Archive for February, 2014

European Cable to Bring Olympic Spirit to Cable Congress in Amsterdam

(Brussels, 13 February) – Citius, Altius, Fortius, Latin for Faster, Higher, Stronger, has long been the motto to describe the great feats of athleticism seen at the Olympic Games. With the Winter Olympics now underway in Sochi, and ahead of its annual flagship gathering, Cable Europe, the trade association for the European cable industry, is proud to celebrate its role in driving faster speeds, access to higher-quality content and services, and a stronger competitive environment for European consumers.

With 69% of attendees at C-level, Director and Board Level, Cable Europe’s Cable Congress, taking place in Amsterdam from 12-14 March, is recognised as the leading conference dedicated to the cable and media industries in Europe. Yet the Netherlands won’t have to wait until Cable Congress to experience some of the best the industry has to offer – while Dutch ice skate champions Sven Kramer, Ireen Wüst, Michel Mulder and Stefan Groothuis win gold after gold, cable’s multi-screen products are bringing all of the Olympic excitement to fans whenever and wherever they want it.

Cable Europe Executive Chairman Matthias Kurth commented: “Like Olympic athletes, cable is always looking for an edge on the competition. Following years of investment in fibre-rich high speed networks, cable operators turned a long-standing speed advantage into a major driver of growth for its core product bundle – digital television, internet and telephony. Cable is now, as the established leader in connectivity, embracing its role in delivering high-quality programming to consumers on demand and on multiple screens. In Amsterdam, we’ll hear more about cable’s enviable position as the bridge between entertainment and consumers, and how content and competition are driving growth and strategic change in the years to come.”

The 2014 Cable Congress programme will feature the launch of new industry data and trends, including new statistics from IHS Screen Digest, the presentation of the Cable Europe awards recognizing industry innovation and achievement, and an impressive line-up of executives across cable, content, technology and new media. Highlights include:

  • BBC World News Presenter Babita Sharma as Master of Ceremonies
  • Keynote speech by Josh Sapan, President & CEO of AMC Networks
  • CEO panels featuring Michael Fries, Liberty Global, Rosalia Portela, ONO, Andrew Barron, Com Hem, Carsten Dilling, TDC, Rene Obermann, Ziggo, and Manuel Cubero, Kabel Deutschland
  • Views on technology from leading CTOs Paul Hendriks, Ziggo, Balan Nair, Liberty Global, and Lorenz Glatz, Kabel Deutschland

New content, programme updates and interviews are being added regularly to www.cablecongress.com

Meet the Speaker: Ralph Brown of CableLabs #cablecongress

Meet the Speaker: Ralph Brown, CTO, CableLabs

RBRalph Brown is responsible for leading CableLabs’ technical staff in delivering innovative solutions to the cable industry. In this role he leads development in seven areas of technical excellence: Systems Architecture, Network Design, BSS/OSS, Client Software, Security, Strategic Assessment, and Test/Prototype Development. He also is responsible for identifying and leading in areas of convergence and synergy across CableLabs programs.

Ralph will be speaking at the Cable Congress 2014 event taking place in Amsterdam on 12-14 March 2014. For more information on how to register, please click here.

CableLabs plays an important role in developing technology and standards for the cable industry. What did the organization focus on in 2013?

From the DOCSIS 3.1 specifications to 4K/Ultra HD – the past year was full of tremendous innovation and growth for the cable industry. CableLabs was a major catalyst for change.

Completing the DOCSIS 3.1 specifications – in record time of 18 months – was a huge success. Once completed, we incorporated the Chinese-DOCSIS requirements for the first time. This enabled the achievement of a global scale for cable broadband technologies.

CableLabs brought European and Asian cable operators on board as members, increasing the number of cable subscribers represented from 80 million to more than 125 million.

CableLabs also qualified a new class of high performance optical network equipment for Cable Business Services customers as part of the CableLabs DPoE specification. The organization also helped prepare the industry for 4K Ultra HD content and continued its work to create energy efficiency in set-top boxes, across the telecommunications industry.

