RDK Management LLC, the video set-top software joint venture formed by Comcast and Time Warner Cable last month, has found its point man and has hired two independent vendors to provide “critical” support services to the J.V. and its licensees.
Steve Heeb (pictured), the vice president of licensing and strategic development at Comcast, has been named president and general manager of RDK Management. S3 Group has been tapped to oversee the venture’s code management function, ensuring that contributions to the common code base are properly assessed, merged and tested before becoming part of RDK releases. Itaas, meanwhile, will oversee RDK Community Support Services, which include technical support and training for licensees.
The RDK, known as the Reference Design Kit and initiated by Comcast, is a pre-integrated software bundle for hybrid IP/QAM and IP-only gateways and client devices that aims to accelerate product development cycles. More than 100 companies, including a mix of set-top box vendors, chip makers, software developers, integration specialists, and service providers, have licensed the RDK. Although the early versions of RDK are focused on the U.S. cable market (Comcast's IP-capable X1 platform is the first product to use the RDK), a 2.0 version under development will adopt elements that will make it compatible with European cable networks.
Heeb told Multichannel News that his first objective coming in is to set up an organization that can support the RDK “community” by strengthening the underlying ecosystem and helping to bring scale to the platform as it seeks to work with multiple vendors and operators. He said RDK Management will establish a small, core management team that will work in tandem with its contractors.
Heeb will maintain some of his activities at Comcast, which has included the management of key Comcast technology licensing initiatives such as Digital Transport Adapter (DTA) technology, video-on-demand specifications, and the EBIF interactive TV software. Heeb, who joined Comcast in 1994, expects to “spend the majority of my time” with the RDK J.V. as it gets up and running. “We’re still working out the balance as this [organization] ramps up.”
"Steve brings broad industry knowledge and day one readiness that is critical to successfully realizing the vast potential of the RDK," Mike Hayashi, executive vice president – architecture, development & engineering for Time Warner Cable, said in a statement. "Our goal is to ensure we maintain the developmental efficiencies that come from having a community committed to collaboration, standardization and speed to market."
"Faster innovation is the core driver behind the RDK," added Mark Hess, senior vice president of business and industry affairs at Comcast. "Bringing Steve in as president and general manager is the logical next step for us after forming the LLC. He will help us create a very lean and efficient organization that can quickly build out the support components for the RDK. His ability to build relationships and consensus among a diverse group of OEMs, MVPDs, and other key vendors and supplier constituencies will serve the RDK community well."