Telus Turns to AlcaLu for Digital Store
Alcatel-Lucent (NYSE: ALU) today unveiled the first announced deployment of its Digital Media Store, by Canadian carrier Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T), which will use the managed and hosted service to distribute various types of content to PCs and mobile phones.
The AlcaLu DMS is essentially a digital storefront that service providers can white-label to get an app store launched quickly, without having to develop an extensive ecosystem. It's part of AlcaLu's Multimedia Solution, built on its Multi-Screen Foundation, which was developed to deliver on a corporate promise to enable applications. (See AlcaLu Shows Off Its Apps Abs and IPTV Forum: AlcaLu Ups Its Multimedia Game.)
The hosted and managed service even includes the content -- games, videos, e-books and more, says Nora Maene, director of marketing within AlcaLu's applications business group.
"It's allowing service providers to generate revenue by participating in the growing digital media market," Maene says.
"I do think this is a big deal for them," says Yoav Schreiber, senior analyst for digital media infrastructure at Current Analysis . "This is one more pillar that incorporates the app-enablement vision that Alcatel-Lucent announced two years ago. It takes into account everything they have been talking about and delivers something service providers will use."
Service providers want to get into the app store business, says Shira Levine, an Infonetics Research Inc. directing analyst covering OSSs and policy. But they lack many of the core capabilities and are often overwhelmed by the size of the task.
"A lot of operators are hung up on how to do this -- it is way beyond their comfort zone," she says. "Having a managed, hosted service they can white-label lets them get out there quickly to compete with third-party app stores."
AlcaLu has developed relationships with content producers and aggregators of mobile applications, music, e-books, e-magazines, games, and more, Maene says. Perhaps more significantly, the DMS is set up so that what service providers offer is continually refreshed.
"The system is done in a very open way," Maene says. "If we have content partners that are authorized, they can ingest content themselves into the service, because there needs to be a constant refresh of content -- new games, new videos, new music. We have developed a very good interface to enable this."
The DMS can also take in content that the service provider has developed, often in multiple siloed systems. It includes a merchandising and analytics engine to support marketing programs that can create bundles of apps around a specific theme, such as an upcoming sports event, and it allows consumers to develop personal lockers of content, to be used on a range of devices.
Maene admits this is not new technology. AlcaLu is actually combining three products: its Multimedia Content Manager, its Mobile Streaming Server, and the relatively recent Advertising Selection Server. What's new is their integration into a hosted and managed service with content acquisition and management features.
"The advantage of having just one converged technology and one converged service taking all content types is that user experience can be optimized," Maene says. "The look and feel can be optimized. We also provide a set of tools for merchandising and marketing and promoting the content, and this can happen across content type."
Analyst Schreiber says this is a product aimed at the service provider markets, not their IT or network technology departments -- and therein may lie AlcaLu's challenge.
"This is a hosted service to help the marketing side of the house to grow revenue and improve customer retention," he says. "It's a very different proposition, a change for them, and it will be interesting to see how AlcaLu succeeds in selling it and how receptive carriers will be."
While Telus is the first announced customer, Maene says AlcaLu also has sold the Digital Media Store to "a North American carrier even larger than Telus." And there's not many of those.
AlcaLu is liable to face competition in the space from the likes of Avail-TVN , Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC), and Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT), Schreiber says.
— Carol Wilson, Chief Editor, Events, Light Reading