Cable TV Conventions

Expo’s Common Theme: ‘Customer Experience’

CEO Mark Dzuban Previews This Week's Tech-fest In Denver 9/22/2014 8:00 AM Eastern
TakeAway

This week’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Denver will hone in on WiFi, the cloud and 4K/ UltraHD, among other areas of focus.

This week’s Cable-Tec Expo in Denver is shaping up to be an engineer’s delight as sessions and workshops place a fi ne technical focus on DOCSIS 3.1, energy management, software-defined networking, the proverbial “cloud,” the evolution of cable’s WiFi strategy, and 4K/Ultra HD and other next-gen video services.

 

While that offers a patchwork of key topics and trends, a common, thematic thread will hold them all together — improving the customer experience, Mark Dzuban, the president and CEO of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers, said.

 

“If we look at last year’s Expo being about IP networking and going to all-IP networks and what that technical evolution looks like, this year it’s really about how do we use science and technology to improve the customer experience in a market that is very competitive, but so are we,” Dzuban said, noting that the event will play host to 48 workshops.

 

And expect a look into the cloud that doesn’t just skim along the surface of what’s evolved into a catch-all buzzword. “We’re not talking about Wikipedia: What is the cloud?” Dzuban said. “This is about how to apply dos and don’ts and best practices.”

 

This year’s event will also take on more global proportions, mirroring a broader trend that is seeing the cable industry coalesce around standards and technologies on a worldwide scale.

 

That broader focus should help this year’s Cable-Tec Expo match (or come close to matching) the attendance at last year’s event in Atlanta. Yes, fl at is indeed the new growth.

 

And it helps that Denver, despite no longer being the Cable Capital of the World, is still a cable town.

 

“Historically, Denver has had strong on-site registrations,” Dzuban said. “We expect to be where we were last year. But some of that is factored into the on-site registrations we’re expecting.”

 

For those keeping score, last year’s Expo in Atlanta drew about 9,800, a 6% increase from the 2012 event in steamy Orlando, Fla.

 

Outside of attendance, Cable-Tec Expo is seeing growth in other areas. Dzuban said the number of new, fi rst-time exhibitors is up 64% for the Denver event, while total exhibitors are up roughly 16%. SCTE, he said, is also seeing a surge in international attendance, which was up 10% heading into this week’s event.

 

That growth comes against the backdrop of SCTE’s broader global focus. Earlier this month, for example, the SCTE launched the International Society of Broadband Experts (ISBE), a brand and education division that will supply training and certification resources around the world. It’s also there to “eliminate existing brand confusion” with the Society for Broadband Professionals, a U.K.-based group founded in 1945 that also goes by “SCTE.”

 

SCTE, like other cable-focused organizations, has been tasked with stoking growth strategies in an that is contracting.

 

“If you look at our mission, the mission doesn’t change” in the face of consolidation, Dzuban said. “It’s expanding our footprint and our relationship with existing MSOs to include — just as CableLabs is absorbing Europe CableLabs and the NCTA [National Cable & Telecommunications Association] having a larger international contingent — the global community.”

 

But don’t expect Cable Tec-Expo to set up its tent overseas, at least not yet. SCTE has already locked in New Orleans for the site of its 2015 cable tech-fest, set for Oct. 13-16.

 

What’s on Your Expo Dance Card?

 

Cable-Tec Expo will again offer a broad mix of bigpicture sessions and nuts-and-bolts workshops that will cover the most important technologies, topics and trends that the industry is facing now and those on the horizon but approaching fast.

 

With a lot to see and a lot to cover, it will be impossible not to miss some of the important technology beats unless you have a time machine tucked away in your back pocket. By category, here some sessions and workshops that will be on our hit list:

 

DOCSIS 3.1

Mon., Sept. 22, 1 p.m. (Symposium): “DOCSIS 3.1 Current Status and Schedule,” with Jorge Salinger of Comcast Cable and Belal Hamzeh of CableLabs.

Weds., Sept. 24, 10:45 a.m. (Room 108): “DOCSIS 3.1: Making It Real,” moderated by Jorge Salinger of Comcast, with Dan Torbet of Arris, and Patricio Latini of Intraway.

 

WiFi

Mon., Sept. 22, 9:15 a.m. (Symposium): “Carrier Grade WiFi,” with Mark Polett i, CableLabs.

Thurs., Sept. 25, 12:45 p.m. (Room 102): “WiFi: The Quest for Quality,” moderated by Raymond Celona of Comcast, with Todd Smith of Comcast and Charles Cheevers of Arris.

Thurs., Sept. 25, 2 p.m. (Room 102): “WiFi in the Connected Home,” moderated by Chris Albano of Comcast, with Chris Cholas of Time Warner Cable and John Anderson of Fluke Networks.

 

SDN, NFV, RDK and the Internet of Things

Mon., Sept. 22, 2 p.m. (Room 201): “Application of SDN and NFV in the Service Provider Delivery Network,” moderated by Bruce McClelland of Arris, with Adam Dunstan of Active Broadband Networks and Alon Bernstein of Cisco Systems.

Tues., Sept. 23, 9:45 a.m. (Room 102): “Cable’s Internet of Everything,” moderated by Mark Francisco of Comcast, with Mark Tubinis of Savant Systems.

Weds., Sept. 24, 10:45 a.m. (Room 201): “Putt ing DevOps Into Practice: The RDK Model,” moderated by Leslie Ellis of Ellis Edits, a Multichannel News contributor, with Labeeb Ismail of Comcast, Bill Warga of Liberty Global and Matt Zelesko of Time Warner Cable.

 

Cable’s Power Play

Wed., Sept. 24, 1 p.m. (Room 103): “Energy 2020,” with Comcast’s John Schanz (keynoter), session moderator Theresa Hennesy of Comcast, and Ivan Lamoureux of Suddenlink Communications, Simpson Cumba of Comcast, Derek DiGiacomo of SCTE, John Dolan of Rogers Communications and Dan Cooper of Time Warner Cable.

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