Lastly, CableLabs worked to develop Wi-Fi technology for cable on a number of fronts:

  • Bringing seamless roaming across cable Wi-Fi access points to cable through the Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Passpoint™ standards;
  • Establishing a Wireless Service Locator service for cable operators;
  • Publishing key technical papers in the wireless spectrum policy debate as part of a continuing campaign to secure additional spectrum that can be leveraged by our members.

What are the cable industry’s biggest priorities for 2014 from a technology perspective?

In 2014, CableLabs will focus on bringing our member’s innovative technologies for Wi-Fi and wireless, business services and big data, internet of things and more — in the same manner that we did for DOCSIS.

DOCSIS3.0 was a major game changer for network capability. How is DOCSIS3.1 pushing cable networks even further and how will the customer benefit?

DOCSIS 3.1 introduces new modulation technology (OFDM), which increases bandwidth efficiency by as much as a factor of two. This helps cable operators better utilize the bandwidth of their current network and continue delivering the sophisticated applications and services their customers demand.

 

How are the needs of cable operators evolving and how will this influence CableLabs’ future work?

Cable operators are facing even more competition, not only from traditional service providers, but also from over-the-top (OTT) providers.

CableLabs will give our members the technologies and tools needed to remain the preferred provider in all markets.

Tell us about the recent international expansion of CableLabs and the importance of ensuring alignment of industry R&D activities globally?

It’s all about scale. International cable operators are positioned to take advantage of the growing global marketplace for products and services. The greater the alignment, the bigger the impact to their businesses and the world. This also benefits vendors, because they will only have to satisfy one set of international standards vs. trying to meet the individual standards of each region.

Don’t miss next week’s Live Twitter Chat with CableLabs President and CEO, Phil McKinney

Ahead of Cable Congress 2014, Phil will share his thoughts and opinions on the latest industry innovations and predictions via Twitter

philJoin us at 5pm CET /9am MT /8am PT on FRIDAY (28th February) for an exclusive Twitter Q&A with Phil McKinney, the President & CEO of CableLabs. Get your questions ready using the hashtag – #CableCongress

How does it work?

Between 5-6pm CET /9-10am MT /8-9am PT on Friday 28th February, Phil will join us on Twitter for one hour to answer all the cable related conundrums!

  Simply tweet your questions to @CableEurope using the hashtag – #CableCongress

  Put a reminder in your calendar

About Phil McKinney

Author, speaker and innovation guru, Phil McKinney is the current president and CEO at CableLabs. In this capacity he heads the research and development organization responsible for charting the course for technology and innovation in the cable industry. Prior to joining CableLabs, McKinney has held technology and innovation leadership positions in a number of major companies, including serving as the vice president and chief technology officer for Hewlett-Packard’s Personal Systems Group, where he was responsible for long-range strategic planning and research and development for all of the company’s PC product lines. More here >>

Want to hear more from Phil?

Phil will also be speaking on “Innovation and the Future of Cable” at Cable Congress 2014 this March in Amsterdam. Check the latest conference programme, click here >>

Meet the Speaker: Ayham Al-Banna of Arris #cablecongress

Meet the Speaker: Ayham Al-Banna, Distinguished Systems Engineer & Architect, CTO Office, Arris

AAAyham Al-Banna is a Distinguished Systems Engineer & Architect in the Chief Technology Office at ARRIS Group, where he works on defining the architecture for the US Cable Access Modules of the current and future ARRIS CCAP/CMTS systems and products.

Ayham will be speaking at the Cable Congress 2014 event taking place in Amsterdam on 12-14 March 2014. For more information on how to register, please click here.

Innovation in technology is focused on delivering for the end user. What are some of the biggest technology advances driving new and better services for the consumer?

AA: Yes, indeed. The end user is the focus of technology innovation. Multiple technologies and specifications were developed recently to deliver better user experiences. For example, CCAP, DOCSIS 3.1, Remote PHY, and Remote CCAP are all emerging technologies that provide customers with substantially higher data rates. In particular, better service is achieved by dense CCAP systems, new DOCSIS 3.1 modulation and error correction (i.e., OFDM and LDPC), and longer reach fibre with better SNR, enabled by the digital optics of Remote CCAP and Remote PHY.

Another technology that offers better user experience is IP Video, which provides end users with the ability to receive and view video content on all screens. QoE Monitoring is yet another technology that ensures that all services are offered with high quality. By the same token, the Wi-Fi Management technology improves the experience and performance of in-home networking.

