It’ll be hard to miss this year’s Imagine Park stage — it’s smack-dab in the center of the INTX “cityscape” show floor. As this year’s co-chairs, we can attest to the volume of goodness in store.
Refresher: Imagine Park turns five this year, and (as always) aims for a live-television, The Tonight Show–style treatment of the hot tickets in this industry we used to call “cable.” It’s three days of “show-don’t-tell,” programmed around the wheel with fresh info and demonstrations you may not have seen before.
Plus! Bountiful WiFi, on its own channel, so you won’t be competing for signal. Plenty of comfy seats and tables, to rest the feet and catch up on your stuff. A food/snack bar, to refuel. All in a park-like environment, with great music, occasional birdsong and a 5 p.m. to 6.m. happy hour on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. As we like to say: It’s always a happy hour in the Park! (Stop gagging!)
Here’s the short list of what’s hot:
Tuesday, May 5
11:35 a.m. – We’re sworn to secrecy on the particulars, but here’s a tip: The opening general session ends at 11:25, which gives you 10 minutes to get to Imagine Park. It’s a short walk. Bring a camera.
11:45 a.m. – If fresh data about over-the-top (OTT) video consumption is your thing, drop in to hear the latest from Amdocs and IE Market Research. It’s based on a 2015 poll of 4,000 domestic and international consumers, about OTT — what’s desirable, whether rights matter, how inclined we are to purchase content.
It’s part of the “Changing Face of the Interface” segment, which runs right after “the big reveal,” mentioned above. Bonus: Mari Silbey, independent tech writer and gifted tech conversationalist, hosts the session, which also features a segment on better (read: spoken) content discovery, from Rovi. Also: A look at enhanced navigation from Espial, a leader in the HTML-5 and RDK (Reference Design Kit) communities.
4 p.m. – Along the road to this year’s Imagine Park, we caught wind of a private moment during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, where a vendor showed an (unnamed) cable CTO how to hack a “connected lock” -- to which the CTO replied, “Crap, I have that lock at home!”
See the hack during this jam-packed Internet of Things session, which features IOT aficionado Don Dulchinos, co-hosting with Parks Associates’s Tom Kerber. Plus, in terms of tech-side favs, this session features Alticast President and CTO John Carlucci, plus a double-duty demo from Comcast fellow Mark Francisco and Arris’s (always entertaining) Charles Cheevers about the how the IoT intersects with RDK.
Wednesday, May 6
12:45-1:30 p.m. –Joan Gillman, EVP and COO of Media Services for Time Warner Cable, makes her Imagine Park debut this year, as host to “The Money Cloud” -- which, as you might imagine, examines the intersections of advanced TV advertising, and cloud-based technologies. Bonus: The session debuts a “web speed” cloud technique only seen before in a CES “whisper suite.”
2:45-3:45 p.m. – The two of us co-host the first part of this session, where we’ll run through the hit list of what’s hot, both at INTX and within Comcast’s nearby booth. That’s followed by a deep-dive into the latest in “immersive engagement,” led by the talented and lively Rebecca Rusk, new head of BexUx.
4-5 p.m. – Definitely don’t miss the INTXHACK finals, hosted by Mike Hayashi, who left Time Warner Cable at the end of March to head up Jinsei 2.0 Consulting. The finals conclude a live, 24-hour developer challenge involving six Chicago-based startups, competing for accolades and cash money. As if Hayashi isn’t enough — Comcast chief software architect Sree Kotay will be on-hand as an INTX judge. And, when it ends, the second Imagine Park Happy Hour begins!
Thursday, May 7
9:45-10:30 a.m. – If Wi-Fi is in your crosshairs, drop in for “The Wireless Frontier” to see a live demonstration of Comcast’s new “Xfinity Share” service, powered by webRTC. Also: Fresh data about how Wi-Fi calling (also known as “Wi-Fi First”) is faring amongst service providers, and more.
10:45-11:30 a.m. – This is our favorite part of Imagine Park, every year: Lab Week. Here’s the background: A few years ago, in pursuit of the “agile workforce” culture that’s foundational to broadband-natives like Facebook, Google, Etsy, and Spotify, some MSOs opted to dive into the world of regularly occurring “lab weeks.”
That’s where developers are encouraged to develop a solution to a problem — internal or consumer-facing — then to demonstrate their work at a one-day “science fair.” Liberty Global, Time Warner Cable and Comcast return to the stage this year to show the latest from their respective lab weeks. Drop in to see a webRTC-based virtual truck roll, a Siri-like desktop problem solver, and (lots!) more.
Note: This is but a short list of Imagine Park fare. Be sure to check out the full slate here: https://intx15.ncta.com/show-floor/imagine-park/
See you at the park!
Leslie Ellis is technology analyst for Multichannel News and Next TV. Tony Werner is Comcast’s chief technology officer.