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Bell and Tech


Submitted By Mace
Words 2450
Pages 10
Alcatel-Lucent is a global telecommunications corporation located in Paris, France. It has, under its wing, Bell Laboratories aka Bell Labs. They were previously known as AT&T Bell Laboratories and Bell Telephone Laboratories is now the research and development subsidiary of the French-owned Alcatel-Lucent. Over the past eight decades, Bell Labs R&D gave birth to new technologies and seminal scientific discoveries. (Alcatel Lucent, para 1)

Elisha Grey and Enos N. Barton formed Western Electric Company in 1869. Both of them started a small manufacturing firm based in Cleveland, Ohio which was to become the largest electrical manufacturing company in America. In 1881, Alexander Graham Bell, an extraordinary leader of American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T), purchased a controlling interest in Western Electric and made it the exclusive developer and manufacturer of all equipments for the Bell telephone companies. Now, the Bell system has provided much telephone services and support to America and Canada in the 1877 to 1984. It was then led by AT&T.

In 1898, Compagnie Générale d'Electricité (CGE) was born, founded by a French engineer named Pierre Azaria. It was involved in business with several industries in Germany. Mainly it dabbled in electricity, transportation, electronics and telecommunications. CGE then rose up the ranks and became a leader in digital communications and would be known as well to produce train à grande vitesse – high speed trains in France.
In 1925, thanks to the consolidation of the R&D departments of Western Electric and AT&T, Bell Telephone Laboratories was born. It has dabbled and broke through so much with the technology they researched that till today, it still remained at its forefront as the leader. It then became Bell Labs under AT&T.
The most brilliant invention created by Bell Labs has shaped the then foreseeable future is today’s present as we know it to be was the transistor. It then became the foundation of various; if not all electronically invented devices today. Without it, there would be no iphones, no personal laptops, no portable radios and the world would have been left lacking of many other commercial and domestic inventions. For their contribution that started the World Wide Web as we know today, they invented the Unix operating system in 1969 and the C programming language in 1972. (Alcatel Lucent, para 8)
Bell Labs have sought to improve existing software, hardware, systems & solutions, architects and projects as well as further research on new products and ideas. (Alcatel Lucent, para 1) Their business covered an array of breaths, Networking, Cellular Technology, Light Technology, as well as Analog and Digital communication Technology. (Time 2012, para 2)
AT&T was America’s Monopolising Telephone Company. It enjoyed its glory years at the top of the industry where no company could even come close to rival it; so much that the American Government told them that they had to invest in R&D for the good of the people. Finding new ways to enhance the lifestyle of the common man and research new frontiers. (Time 2012, para 4)

