BelAir Gets CableLabs Best Product Nod

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A compact wireless base station that uses existing broadband infrastructure to deliver mobile broadband Internet via licensed and unlicensed wireless spectrum won the "Best Product Idea" nod at Monday's CableLabs Innovation Showcase.

BelAir Networks' 100SP Strand Picocell (pictured) was selected by attendees in an informal poll at the event. BelAir was one of about one dozen start-ups and established vendors that presented at the conference in Keystone, Colo.

BelAir 100 SP

According to CableLabs executive vice president and chief strategy officer David Reed, companies are given eight minutes to make their pitch to attendees, who then vote on which technology they believe has the best chance of succeeding.

BelAir was just one of 12 companies participating in the showcase.

According to Reed, the dominant theme at the event was connectivity between the cable network, devices in the home and the IP network. Devices that extend the cable video platform to IP devices like tablets and game players, new gateways between the cable network and the IP network and even one application -- from Alcatel Lucent -- that allows customers to remotely monitor their cars over the TV were featured were also popular.

Set-top box maker Pace showcased an app that would work with different social networking sites like Facebook using EBIF and also featured an app that would allow for videoconferencing over the TV via Skype.

The 100SP Strand Picocell allows for increased wireless capacity through smaller cell architectures, which in the past have been hampered by problems inherent in providing power, mounting and backhaul to wireless base stations.

BelAir VP of product marketing Dave Park said on a conference call with reporters the device allows operators to deploy small cells en masse, which had been difficult in the past.

"This opens up while new business models for MSOs and mobile opeators to work together," Park said.

In February, Jinni Media took the honors for "best product idea" at the CableLabs Winter Conference with a demo of a content-discovery system that uses moods and emotions to let viewers find related content.

A year ago, a 3-D sensing system from Prime Sense that uses an infrared camera to let a TV viewer interact with a set-top box or television got the nod at the innovation showcase.

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