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Always On - Being Continuously Present with the Customer
For further information please contact:

Heinz Brüggemann
Senior Project Manager
Wieblinger Weg 19/4
69123 Heidelberg, Germany

Project Information
What is this Project about

The ‘Always On’ concept is a powerful one as it represents a potentially major change in the TelCos approach to network design and provision. As Internet access and use increases ‘Always On’ may be a natural evolution of today’s networks. ‘Always On’ is also likely to impact upon the TelCos business models, for example charging for network use may change from time charging to network resource use charging, similar to use of power from the electricity grid. This approach will become important as the number of networked smart devices increases.

The nearest analogy to ‘Always On’ is the home or business LAN, which once you are logged onto will provide the user with continuous access to e-mail, software updates, etc, without the user having to make specific requests. Similarly the ISDN D Channel provides an open channel for the network to communicate with devices on the ISDN bus, similar capabilities exist with DSL, UMTS and PON technologies.

The ‘Always On’ concept could be divided into three main sub-categories:

  1. Transport infrastructure: The provision of open active ports on radio or fixed network bit transport infrastructures. The user can connect their communication devices via these ports and gain access to all necessary network transport functionality. The user may contract with the TelCo to have access via the ports to different bit rates, this is may be independent of the value added services which the TelCos provide.
  2. Customer service surround: One of the most significance improvements in TelCo customer relationships over the last few years has been the provision of customer support and management. With ‘Always On’ networks this will take a major leap forward, the TelCo will have the possibility to be continually present with their customers. This potential awareness of customers needs and activities means that a totally new type relationship can be established with the customer.

Service and application: Available for the TelCo with ‘Always On’ bit transport is a new service feature, the ability to integrate together customers devices and activities at geographically different ports via a personalized virtual network. Such a virtual network may provide a permanent application environment upon which TelCos can offer the customer personalized networked services and applications.

Note: The work on the Always-On concept will be continued in P1003.


  • Clarify the idea of ‘Always On’ and similar concepts with reference to available and foreseeable network technologies.
  • Identify how these concepts might effect the approach we take to building networks and offer future services.
  • Look at the potential of the ‘Always On’ concept to provide the TelCos with a continuous presence or relationship with the customer.
  • Classify by means of SWOT analysis what market opportunities these concepts may provide for TelCos
  • Classify to what extend these concepts may represent unexpected market developments by competitors, paradigm shifts, regularity events, etc.
Project Results
Deliverable Title  No Planned issue date
Always On – Being Continuously Present with the Customer D1 March 2000