What are some of the biggest technology advances that the average consumer may not notice?

AA: While cable service providers have a multitude of technologies with which to provide customers with faster services and better user experience, average customers may not notice the technological means behind the service improvement. For example, customers will not be aware that cable service providers are using denser CCCP boxes, Remote CCAP, or Remote PHY technologies. This also includes SDN and NFV, which are emerging technologies that are transparent to the average customer.

On the other hand, the deployment of some other technologies, like DOCSIS 3.1, might be slightly visible to average customers as they need to obtain new CPE equipment — although those customers will not likely know the details of the underlying technology that required the ‘newer and faster’ CPE device. Finally, average customers will definitely be able to observe a change in the technology when cable service providers migrate to FTTH networks where fibre is built to the home.

How is cable using technology to differentiate itself in the marketplace?

AA: Cable constantly capitalizes on new modulation and error correction technologies to improve service offering. Specifically, in the past, cable used ATDMA and SCDMA in DOCSIS 3.0 to provide customers with the needed throughputs. Recently, the cable industry started utilizing more modern modulation and error correction technologies by exploiting OFDM and LDPC in the newly created DOCSIS 3.1 specification.

Cable also capitalized on utilizing new cooling and design techniques to result in denser CCAP boxes. Wi-Fi is another technology that was recently utilized to form Wi-Fi communities and thus enable cable service providers to expand their reach beyond the conventional home service.

This continuous development process, which is based on utilizing newer technologies, enables cable service providers to offer higher throughputs and also differentiate themselves among other access providers.

From a technology standpoint, what are cable’s priorities for 2014?

AA: The year of 2014 will focus on video and HSD convergence by deploying CCAP boxes. Additionally, cable service providers will start preparing their networks (back-office and outside plant alike) in preparation for the upcoming deployment of IP Video using Multicast and DOCSIS 3.1 trials which will likely start in a year or so. Managing Wi-Fi connectivity and providing more ubiquitous Wi-Fi service will also be an important part of 2014.

Technology in this industry moves at an incredible pace. Today we talk about on-demand, connected life, wireless, over-the-top, ultra-fast, and multi-screen, but what new buzzwords will emerge in 2-3 years’ time?

AA: Snappiness on the Internet will likely become a buzzword. It describes the rate at which the needed information is provided in a short burst. Snappiness is different from Average Bandwidth. However, it will likely become more important as consumers get more demanding in their Web Browsing activities.

Interactive Gadgets will likely be another buzzword. This is basically when your refrigerator lets you know that you are low on tomatoes or your pantry asks you to bring coffee beans on your way home. These Interactive Gadgets can constantly be connected with the user over the web via the home Wi-Fi network via their cable service.
Automated Homes or Autonomous Homes could appear as 2014 buzzwords as well. This is basically when home devices take care of the home. For example, the humidistat could adjust the house humidity level based on the outside temperature. Lights and TV could shut down automatically if no one were present.

How does an organization like ARRIS embed innovation into its culture?

AA: ARRIS tries to keep all engineers at all levels in the company tied to the newly-evolving technologies. For instance, CTO teams and other groups in the company provide constant tutorials that are accessible to everyone. New information is rapidly disseminated as it becomes available to all of the company’s engineering teams. Periodic sync-up meetings are held between different organizations to help share ideas. ARRIS also encourages engineers to explore new ideas and prototype them by providing the necessary tools and resources. This is an important part of keeping the company innovative.

Exclusive Interview with Manuel Cubero

MEET THE SPEAKER:
 
Exclusive Interview with Manuel Cubero  ahead of Cable Congress next month
 
2013 was a year of change in the industry, including Kabel Deutschland with the acquisition by Vodafone. Manuel, in the run up to his appearance on the Panel Session: Cable Challenges Across Europe on March 12 at Cable Congress, tells us how he sees the competitive European cable landscape evolving.
 

“If the acquisition of Kabel Deutschland by Vodafone proves only one point, it is this: you cannot do without fixed assets. The European cable industry should be reassured.”

As Manuel is moving into a new role as CEO of Kabel Deutschland, we ask about his vision for the company and strategic priorities. We also find out why cable is such an attractive business model for investors.