AT&T’s dreamt of connecting every human through a single channel was set down in the early 1900s. Due to the lacking of feasible and cost effective measures of structure and framework, this idea took more than three-quarters of a century mature. The world can only be thankful for the labour behind Bell Labs that bore fruits for the current generation to savour.
Alcatel-Lucent understood the need to tie up with the various world industry leaders. It would serve them well to ride on the many expertises of the various corporations whom they are seeking to work together with. To date, Alcatel-Lucent has 18 major R&D centres all over the world. They are located in Shanghai (China), Stuttgart (Germany), Bangalore (India), Whippany, Lisle, Marlborough, Murray Hill (USA), Vélizy (France), Antwerp (Belgium), Vimercate (Italy), Chennai (India), Villarceaux (France), Châteaufort (France), Plano (USA), Gurgaon (India), Quingdao (China), Timisoara (Romania) and Lannion (France). (Alcatel-Lucent, Para 3)
Alcatel-Lucent formed strategic partnerships / relationships with various government supported corporations as well as identified corporations whom are power houses in their own right, to achieve a win-win situation together. These collaborations will be the very foundation blocks on which the efforts of various parties will come to establish the framework and jointly explore countless possibilities and limitations of their inventions, as well as a platform to share / exchange of necessary research knowledge to achieve better solutions to a problem or invent a better product for the world.
After budget and funding cuts to the R&D by the US government, Alcatel-Lucent pulled out of basic science and experiments to concentrate on more short term commercial gains. As part of their bargaining with the American government, former AT&T licensed many of its patented innovations virtually for free. (The Verge 2012, para 8) Bell Labs then had to step into a world of globalisation while still spear-heading R&D, for this to effectively take place, Alcatel-Lucent had to rely on international corporations to maintain their essentially needed infrastructure and yet doubling it as a gained avenue to broaden and try out their R&D inventions. Data and information collected from such a wide breath and scale would surely provide a more accurate result.
This would allow Alcatel-Lucent to provide a more reliable product to the masses after implementation. Reduce the surfacing glitches which will result in an overall better consumer experience. Thus, customer pool will increase and so will Alcatel-Lucent market share.
Over the past decades, Alcatel-Lucent executed several strategic plans involving on-going innovation of products, collaboration with various academic institutions and now even has a youth lab under their wing called the Global Youth Lab. Targeted demographic would be the 18 to 26 year olds across the globe.
Today, we are able to look at three of the essentially important, successful and very strategic partnerships Alcatel-Lucent had made recently, namely with Hewlett Packard (HP), Belgium’s Office National Du Ducroire (ONDD) and China’s China Mobile.
Alcatel-Lucent signed a relationship agreement with HP on 18 June 2009 to form a 10 year global alliance to help customers leverage the convergence of telecommunication and IT. The aim is to market solutions for service providers and enterprises. As tied to the agreement, Alcatel-Lucent would have to entrust their IT operations to HP. Taking advantage of HP’s expertise in technologies and transformation, Alcatel-Lucent will be able to migrate more quickly to advanced IT infrastructure and services that deliver higher performance and greater efficiency. (Alcatel-Lucent, para 12)
Alcatel-Lucent will be able to accelerate the evolution of its operations toward the highest standard of performance, quality, efficiency and costs. Notwithstanding the fact that HP has an efficient supply and distribution channels, Alcatel-Lucent intends to ride aggressively on these channels to offer service providers proven solutions that are based on common technologies for carrier-grade and IT applications. This approach will help service providers exploit the advantages of standards-based server, processor and operating system technologies. (Alcatel-Lucent, para 15)
Alcatel-Lucent has strong products in areas such as IP telephony, communications, mobility, security and contact centers will be integrated with HP IT solutions. These joint solutions are planned to be offered to enterprises through HP resellers or as managed services. Once implemented, the program could generate multi-billion euros in net revenues for HP and Alcatel-Lucent over a 10-year period. Alcatel-Lucent expects significant aggregate savings along with material cash-flow improvements. (Alcatel-Lucent, para 13)
Once Alcatel-Lucent’s final product is confirmed and marketing strategy have been finalised, the finished goods will be able to reach out to the masses in quick succession, a welcome advantage in market penetration.
Through proper and careful planning, Alcatel-Lucent solutions, coupled with HP’s network, may become the standard benchmark within the industry or the peoples’ choice vendor.
The other amazing partnership Alcatel-Lucent has sealed is with Belgium’s Office National Du Ducroire (ONDD). ONDD will support the export business of Alcatel-Lucent worldwide, while providing insurance for third party financing for the purchase of Alcatel-Lucent telecommunications equipment by service providers globally. (Alcatel-Lucent, para 2)
ONDD is Belgium's public export credit insurer, specializing in commercial and political risk insurance, guaranteed by the state. This is a critical part on Belgium’s economic and export-oriented policy on her international trade as export of goods and services contribute to more than 80% of the nation’s GDP. (Alcatel-Lucent, para 4)
As a result of this agreement, Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking has arranged loan facility; backed by ONDD, in favour of communications company; Turk Telekom, to finance various contracts between Turk Telekom and Alcatel-Lucent for a global amount of EUR 46 million. In line with Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) regulations, part of the local services was also integrated in this financing. (Alcatel-Lucent, para 5) With such strong support from ONDD, Alcatel-Lucent can be confident that this is a powerful tool to help their customers meet their financing needs.
Alcatel-Lucent will greatly benefit from this partnership as much as ONDD will. Given each entity’s breath of expertise in each other’s needed field, the possibilities will be endless and fruits bore of their labour, will be plentiful.

