SCTE at 50: At Cable-Tec Expo, Will Overwhelmed CTOs Figure Out the Path Forward For Their Middle-Aged HFC Networks?

It’s certainly a time of crisis in the cable industry, as engineers try to figure out the path forward amid a dizzying array of emerging tech choices. Perhaps a few days together in the Big Easy will clear things up
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As the now 50-year-old SCTE convenes its latest Cable-Tec Expo, on this occasion back in New Orleans starting on September 30, the marketing buzzword “10G” will be everywhere, as the cable industry promotes its emerging HFC network technologies as the lighting-fast, low-latency network standards we will all eventually choose over the wireless industry’s 5G standard.

Of course, the 50th year is often an irascible, confusing, desperate time for those of us entering into it — a crisis point at which our suddenly feeble minds must make critical decisions about the infrastructural needs of ourselves, and those stakeholders we care about, for the coming three decades.

Should I move into a condo, buy a Porsche and post a Tinder profile? Or should I merely double down on my 401K and 529 contributions? Should I charge headlong into Remote PHY and/or Remote MAC/PHY architecture, and load up on Extended Spectrum DOCSIS? Should I choose Full Duplex DOCSIS instead? Or should I just ditch it all, lay down fiber to the home and get a Minoxidil prescription?

Yeah, it’s a confusing time for cable industry technologists, who face so many emerging technology choices right now, they’re a bit locked into paralysis by analysis. At least, that’s what all the stagnant bottom lines for cable access tech vendors tell us. Sometimes, comparing notes at a big trade show helps.

Session-wise, here’s some of what the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers has on tap for this year’s Cable-Tec Expo:

Tuesday, October 1:

> 10G After the Launch: So Here’s What You Might Have Missed – At its core, the concept of “10G” is about marketing. So here, we’ll hear the perspective of industry marketers. CableLabs CMO Rachel Beisel and the NCTA communications chief Brian Dietz will chat the 10G concept with moderator Leslie Ellis.

> Comcast: Building a 10G Network – Comcast senior executives Jan Hofmeyr and Elad Nafshi will lead a technology discussion on how 10G’s reduced latency, enhanced reliability and better security can unlock life-changing technologies such as connected health, augmented reality and virtual reality.

> CableLabs: 10G and Low Latency: Improving the Mobile Experience – Panel discussion will feature Shaw Communications’ Damian Poltz, CableLabs’ Jennifer Andreoli-Fang, Sercomm’s Ben Lin and Cisco’s John Chapman, moderated by CableLabs’ Shahed Mazumder.

> Visibility for the Borderless Network – Led by Netscout’s Vikram Saksena and Ryan Eccles. discussion will focus on how new tools are enabling operators to attain seamless service assurance across any network, any service and any subscriber in an era of virtualization, cloudification and digitization.

> Closing the GAP to HFC Network Densification – Intel-sponsored discussion of the standardized Generic Access Platform, which can allow MSOs to deliver faster, richer broadband and multi-edge services while saving on CAPEX. Speakers include Intel’s Ed Dylag, Silicom’s Elad Blatt, Charter’s Matt Peterson, ATX Networks’ Jay Lee, Cisco’s Sean Welch, and AOI’s George Concalves.

> Report from the Front Lines: The Real Real About Virtualization – Commscope’s Tom Cloonan and Chris Busch and moderator Ellis discuss how to get virtualization right the first time.

> A New Customer Interaction Model – Comcast’s Charlie Herrin discusses how the company is using new interactions and artificial intelligence to transform the customer experience

> The Cable Center – Women’s Up and Coming CEO Panel – Comcast’s Kukis Moran, Charter’s Holly Hinze, and moderator Jana Henthorn (The Cable Center), will discuss the challenges and successes of rising women leaders, how they’re helping the industry grow, and what must be done to recruit/retain young women in media/tech.

Wednesday, October 2

> ACA Connects: Network Management and Growth for Mid-Size and Small Operators – Panel features Sparklight’s Ken Johnson, Schurz Communications’ Tom Williams, OpenVault’s Josh Barstow, Evolution Digital’s Cash Hagen and moderator Matt Polka (American Cable Association).

> TVC and Corning: Emergency Restoration – Corning’s Michael LaPierre, TVC Communications’ Frank McCullough and SCTE•ISBE’s Mark Dzuban discuss how MSOs can prepare for and cope with emergencies that interrupt service and steps that can be taken to restore networks quickly.

> Canoe Ventures: This Ad’s for You – Canoe’s Ed Knudson (moderator) and Sid Gregory, NCC’s Gerritt Niemeijer, Imagine Communications’ Steve Reynolds, Experian’s Brad Danaher and Blockgraph’s Jason Manningham lead an exploration of the ecosystem necessary in order to enable linear addressable advertising and critical elements of the roadmap.

> Preparing Field Service for the Future – CSG-sponsored discussion of how field teams can support creation of ecosystems that stay ahead of the pace of change with emerging technologies such as 5G and IoT, with CSG’s Jason Kuhn.

> Plume: Winning Through Consumer Experience in the Highly Competitive Smart Home – Gain insight into how ISPs can leverage direct relationships with subscribers and embrace sustainable growth models based on Wi-Fi connected experiences. Plume’s CCO Tyson Marian, Armstrong’s Michael T. Scardina, Point Broadband’s Mark Davis, and moderator Leslie Ellis (Ellis Edits).

Thursday, October 3 – “Smart Cities Day”

> Opening Keynote – Tom Adams, Executive Vice President, Field Operations for Charter Communications, and Bill Warga, Vice President, Technology, Liberty Global, with moderator Jeff Baumgartner of Light Reading.

> US Ignite: Cable and the Smart City: Partnerships Happening Now – US Ignite-sponsored discussion pairs cable executives with community leaders to discuss where smart city needs overlap with innovative cable solutions, and how municipalities and cable companies are successfully working together to spur growth and improve quality of life. Panelist to include Arizona Institute for Digital Progress’ Dominic Papa, Cox Communications’ Susan Anable, St. Petersburg (FL) Innovation District’s Alison Barlow and others with moderator Mari Silbey of US Ignite.

> CIO & CTO Chat: New Orleans Speaks Out on Smart Cities – A discussion of connectivity, infrastructure and how technology can improve civic services featuring New Orleans CIO Kimberly Walker LaGrue and CTO Jonathan Wisbey with moderator Silbey.

> CABA: Improving Organizational Productivity with Building Automation Systems – Presenting findings of a $150,000 research project by the National Research Council. Presented by the Continental Automated Buildings Association’s Greg Walker.

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