Archive for March, 2014

Cable Congress 2014 Addresses Changing Industry Dynamics, Highlights New Opportunities

(Amsterdam, 14 March) Cable Europe’s Cable Congress 2014, the flagship gathering of the European cable industry, today concluded three days of dynamic discussions on the flourishing future of cable amid a changing competitive landscape. Cable’s infrastructure was widely acknowledged to be the industry’s most important asset – key to helping cable move into new growth areas, satisfy customer demand for bandwidth-consuming entertainment and communications services, enable new and innovative product platforms such as over-the-top, and drive further consolidation, including convergence with mobile.

According to the industry’s leading technologists, cable’s pipe – with almost 1 GHz of capacity and a long and useful evolution path – is barely out of grade school from a high-speed data perspective. With CableLabs DOCSIS 3.1 deployment on track and set to support 10 Gbps downstream and up to 1 Gbps upstream, there is a lot more life in cable’s networks. “DOCSIS 3.1 was created with high capacity goals in mind to satisfy subscriber bandwidth demands deep into 2020 decade,” according to Ayham Al-Banna, Systems Architect at ARRIS.

Driving higher capacity and faster speeds in cable’s existing infrastructure is important over the long term as customer demand for over-the-top content, new applications and digital services skyrockets, but Guy Bisson of IHS believes cable is well positioned vis-à-vis its competitors. “Because of the enormous potential of DOCSIS 3.1, cable will continue to beat telco competitors on speed at a similar price point,” Bisson said. “The next network challenge will be over-the-top. In five years from now, 20% (or one hour) of the average person’s total daily TV consumption will be non-linear.”

As Cable Congress 2014 draws to a close, industry players expressed confidence in their ability to deliver on cable’s promise of faster speeds, higher-quality content and services and greater competition. Keeping up the happy marriage between cable and content, through deeper partnerships, multi-screen access, and advances in user-friendly functionality, will continue to be a key strategic focus in the years ahead.

Cable Europe’s Executive Chairman Matthias Kurth commented: “We’ve heard this week that infrastructure matters, and that cable needs to leverage its investments to drive growth in new areas as we increasingly move to converged services. At the same time, regulators need to ensure the industry can continue to consolidate so that cable’s investments and innovations can reach consumers on a larger scale.”

Cable Europe’s Cable Congress will be back in 2015, taking place in Brussels on 11-13 March.

Infrastructure Driving Growth and Deals #cablecongress

Infrastructure Driving Growth and Deals Positions cable operators to move beyond triple play, pursue cable-mobile convergence

(Amsterdam, 13 March) Strong growth in the cable industry will continue in 2014 and beyond, participants at Day 2 of Cable Europe’s 2014 Cable Congress heard this morning. Cable customers have overwhelmingly embraced digital TV services, with over half of European customers now having made the switch, but significant opportunities remain in Eastern Europe and for providers to move beyond successful triple play packages to offer new services.

“There is a bar of gold sitting on the mantelpiece if you are investing in Central European cable,” according to Guy Bisson, Research Director Television at IHS, pointing out that conversion to digital in Central Europe has only just passed 25%. “Revenue-wise TV is key,” he added, “because it boosts the value of the customer and moves them into the triple play.”

Across Europe, IHS research shows that video-on-demand services grew by almost 20% in 2013, demonstrating the take up of new services. According to Bisson, the challenge for cable now is to move from “pure breed to hybrid,” building on the success of triple play to include mobile, over-the-top, home networks and Wi-Fi roaming. “Infrastructure matters,” says Bisson, giving cable a significant advantage in the future delivery of communications and entertainment services.

Cable’s superior infrastructure is also a key driver of consolidation in the industry, with an increasing number of deals in Western Europe in recent years. Bisson points out that deals in Western Europe have been valued at up to €3,000 per home, compared to around €1,000 per home in Central and Eastern Europe.

Clif Marriot, Managing Director of Goldman Sachs, believes “we’re making our way in Europe towards concluding the first wave of consolidation, which is creating one cable operator in each regional market. Cable-mobile convergence is next.” With respect to deals in the content space, the panel suggested that partnerships rather than M&A would remain the primary focus for operators.

For the latest news on Cable Congress 2014, please visit, talk to us on Twitter via @CableEurope, and follow all of the discussion live using #cablecongress.

