Alcatel-Lucent: “The killer app for a connected car is safe, eco-friendly driving”

Alcatel-Lucent: “The killer app for a connected car is safe, eco-friendly driving”

Ellis Lindsay is a director of solution incubation at Alcatel-Lucent with global responsibility for developing strategic solutions across multiple markets. Previous to this role within Alcatel-Lucent, Lindsay was a director of strategy for the America's region CTO. Before joining Alcatel-Lucent, he was associate director, consumer services development at Bell Canada and a director of strategic alliances for Ubiquity Software. In these roles, he was an early participant in the evolution of SIP solutions within the service provider community.

What does your business unit do?

Alcatel-Lucent's vision is to enrich people's lives by transforming the way the world communicates. Born with an unparalleled ability to offer end-to-end communications solutions to our customers, we are focused on enhancing client relationships and enriching the lives of people through communications. Within the company, the Solutions organization has global responsibility for the development of a set of Strategic Solutions—combinations of products, services, and expertise from Alcatel-Lucent and third parties designed to address critical customer challenges—as well as the management of the company’s broader Solutions Portfolio.

How do you differentiate your offerings from your competitors?

Alcatel-Lucent has a long history in enabling communications—fixed and mobile, voice and data—and the services that are delivered over the underlying networks. Our strategy is to improve the Web experience for end-users and enterprises, enabling improved ROI for our customers. Applying this to the emerging connected automotive world puts us in a unique position where we can enable network operators to provide new services to both enterprises and consumers. The breadth of our portfolio and experience gives us a unique ability to provide end-to-end solutions that address many industries and market segments. We support many of the capabilities required for delivery of high quality customer experiences to fixed and mobile devices, including automobiles.

What partnerships are you currently forging?

In 2009, Alcatel-Lucent launched ng Connect, a dedicated effort to foster a cross-industry ecosystem to innovate new services and solutions. Now comprising over 40 member companies, the program encourages members to partner and innovate in areas that they may not have previously considered. The initial flagship project was the LTE Connected Car, a solution concept that was launched in January 2010. This multi-party effort demonstrated the potential of LTE and M2M within the context of a car. Delivering infotainment services, vehicle systems checks and status, remote connectivity to the home network, real-time location-based applications, and other services to a car is just one example of what we are doing to drive new solution development with partners. (For more on ng Connect, see ‘Telematics: The user interface as strategic advantage’ and ‘How to customize telematics to meet consumer preferences’.)

Which trends will impact the industry most in the coming years and why?

With all of the recent talk of new gadgets and applications, and the emergence of truly broadband networks available anywhere—wired or wireless—the consumer’s voice has sometimes been lost in the mix. What is clear, though, is that as customers get a taste of true mobile broadband, their experience with connected services may soon be a purchasing criterion in the automotive world. With many service factors outside of the OEM’s control, changes in how the services are delivered are needed in order to be able to ensure reliability and a compelling end-user experience, beyond just service quality but also how a consumer’s overall needs are met, particularly when things don’t go quite right.

Service delivery business models will transform with the acceptance of the connected car as a legitimate data consumer and generator. With no common approach to service and business models established yet, the stakeholders will test many interesting and innovative models before the value chain settles on what works best. As network capabilities become more important to automotive services, the network operators will begin to play a greater role.

You are an integral part of our upcoming Content & Apps for Automotive USA event. What key issues will you be discussing with the industry at the show?

There are two primary topics we’d like to address. First, network-based application enablement, in which the network (versus a particular device) is used as an application development platform, is something that we feel will be transformational. As vehicles gain more connected services, the automotive OEMs are becoming service providers. Anyone creating and delivering services over the networks will be impacted. Second, the customer experience; that is, the delivery of the brand promise to the end consumer. When applications have issues, the impacts are felt by the OEM’s brand. The ability to effectively manage and improve the customer experience will be a powerful differentiator.

Lastly, which apps/services/cars are on your 2011 wish list?

The killer app for the phone was talking; the killer app for a connected car is safe, eco-friendly driving. So being able to deliver quality infotainment services that will keep the children in the rear seats happy and help make driving safer are the main services I look forward to helping to make possible.

Ellis Lindsay will be speaking at the Content & Apps for Automotive USA event from November 30 to December 1 in San Diego.

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