New software platform significantly cuts the cost and complexity of embedding and integrating voice, video, and messaging services into any application to enrich existing services or create new ones
Alcatel-Lucent has launched Rapport, a software-based, open platform that gives large enterprises and service providers anew, and much more flexible way to deliver communications and collaboration services.
With Rapport, the communications network becomes a platform for innovation, enabling the creation of new ‘contextual communications’, where fundamental services such as voice, chat, video conferencing and sharing become functions available to any application, website or connected object. These services can then be accessed by application developers using open application programming interfaces (APIs) and simple software development kits (SDKs).
Rapport goes beyond simple virtualisation to fully embrace the cloud with a single software platform that can be deployed on any commercial, off-the-shelf hardware, dramatically driving down the cost and complexity of deploying and managing communications services.
Rapport is based on a fully re-architected version of Alcatel-Lucent’s IP Multimedia Subsystem (IMS) software, the foundation for the company’s award-winning Voice over LTE (VoLTE) solution. Distinct configurations have been developed to address the unique requirements of large enterprises and service providers respectively, and were designed based on years of experience addressing these challenges in live networks.
Bhaskar Gorti, President of Alcatel-Lucent’s IP Platforms business, said “Rapport liberates large enterprises from the communications technology silos and proprietary vendor offerings that IT departments need to contend with. It also removes the barriers for service providers to offer more engaging communications services to their customers, which can be delivered seamlessly using any device and across any network.”
Rapport for the Enterprise
With the growing decentralisation and mobility of the workforce, the rapid pace of technology and application evolution, and the shift to a ‘bring your own device’ (BYOD) model, large enterprises need a new approach to support their communications needs. Rapport helps enterprises cap their investments in legacy PBX and Unified Communications systems.
Rapport accomplishes this by offering a single open, communications framework deployed in a private cloud, into which large enterprises can plug in best-of-breed apps to help meet the needs of employees for the latest services, whether in the office or on the move. It can also help enterprises better serve their customers by building communications services into applications, websites and products. With this approach, large enterprises can save up to 50% on their communications infrastructure costs, with the return on investment breaking even in the first year of the transformation.
Rapport for Enterprise is designed to address the specific requirements of large enterprises. It is architected to run in a private cloud environment leveraging HP’s industry-leading converged infrastructure platform, which is highly optimised for scalable workloads. Rapport also supports a growing ecosystem of technology providers, including CounterPath, for multi-device softclients and SDKs.
Rapport for the Service Provider
Rapport strengthens the communications business case for service providers by enabling them to support VoLTE/mobile, fixed, and Wi-Fi services with a single, more agile cloud communications platform, significantly simplifying and reducing the cost per subscriber to deliver these services. Rapport uses a network functions virtualisation (NFV) approach, and works with NFV platforms such as Alcatel-Lucent’s CloudBand to launch VoLTE and new services rapidly to both consumers and businesses and scale dynamically as subscriber demand dictates.
Rapport delivers communication services that follow people - rather than devices - based on their presence, location, and availability. Service providers can embed communications into objects, applications and websites, which opens up new retail markets such as wearables, connected homes and telematics. They can also extend services from their single Rapport network to application providers and web companies to pursue new wholesale markets.
Rapport comes with an open, vibrant ecosystem of more than 800 developers and partners. This drives innovation by equipping developers with a simpler means of embedding communications into their apps, so that they can focus on developing and delivering their ideas, and not be distracted by the challenges of latency-sensitive, real-time communications.
- Rapport simplifies software lifecycle management and reduces costs with a single cloud communication platform that helps eliminate communication silos.
- Rapport adapts user experiences to the constantly changing needs of customers.
- Rapport transforms communications into an asset that can be built into any application, web site and connected object.
- Rapport is based on re-architected IMS software with fully decomposed Virtual Network Functions that can be delivered on any commercial off the shelf (COTS) hardware, and works with any NFV platform.
- Rapport enables new services to be more rapidly introduced, through access to communication features via open published APIs and SDKs.
Rich Costello, Senior Research Analyst, International Data Corporation said “Alcatel-Lucent’s new communications platform, Rapport, addresses something enterprises have needed – a single, open communications framework in a private cloud. There are real challenges with moving from a legacy PBX-based communications approach to apps and services with communications hosted in the enterprise cloud. Not only do enterprises need a new approach, but they need a new method for getting there. This is a compelling new take on how to address the relationships between communications, applications, and the large enterprise, and this appears to be creating a new category of communications solution.”
Jim Hodges, Senior Analyst, Heavy Reading said “The quest for service innovation relies on new business models and corresponding technology enablers. Service providers need to prepare for the next service era, by looking beyond simply mobile additions and mobile usage and focusing on user experiences, efficiency, and managing complexity. Virtualised solutions like Alcatel-Lucent’s Rapport for the Service Provider can play an important role in helping service providers most efficiently meet these new requirements. By moving communications into the cloud - to enable new services, user experience, and apps - the service provider is better positioned for long term success.”
Liz Theophille, Chief Information Officer, Alcatel-Lucent said "Like many large companies, we have multiple platforms in place to support our communications and collaboration needs, from voice services to video conferencing to IM and chat. At the same time, our workforce is increasingly mobile, and relies on a fast-growing universe of applications on smartphones and tablets to manage their personal lives, but which are largely unavailable in their work environments. Rapport provides a single platform to address all of these requirements, in a way that is open and in synch with our increasingly app-driven business culture and will enable us to stop investing in multiple platforms.”