Terayon Communication Systems Inc. has landed Cable
Television Laboratories Inc. veteran Richard Prodan to help spearhead its moves beyond the
high-speed-data side of the cable-infrastructure business.
Prodan -- a nine-year veteran and most recently chief
technical officer of the industry's research-and-development consortium -- will focus on
new product development that will include Terayon's planned headend integrating voice,
video and data capabilities.
"Some of the problems in doing that [integration] is
that a lot of control-systems servers -- where you have to address individual components
and connect them to operating and billing systems -- are all independent," Prodan
said. "Trying to integrate these things and not duplicate them is going to be very
important in the future as people introduce more new services."
At CableLabs, Prodan was instrumental in the development of
specifications for such major initiatives as the Data Over Cable Service Interface
Specification cable-modem-interoperability project and OpenCable, the industry's project
for interoperability among digital-cable set-top boxes and applications.
Both of those initiatives were intended to foster the
creation of significant consumer retail markets for the customer-premises hardware that
will support advanced services such as digital video, high-speed Internet access for
computers and TV sets and Internet-protocol telephony over cable.
Terayon has significant deployments of its DOCSIS and
proprietary modems in North America and internationally. Its long-term strategic plans
have prompted its recent acquisitions of Imedia Corp., a provider of gear used to groom
digital-video streams and perform digital ad insertion; Telegate Ltd., with a
broadband-access-systems lineup including cable telephony and wireless-networking
technology; and Radwiz Ltd., a developer of IP-network routing.
Prodan said he considered some of his most significant work
at CableLabs to be his involvement in getting the industry to adopt MPEG-2 as its standard
for digital compressed video. He added that a key element in that decision was the fact
that as an international standard, MPEG-2 was the focus of hundreds of developers and
researchers worldwide, versus proprietary standards with more limited developer interest.
Before joining CableLabs, Prodan held positions at
StellaCom, which provided advanced television technologies to the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration, and at Philips Laboratories as a research staffer involved in
high-definition TV technologies.
Prodan said he decided to leave CableLabs because of the
challenge, and potential rewards, of working in commercial development of the
broadband-access products that operators are demanding.
"I have to say I've helped to make a lot of
billionaires in my 10 years at CableLabs," Prodan quipped. "There's going to be
an explosion in the near future. I want to be on the front side of that wave."