.zdnet.com/5208-10535-0.html?forumID=1&threadID=46679&messageID=866213&start=0

PCs and the Internet Enhance Rural Economies and Improve Quality of Life

The Development of Software: Microsoft support research in wireless software based technologies: http://research.microsoft.com/wn/

“We are building a software-based, open, flexible and highly efficient research platform to enable a range of wireless research “. The article goes on to say  “our wireless research platform provides a venue for innovative wireless system research that we feel will encourage the research community to develop and test novel technologies for real-world deployment. ”

The means to breakdown the technological barries to technology

WHITEPAPER ARTICLE:  http://whitepapers.zdnet.com/abstract.aspx?docid=295778 (source Intel)

Overview:

From Finland to Malaysia, nations that want to understand the impact of digital inclusion and other e-Government strategies have been flocking to the Republic of Korea. One of the world’s most wired nations, Korea is also a leader in using Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to make government more efficient, accountable and transparent. As part of a broad range of e-Government initiatives, Korea has instituted an Innovative Information Village (INV) program that is bringing remote communities into the digital economy and enhancing the quality of life of rural residents. The program provides subsidized home PCs, broadband infrastructure and village information centers, as well as extensive training that breaks down barriers to using the technology.

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Alcatel-Lucent CEO talks about change in the telecoms industry in the light of changes in technology and broadband

Ben Verwaayen, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, recently gave his views on the future of technology and telecoms in a presentation titled “Building bridges to a new reality” at Telkom’s annual SATNAC conference.

In his keynote address at the conference, which is hosted at the Spier Estate in Stellenbosch this year, Verwaayen said that Telkom was living in the fifties by charging for voice.

He explained his statement by saying that the reason for the status quo is because voice was first. “If data was first Telkom would be charging for data and voice would be an application,” Verwaayen said.

In Internet Protocol (IP) only networks there is no difference between data and voice traffic, but Verwaayen qualified this statement by explaining that the first thing a telecommunications company has to look at is its business model.

He said that traditional, incumbent telecommunications providers need to move away from only providing connectivity towards packaging services.

“Broadband on its own is nothing. Broadband embedded in a service concept is absolutely life changing,” Verwaayen said.

Charging for voice calls << comments and views

In a subsequent interview Verwaayen clarified that he didn’t say “Telkom” but “telco,” referring to telecommunications companies in general. Since Telkom is a telco that charges for voice, he added that the statement remains accurate.

Jan is a guest of Telkom at the 2010 SATNAC conference

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Introducing Microsoft Lync, the next OCS!

It’s a pretty big day for the Office Communications team here at Microsoft. I’m excited to share that we’ve met a major milestone and are making the release candidate of our ‘wave 14’ communications products available for anyone to download.  In addition, there has been much speculation on what the new name for the release would be, so I get to officially announce that here too – the new name is Microsoft Lync.

Let me provide a little more detail on both the release candidate and the new name than you’ll hear in the press release.

First the new name.  For those of you who have followed the Office Communications business over the past several releases, you’ll know that this is an important milestone in a journey that started more than five years ago with a vision to transform communications with software.  This vision, set out by leaders like Bill Gates, Jeff Raikes and Gurdeep Singh Pall, included bringing together various and “siloed” real-time communications systems and creating new ways for people to connect with each other.  Lync 2010 is the release that delivers on this vision by unifying enterprise voice, instant messaging and web, audio and video conference – all within the same user experience and back-end infrastructure, as well connecting people in new ways through things like integrated expect search and interactive contact cards throughout Office.

As we watched Lync 2010 develop into reality, we wanted a new name that reflected the major product transformation.  In that sense, Lync – a combination of “link” and “sync” – is about connecting people in new ways, anytime, anywhere.  Beyond simplifying and shortening the current branding, customer research found that the name Lync appeals to end users and IT pros, even more than descriptive options like Communicator.  If you’ve ever worked on a branding process, you know how personal it can be. Everyone involved has their favorite name (and of course none of them are the same!).  So we were pleased that most people in research and internally gravitated toward Lync.  We hope you like the name as much as we do.

With the 2010 release, we will use Lync as the ‘family’ brand and within each of our communications products:

Product 2010 Release 2007 Release
Family Microsoft Lync Microsoft Office Communications
The server Microsoft Lync Server 2010 Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2
The client Microsoft Lync 2010 Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2
The service Microsoft Lync Online Microsoft Office Communications Online
The web client Microsoft Lync Web App Microsoft Office Communicator Web Access

Now about the release candidate.  With nearly 20,000 people inside Microsoft and more than 100 enterprise customers already using the Lync 2010 beta, the R&D team is on track to deliver the product to market before the end of the year.  I’ve been using Lync 2010 for about six months now, both in conjunction with a beta IP phone from Polycom, as well as via my laptop on its own (primarily when I’m traveling or at home).

Some of the new ways of communicating that I’ve grown attached to over the last six months include:
Switching between my head-set and laptop or speakerphone, in the middle of a call with device switching.

The R&D team has gathered and incorporated tons of great feedback in the release candidate, including many suggestions from previous releases (check out the new dial-pad in Lync 2010 as just one example). After testing, we essentially freeze the code, and make this near final cut of the software – i.e., the release candidate – available for broader use.  As of today, you can download it here, as well as get more information on the release here.

We hope that many of you will take a look and like Lync 2010 as much as the early beta testers have.

Thanks,

Kirk Gregersen

Senior Director

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Avaya reveals new Android-based tablet device and UC solution called Flare

September 16, 2010 — 10:32am ET | By Mike Dolan

Read more: Avaya reveals new Android-based tablet device and UC solution called Flare –

http://www.fiercevoip.com/story/

The iPad sure set the world of communication on fire for tablets. One of the first really relevant advancements (after Cisco’s Cius) to acknowledge the tablet idea as something that could fit into the unified communications (UC) world comes from Avaya. The company has revealed a new desktop touchscreen device as well as a user interface that links its Aura 6.0 systems to the technology.

Avaya announced this week a new group of real-time enterprise video communication tools and services with its spotlighted offering: the Avaya Flare Experience. An Android operating system based communication software that runs atop Avaya’s new Desktop Video Device–a video calling capable tablet–the Flare Experience leverages the UC features of Avaya Aura. Flare provides touch screen-based user interface for employees to communicate in any mode (text, voice, video), check messages, schedule meetings and appointments, and receive alerts or reminders. It offers instant messaging and video conference launching allowing users to jump in and out of calls for side conversations without interrupting their co-workers. The solution presents users with a virtual rolodex that links into users’ social networks attaching all relevant info–including presence information–to each of their contacts.

The Avaya Desktop Video Device was developed for the Avaya Flare Experience and features an 11.6″ HD touch screen with video and audio capabilities supported by a HD 720-pixel camera and HD-quality voice supported by built-in dual microphones. The device offers mobility via SIP and WiFi (with mentions of 3G/4G support as well) and even has USB ports for keyboards, hansets and thumbdrives.
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