READ THE FULL INTERVIEW HERE

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Meet the speaker: Manuel Cubero of Kabel Deutschland Holding AG #cablecongress

Meet the speaker: Manuel Cubero of Kabel Deutschland Holding AG

Manuel CuberoDr. Manuel Cubero is member of the Management Board and Chief Operating Officer of Kabel Deutschland Holding AG, the operator of Germany’s largest cable network. He is responsible for the company’s Sales, Technical Operations, Customer Service, IT as well as for Content.

Manuel will be speaking at the Cable Congress 2014 event taking place in Amsterdam on 12-14 March 2014. For more information on how to register, please click here.

2013 was a year of change in the industry, including for Kabel Deutschland with the acquisition by Vodafone. Can you tell us a bit about how you see the competitive landscape for the European cable industry evolving?

Manuel Cubero: If the acquisition of Kabel Deutschland by Vodafone proves only one point, it is this: you cannot do without fixed assets. The European cable industry should be reassured.

In addition, the European cable industry will increasingly be looked at when it comes to showing how exactly “convergence” can, in fact, create value. In my opinion, we can be the ones liberating this fuzzy concept from consultants and turning it into reality – maybe in new and surprising ways?

In order to do all this, we need to keep working as an industry on getting the right regulatory framework in place: one that truly supports the digital economy and breakthrough innovation through fair competition between infrastructures. In this regard, the further consolidation in our industry will continue to play an important role.

Are Europe’s regulators getting it right vis a vis promoting fair competition?

MC: In general the European regulatory framework and its implementation by European regulators have been heading in the right direction. It has enabled the much desired and fruitful infrastructure competition throughout Europe.

Cable with its vast investments in superior networks and innovative products has been an essential driver of this competition. Telco incumbents have had to find answers visa-vis the challenge by cable and, in particular, cable’s landmark high speed broadband offers. This has led to accelerated investments in incumbent telcos’ own networks which, in turn, has been very beneficial for Europe’s digital economy.

Regulators might want to keep in mind this recent success when thinking about regulating alternative infrastructures or shifting the regulatory paradigm towards symmetric regulation. This would only be in the interest of former telco incumbents and may endanger past and, more importantly, future investments in alternative infrastructures.

From an operational standpoint, what do you think will drive cable’s growth as we look at the state of the industry 2014?

MC: To be perfectly honest, even though you might not like this “boring” answer: more of the same.

As an industry we have been working tirelessly on improving our products, year after year, upgrading our value proposition. Developments such as Liberty’s Horizon box or our own endeavours of turning the customer premise equipment into Wi-Fi hotspots are such examples: We need to continuously prove to our customers how great it is to be a cable customer.

Last, but certainly not least, we will continue to work on our operations and flawless execution. In our call centres, for example, we have had very good success in ever improving customer experience, increasingly using customer care as a very successful sales channel and pushing down costs. We need to continue to do all three at the same time. These three goals are no opposites, they actually support each other.

You’re moving into a new role as CEO of Kabel Deutschland. Can you tell us a bit about your vision for the company and what your strategic priorities will be?

MC: First and foremost, our key priority is to deliver what we promised stand alone. We cannot afford to let go in terms of our continued sales success, driven by the most competitive products in the market, flawless operations and great customer experience. We have agreed with Vodafone that this is our first, second and third priority. We cannot have our daily stand alone business lapse because we get distracted by preparing for a later integration. Our competitors seem to bet on this happening. We better prove them wrong.

After having a profit and loss agreement in place, the remainder of our strategic focus will be of proving that the combination of a great mobile player and a great cable company can create additional value. First and foremost, we need to prove this to our customers. We need to be able to show each and every customer what‘s in it for him or her.

Why is cable such an attractive business model for investors?

MC: Cable is very resilient vis-a-vis changes in the economy and cable provides steady, predictable cash flows.

In addition to all that stability and predictability, cable provides tons of growth opportunities. Given our technology edge and the speed reserves we have, this is nowhere near the end.

Our goal as an industry should be to continue to deepen this attraction: nowhere can investors get a stable and huge oil-tanker and a flotilla of agile and aggressive speed boats, all at the same time.

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