Ziggo and ComHem’s Emma Svalin Sahlman Win Cable Europe Innovation Awards at Cable Congress

Ziggo and ComHem’s Emma Svalin Sahlman Win Cable Europe Innovation Awards at Cable Congress

ONO receives special mention for sustainability project

(Amsterdam, 13 March) Cable Europe, the trade association representing the European cable industry, today awarded Ziggo and ComHem’s Emma Svalin Sahlman with awards for innovation and individual achievement, respectively. Caroline Van Weede, Managing Director of Cable Europe, and Peter Percosan, Partner, Digital Strategy, presented the honours on the second day of Cable Congress, taking place this week in Amsterdam.

Ziggo won the Cable Europe Innovation Award, voted on by delegates at Cable Congress, for its Interactive Digital Cable with no STB offer. Last year Ziggo became the first operator in the world to deliver VOD and catch-up TV services to CI Plus 1.3 devices, eliminating the need for a set-top box and allowing consumers to realize the Bring Your Own Device promise.

The Innovation Award recognizes a special project that stands out in helping cable innovate and stay ahead of the customer. Other strong nominees in the category included Telenet’s SmartAid project, an innovation that leverages all existing administrative and technical information to provide a holistic troubleshooting experience across its service organizations; and GET’s basic tier package, the world’s freest and largest TV offer of its kind.

Emma Svalin Sahlman, Head of Product TV at ComHem, was honoured with the Cable Europe Fellow Award in recognition of her work in bringing TiVo to life at Sweden’s biggest cable company. In accepting the honour, she commented: “Integrating TiVo and building a completely new platform in 18 months doesn’t only require a strong leader but a great team, great management and suppliers supporting us. Now we have the strongest product on the Swedish market.”

Spanish cable operator ONO received a special mention for introducing an innovative management model and online tools especially designed to reduce power consumption and support eco-friendly attitudes and procedures within the company. Van Weede commented: “This is a special project that clearly demonstrates that the cable industry is also innovating to have a sustainable impact on the future.”
awards 2014 photos

For the latest news on Cable Congress, please visit, talk to us on Twitter via @CableEurope, and follow all of the discussion live using #cablecongress.

Content Partnerships, Technology Collaboration, Convergence and Consolidation Top Cable’s Agenda

(Amsterdam, 12 March) Executives from across the cable industry called for deeper partnerships with content players, continued collaboration on technology standards and greater convergence of products and services on Day 1 of Cable Europe’s 2014 Cable Congress. With consolidation of the still fragmented cable marketplace ongoing, they also advocated for “de-stressing” the regulatory environment to better stimulate Europe’s digital economy.

“Marriage with content is our future,” according to Michael Fries, CEO of Liberty Global, citing the vast majority of consumers migrating to a digital experience and demanding more and more content on multiple screens and on-demand. “We’re in the business of connectivity first and foremost – that includes connecting people to great content and providing functionality to enhance the viewing experience.”

Content players echoed the need for continued collaboration, highlighting how cable’s delivery of breakthrough advances in digital technology – interactive user-interfaces and channel guides, VOD and DVR – has profoundly changed the way content is both consumed and created. “The convergence of these technological developments has changed the viewer mindset, putting you in control to watch on your own schedule and absorb more from what you see,” said keynote speaker and AMC Networks President & CEO Josh Sapan. “This combination has also given birth to a new brand of scripted drama, influencing what is written, produced and directed, and changing the pace and style of the dramatic world. Good stories and new technology are the foundation for the success of TV.”

Cable is expected to continue to play a crucial role in this ongoing content shift as network capacity, bundling and service convergence increases. According to Manuel Cubero, COO of Kabel Deutschland, operators need to focus on bundling high-value services and maintaining quality networks, but continued innovation and investment is key. “The moment you think you’re good then you’ve lost; being top-notch is a continuous fight.”

Cable Congress 2014 will continue tomorrow and Friday. To keep up with the conversation, please visit, talk to us on Twitter via @CableEurope, and follow all of the discussion live using #cablecongress.

