Despite the threat of continued industry consolidation of distributors and suppliers, the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) expects attendance at this year’s Cable-Tec Expo in Denver to match up with last year’s event in Atlanta. Yes, flat is indeed the new growth.
“Historically, Denver has had strong on-site registrations,” SCTE president and CEO Mark Dzuban said. “We expect to be where we were last year. But some of that is factored into the on-site registrations we’re expecting.”
For those keeping score, last year’s Expo in Atlanta drew about 9,800, a 6% increase from the 2012 event in steamy Orlando, Fla.
Dzuban said the number of new, first-time exhibitors is up 64% for the Denver event, while total exhibitors are up roughly 16%. SCTE, he said, is also seeing a surge in international attendance, which was up 10% heading into the show.
That growth comes against the backdrop of SCTE’s deeper global focus. Earlier this month, for example, the SCTE launched the International Society of Broadband Experts (ISBE), a brand and training division that will supply training and certification resources around the world. It’s also there to “eliminate existing brand confusion” with the Society for Broadband Professionals, a U.K.-based founded in 1945 that also goes by “SCTE.”
While this year’s show will shine the spotlight on specific categories such as DOCSIS 3.1, 4K/Ultra HD, the Reference Design Kit (RDK), energy management, WiFi, a big overarching theme will be customer service, Dzuban said.
“If we look at last year’s Expo being about IP networking and going to all-IP networks and what that technical evolution looks like, this year if really about how do we use science and technology to improve the customer experience in a market that is very competitive, but so are we,” he said, noting that the event will play host to 48 workshops.
And expect a look into the cloud that doesn’t just skim along the surface of what’s evolved into a catch-all buzzword. “We’re not talking about Wikipedia: What is the cloud? This is about how to apply dos and don’ts and best practices,” Dzuban said.
SCTE, like other cable-focused organizations, has been tasked with developing growth strategies amid a consolidating market, which, again, is one of the reasons why it’s been expanding its reach and focus.
“If you look at our mission, the mission doesn’t change” in the face of a consolidating industry, Dzuban said. “It’s expanding our footprint and our relationship with existing MSOs to include – just as CableLabs is absorbing Europe CableLabs and the NCTA [National Cable & Telecommunications Association] having a larger international contingent – the global community.”
But don’t expect Cable Tec-Expo to set up its tent overseas, at least not yet. SCTE has already locked in New Orleans for the site of its 2015 cable tech-fest, set for Oct. 13-16.