Open innovation increases value
Sophisticated service enablers help operators turn their network into a smarter pipe so they are not bypassed by other players. This is our belief and our experience at DOCOMO Euro-Labs.
Open innovation is central to our approach. We’re collaborating with operators, vendors, ventures, universities and research institutes across Europe to develop novel and innovative service enablers. With these service enablers, our parent company, NTT DOCOMO, can deliver new value to customers in Japan and around the world.
Delivering new value to customers is essential for business success. It’s not enough to simply offer a global communications infrastructure. While many operators have aggressively introduced higher speed mobile networks, other players have been reaping many of the benefits. To avoid becoming merely a dumb pipe provider for these other players, operators must also aggressively pursue innovative ways to add value.
At DOCOMO Euro-Labs, we focus on developing service enablers that will lead to new network-based, value-added services that enhance and augment existing communications capabilities.
Youth expect more
Youth are at the heart of the service enablers we are developing. Today, the younger generation is requesting a new level of communications. Teenagers are no longer satisfied with plain text because it does not let them express their individuality. They want to express their emotions and combine those emotions with their own identity.
Imagine a teenage boy who wants to send a message to a girl. With current capabilities, plain text remains plain text. With the right service enablers, this teenage boy can convey his special message to the girl in a way that is more unique and representative of who he is and how he feels. A plain text message can be transformed into something that is more personal and unique, like presenting a girl with a beautiful flower.
Service enablers enhance communications
Here is just one example that illustrates how collaborative efforts to develop innovative service enablers can lead to more personal communications:
- Together with NTT labs, we developed a voice composition service enabler. This technology can emulate a person’s voice after the person has recorded themselves reading text for just 5 seconds.
- Together with a Japanese venture, we developed a Japanese handwriting emulation service enabler. This technology can emulate a person’s handwriting after the person has written just 5 letters.
- Also together with the University of Basel, we developed a 3D face video emulation service enabler. This technology can recreate a 3D image from a still photo.
Now, when the teenage boy sends a plain text e-mail, we can use these service enablers to transform and personalize it. When the girl receives the e-mail, it includes the boy’s own voice, handwriting and 3D face video.
Delivering more services, faster
It used to be that operators could deliver new services only once or twice per year. Now, it is very important to meet individual customer requests. Service enablers, such as the ones described above, can be combined and reused to quickly create new services at lower cost. With this approach, new services can be created in 2 weeks instead of twice per year.
Creating services quickly requires a sufficient number of service enablers. This is another reason why DOCOMO Euro-Labs is collaborating with several different organizations and why we strive to offer a variety of service enablers.
For example, DOCOMO is planning to commercialize translation services for foreign people traveling to Japan. With this service, people can use a smartphone to communicate in another language and complete tasks in Japanese, such as renting a car. This service uses several service enablers such as voice recognition, translation, and voice composition. Each service enabler can be utilized, alone or in combination with other service enablers, to deliver new services.
As NTT DOCOMO evolves from a mobile operator to an integrated services company, we are focused on 3 cloud businesses, all of which require service enablers:
- Business cloud that provides new value to our enterprise customers
- Personal cloud that gives people a user account to launch applications
- Network cloud that adds new value while people are communicating
DOCOMO is aggressively deploying LTE over an all-IP network. But even before we began deploying LTE, we had already upgraded our core network with IMS. By 2015, we plan to commercialize services for LTE-Advanced. We will deploy as many service enablers as possible so that we can provide diversified services over all-IP through an LTE-(A) network.
As we look toward 2020 and a 5G mobile network infrastructure, we expect that we’ll be turning mainly to optical network switches, rather than electrical switches, to handle network and traffic growth.
Network technology is crucial
With increasing competition and free applications available to everyone, the challenge for operators is to offer services that will help them keep existing customers and attract new customers. The service enablers DOCOMO Euro-Labs has developed in collaboration with our partners helps NTT DOCOMO achieve these goals.
Network technology is crucial to the success of our service enabler strategy. IMS as an underlying platform is fundamental to a future of advanced innovation and our ability to offer customers innovative new services. LTE and LTE-Advanced will help us use service enablers to bring innovative new services to our customers for years to come.
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About DOCOMO Euro-Labs
DOCOMO Euro-Labs was established in November 2000 in Munich, Germany, to conduct research into emerging mobile communications technologies, advanced network architectures, service platforms and novel services.
Researchers collaborate with operators, vendors, universities and research institutes in Europe to support the pioneering role of parent company, NTT DOCOMO, in the global marketplace.
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