The Evolution of Innovation with #ALEOpenDay18
What we learned from Nicolas Brunel at ALE Open Day
The communication world is changing at a rapid pace.
Disruptive technology like artificial intelligence, IoT, and collaboration tools are changing the way that we speak to both our co-workers and customers alike. Innovators like Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) are the companies leading the charge towards the communications space of tomorrow.
ALE comms division is devoted to creating and selling state-of-the-art solutions for communication and collaboration on-premises and in the cloud. This October, I was fortunate enough to attend the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise Annual Open Day for myself and learn a little more about where the company is heading from Communications leader, Nicolas Brunel.
At the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise headquarters in Paris, I sat down with Nicolas Brunel, the Executive Vice President of the Communications Business Division for ALE. He told me that when the Open Day first began, it was intended to promote and inspire R&D development for the company.
“Innovation is something that we’ve always promoted at ALE. We ask people to share their ideas as often as they can and motivate everyone to feel comfortable with thinking outside of the box. When the ALE open day was first perceived, it was a very intimate event, designed to give R&D experts a chance to share the ideas that they had been incubating with other members of the company. Beyond the benefits for the company, it is also about having our people proudly sharing their own projects. It is a privileged moment for team building”.
Nicolas told me that when ALE started to recognise the passion that the open day had ignited in their team, they decided to expand the event with the hope of gaining more useful feedback from a wider community.
The Link between Teamwork and Innovation
By bringing the ALE open day to the masses, the company felt that they could generate more useful information about their industry, and the things that their customers needed most. “We wanted everyone to have a chance to talk about what we were doing and give their opinions. This isn’t a commercial event for us; it’s not about making sales, it’s about facilitating innovation and growth.”
Nicolas told me that customer centricity has always been an essential value in the ALE manifesto. “We want to make sure that everything we produce has the right impact on our customers, and the best way to do that is to get our entire community involved.”
Nicolas noted that innovation is changing – a lot like the trend of collaboration in the current business space. “Today, innovation can be anywhere, not just within the walls of your company. It’s like collaboration, we started with internal groups and conversations, and now companies are looking for ways to collaborate with external forces too. The more you can connect with your ecosystem, the better your results will be.”
What Kind of Things Can You See at the ALE Open Day?
As ALE’s annual open day has evolved, allowing the company to connect with other designers and bring people together on the search for digital disruption, the event has become increasingly exciting. Nicolas told me about one of the demonstrations they had available at the conference this year, which came from a university in the south of France. The teachers in the university often needed to travel to different locations to deliver lectures. To reduce the cost of travelling, they began to invest in video conferencing; then they took that idea to the next level.
“The team placed a tablet on a robot that can move around a lecture hall or classroom, going from table to table to interact with students. They wanted to get the teacher into the learning environment, connecting with students through high-quality voice and video, as well as person-to-person interactions. They didn’t just adopt video conferencing; they created a robot teacher.”
With events like ALE’s Open Day, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise can demonstrate these incredible accomplishments to customers and businesses around the world, and conclusively show them what’s possible with ALE technology. For instance, Rainbow is the tech that’s driving the robotic teacher design, with CPaaS and UCaaS solutions built-in. “We provide the robot’s voice, video, recording, and so much more.”
What Has Been the Greatest Achievement for ALE this Year?
ALE has seen an incredibly busy year in 2018, with countless new developments, acquisitions, and updates. I was keen to find out what Nicolas considered to be the company’s crowning achievement for the last 12 months.
“It’s been an amazing year, very busy with innovation. We’ve been devoted to helping and supporting our customers in unique ways.”
“For instance, we launched the Rainbow API Hub this year, which acts as a centre for developers and companies that want to unlock the possibilities of communication.”
The Rainbow API Hub is a space where developers can go to publish their own applications and solutions, based on Rainbow real-time services and APIs with the ALE community, while businesses can use the space to find the technology that they want to add into their existing communication stack. “We believe that great accomplishments don’t come from standing alone in this industry. It’s all about connecting with others. That’s why we’re focused on giving people the tools they need to evolve in this new world.”
What’s Next for ALE?
This year, openness and the development of API solutions have been the primary focus for the Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise brand. With the Rainbow Hub, ALE has proven that they can deliver an easy-to-use selection of APIs that help their clients evolve on their terms. “We’re giving people the chance to take bits and pieces of our technology to create their ideal communication stack. It’s a great way to unlock agility in the age of digital transformation.”
The development of their Rainbow API platform will continue to be a big thing for ALE in the year ahead, according to Nicolas. However, Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise will also be continuing to develop the technology partnerships they have, finding the right balance between disruptive innovation and a partner-friendly delivery model.
We’re excited to see what the next year brings for ALE, and the kind of innovative solutions they’ll have on the market by the time we attend the next ALE Open Day.