Preview: CTAM Summit, SCTE Cable-Tec Expo


For someone passionate about making technology approachable to nontechnical people, this week is a grand slam of cable conventions: the CTAM Summit and the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. Marketers and engineers, all in one place! Nirvana!

And hello again, Orlando, Fla. This location means one thing right off the bat: Brush up on your Full Service Network history (see Craig Leddy’s take), because you’ll likely hear more than a few anecdotes about it.

For the tech-interested at CTAM Summit, don’t miss self-professed gadget guru, author (Beyond the Obvious: Killer Questions That Spark Game-Changing Innovation) and new-ish CEO of Cable- Labs, Phil McKinney, who kicks off a “Products Consumers Crave” panel on Tuesday at 9 a.m. The session features chief technologists from Comcast, Cox and Charter (full disclosure: moderated by yours truly).

In the topic mix: What technologists want from marketers; the operational impact of “service velocity”; maneuvering a software-heavy workplace and the parallel industrial shift to “agile” development; cable’s changing role in innovation.

That’s all on the front part of the week. Then, on Wednesday, the marketers pull out, and the techies pull in.

What to watch for, news-wise, at this year’s SCTE Cable Tec Expo: Lots of detail about the next chapter in cable modems, now officially named “DOCSIS 3.1.”

Why: A session added to the Thursday morning schedule (11-12:30) aims to go long on the constituent components of DOCSIS 3.1. It’s all about wringing more capacity out of existing hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) networks, by tweaking things like modulation and error correction. (Yes, you can expect a full translation in a future edition.)

One of the great things about Cable Tec-Expo: Session repetition. This year’s technical workshops look chewy, and many repeat throughout the three-day tech-fest. Even with the repeats, though, the 2012 lineup makes one want a clone.

On my short list: “Is Your Network Capable of Handling the Next Generation of Services?”; “Slaying the Bandwidth Consumption Monster”; “Fast Times: Speed Tiers and Their Impact on Your Network”; and “Take 5: HTML5 in Cable.”

Also hot-looking (as hot goes): “Advanced Encoding for an Untethered World,” “CCAP Trial: The Verdict” and “Springing New Leaks: A Look at New Sources of Interference.”

If there were an award for best session title (because that’s what the industry needs! More awards! ;-), it’d have to go to “Bandwidth Hunger Games.” Best acronym overload: “EPON, EPoC, DPoE, RFoG, DOCSIS — Beyond the Alphabet Soup.” (A typo in the online agenda makes it all the better: “FRoG.”)

Hope to see you there!

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