One of the most recent partnerships of Alcatel-Lucent’s is with none other than China. Renowned for their diversity, flexibility and innovative methods of business development, Alcatel-Lucent has tied up with China Mobile. China Mobile is the biggest mobile operator by subscribers in the world. The pair have arrived at an understanding to pursue pioneering developments in next generation mobile communications, as well as further co-development around Alcatel-Lucent’s powerful lightRadio™ technology. (Alcatel-Lucent, para 1)

Alcatel-Lucent’s powerful lightRadio™ technology is merely the size of your average palm. This idea was brought to life due to three constrains. Firstly, more than half of the world does not have access to Mobile Data. (Alcatel Lucent 2011, para 5) While our technology have the means to close the broadband digital divide, the industry does not – taking into consideration of the financial aspect of setting up and maintaining antennas and towers; as well as the return of investment (ROI), it just doesn’t sound like the next “big” thing.

Secondly, imagine the idea of overly unattractive towers and antennas ‘sprouting’ all around the neighbourhood and shadowing our beautiful landscape. Not a very enticing situation to be in. (Alcatel Lucent 2011, para 6) And thirdly, due to land being a limited resource and the fact that the worlds’ population will just keep growing and growing, the network congestion challenge which we all have experienced at one time or another, will just keep getting worse. Time will not improve or fix the aforesaid challenges.

Therefore, in the light of the idea that the base stations are the root of this evil and their ugly towering monstrosities are what is keeping the network from being flexible, responsive and green (Alcatel Lucent 2011, para 4), Bell Lab’s lightRadio is the answer.

At the core of the invention of lightRadio, is a core, a cube the size of your palm. This cube weigh less than 300g, can be deployed in big or small antenna configurations as well as all around the city. The secret of this innovative product’s success lies in the flexibility of the core. They can be used singularly or can be stacked to build a marco cell in a beam formation for targeted coverage. (Alcatel Lucent 2011, para 5)

These cellular cores are significantly lighter and much simpler to deploy. For the financial savings, it reduces the rental need at the site by 66%. For the green effect, we are looking at a reduction of energy used by up to 51%. (Alcatel Lucent 2011, para 6)

Hence the partnership with China Mobile will play a critical role in improving the lightRadio technology. With China’s vast land size, a population of 1.7 billion potentially able to test and put the invention to trail, the projected data and constructive feedback to be received will be put to good use – into improving the product further till it’s final conceivable state.

Alcatel-Lucent has always been recognised a having a strong sense of social responsibility and a commitment to help people and to enhance the communities within which the company operates. It also contributes to strengthening team spirit as well as to building awareness among the company’s stakeholders about the issues of corporate social responsibility. They have never focused solely at the generation of profits and turned a blind eye to their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). They have pledged to reduce their carbon footprint by using greener solutions for everyday problems. (Alcatel-Lucent 2009, para 4)

In the United States, Alcatel-Lucent has in place a system to recycle electronic wastes. A network of subcontractors will collect, recycle and recover electrical and electronic waste. Audits are performed on recycling facilities to ensure that waste treatment was compliant with local legislations. (Alcatel-Lucent 2009, para 6)

Alcatel-Lucent’s local initiatives include a photography sponsorship program. On top of that, they have been committed for many years to support on a long-term basis in the fields of culture, education, training and health and human services. (Alcatel-Lucent 2009, para 12)

In 2005, Alcatel-Lucent contributed to the relief efforts after natural disasters struck in South-Asia, New-Orleans and Pakistan. Alcatel-Lucent deployed satellite links for hospitals, which enabled the victims to contact their family and friends. When hurricane Katrina struck in the United States, Alcatel-Lucent set up an online system to collect donations. (Alcatel-Lucent 2008, para 8)

I have a clearer understanding of International Business in the context that it’s not just about how much profit you bring to the table but rather, how much value and feasibility your ideas and solutions will amount to the corporation as well as its impact to the environment. Alcatel-Lucent has learnt from the days when AT&T was the only entity in the monopolistic industry and has since sought to venture into profitable and realistic tie-ups and partnerships with the industry’s best. Learning from the one’s mistakes in the past as well as the mistakes of their rivals will ensure prudent decisions are made with all the concerning factors in mind before implementation.

I have learnt as well from AT&T’s near failure that one must never stop innovating even if the end of success is nowhere in sight. You will never know when and where the path of success will end if you are complacent.

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