Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise who?July 26 - 3pm 7
With Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise landing more firmly in New Zealand thanks to a recently announced distribution deal with Connector Systems, you may be asking: just what is this new brand about? Techday put an ear to the ground to find out more.
In short, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise is the networking and telephony systems division of the much larger corporation. That’s not what makes the division special, however – rather, it is the range of solutions and innovations which stand behind it that does. There are SMB solutions focused on 8 up to 200 users (Open Touch for SMB) and enterprise solutions for 75 to 1500 users (Open Touch for Enterprise).
A quick trip down memory lane is in order, because both France’s Alcatel and the USA’s Lucent, bring storied histories with them. They have also bucked the trend of ‘American Francophobia’ through their 2006 merger.
First, let’s look at Lucent Technologies. Spun out of the 1999 unbundling of US telecoms giant AT&T, the company further whittled down its operations in the turbulent business climate of the 2000s, jettisoning Business Systems (which became Avaya), Consumer Electronics (into VTech and Consumer Phone Services) and microelectronics businesses (which became Agere Systems, now incorporated into LSI). What was left? Significantly (but not exclusively), Bell Labs, the research and development division – and a powerful capability in telephone switching, optical, wireless and networking.
Bell Labs is credited with, among many other things, creating UNIX and programming language C, the first orbiting communications satellite, lasers, and more than a wheelbarrow-load of telecoms and related innovations. It is certainly a jewel in the Alcatel-Lucent crown, in other words.
Meanwhile, in France where the combined Alcatel-Lucent is headquartered, Alcatel has its roots in a conglomerate which got off the ground around 1900. From this conglomerate sprang Alsthom, which by 1985 through acquisition became Alcatel. The company becomes Europe’s dominant maker of telephony and networking equipment – and also a supplier to other notable projects including the TUV ‘bullet’ train.
Which brings us back to products. While it’s best known in the telecommunications space, building Telecom NZ’s network. The enterprise division has a completely different set of products, covering phone systems, wireless access points, network switches and security devices. A lot of the solutions are tied together with innovative software developed by the vendor. A good example is its OpenTouch Conversation software (see our story here and the vendor’s homepage for it here).
Ultimately what the Enterprise division of Alcatel-Lucent provides is the pedigree and support infrastructure of a Cisco or Avaya, but at a much more affordable price.