Cable Top-line Growth Accelerates by 5.9% in 2013

Industry adds more than €1 billion in revenues at YE2013 on the back of strong uptick in high-speed broadband and telephony subscribers and continued switch to digital services

(Amsterdam, 12 March) Cable investments in high-speed broadband connections and new service platforms drove top-line revenues across Europe up 5.9% to €21.9bn in 2013, according to new IHS statistics released by Cable Europe, the industry’s trade association, at Cable Congress 2014 in Amsterdam. The more than €1bn increase in annual revenues benefited from 9.1% growth in broadband revenues, 6.5% growth in telephony revenues and a greater share of TV revenues now digital (more than 70%) than ever before.

Cable Europe President Manuel Kohnstamm commented: “The past year has seen significant transformation and change in our industry, and all of us feel good about cable’s ability to grow through those cycles. As our customers increasingly go digital, over-the-top and outside the home, cable is positioned as the future of entertainment”.

The cable sector has received positive attention lately with the announcement of acquisitions and IPOs. The consolidation of the sector is a necessary step for fuelling cable companies’ competitive moves in a very dynamic environment. Demanding consumers, new technologies, very aggressive telecom operators and agile OTTs are constantly reinventing the market.

“Cable is a shining star at a time when Europe’s leaders are calling for more investment in digital infrastructure to connect our continent,” said Cable Europe Executive Chairman Matthias Kurth.“We continue to attract European consumers with a truly unparalleled connectivity platform. While digital TV subscribers now make up the majority of TV subscriptions in Europe, converting the remaining 25.9 million analogue customers is one of cable’s many long-term runways to growth.”

For the latest news on Cable Congress 2014, please visit, talk to us on Twitter via @CableEurope, and follow all of the discussion live using #cablecongress.

All Aboard to Cable Congress, Next Stop Amsterdam


2014 Event to Highlight European Cable Sector’s Flourishing Future on its High Train to Growth

(Brussels, 10 March) Cable Europe’s Cable Congress, the much anticipated annual industry gathering taking place from 12-14 March in Amsterdam, is shaping up as just the ticket for those steeped in the converging worlds of entertainment and technology. An all-star line-up of leaders from across cable, content, tech and new media will be on hand to discuss the latest trends and developments in the industry, as well as their strategies to compete and grow in the years to come.

The flagship conference will kick off with the release of brand new 2013 year-end pan-European cable industry data supplied by IHS. Highlights are expected to include continued growth in new customers as well as a powerful top-line increase in total cable revenues.  Europe’s cable industry now serves more than 109 million Revenue Generating Units (RGUs), an industry metric measuring the number of services – TV, internet and telephony – delivered to customers. More statistics on growth in these three product areas, as well as in digital services like Video on Demand, will be unveiled on Day 1.

“There’s no blowing smoke about what the cable industry is delivering to European consumers,” according to Cable Europe’s Executive Chairman Matthias Kurth. “Tunnel vision, when focused on the customer, is a game changer that cable is exploiting. Last year saw cable operators upgrading commercially available broadband speeds to 200 Mbps and even 500 Mbps in European markets. At this year’s Cable Congress we’ll hear more about how the industry is leveraging the power of these networks, in combination with new services and the inclusion of over the top and premier content, to deliver the absolute best value to its customers. This year is a can’t miss for those interested in the future of cable in Europe.”

In addition to the release of new industry data, the 2014 Cable Congress programme is packed with engaging sessions and high-profile executive appearances, including:

  • Keynote speech by visionary President & CEO of AMC Networks, Josh Sapan
  • C-Suite panel hosted by CNN’s Nina Dos Santos, featuring Michael Fries, Liberty Global, Manuel Cubero, Kabel Deutschland, Carsten Dilling, TDC and Bert Habets, RTL Nederland
  • A fireside chat with René Obermann, Ziggo
  • Cable’s technology wheel of fortune with Paul Hendriks, Ziggo, Balan Nair, Liberty Global, and Lorenz Glatz, Kabel Deutschland, hosted by Babita Sharma, BBC News
  • The third annual Cable Europe Awards, honouring contributions from individuals and companies helping to move the European cable industry forward
  • Unparalleled networking opportunities, with 69% of attendees at C-level, Director and Board Level

For the latest news on Cable Congress 2014, please visit, talk to us on Twitter via @CableEurope, and follow all of the discussion live using #cablecongress.

Is it worth waiting for a Universal Standard for the Smart Home? – by Paul Bristow of ADB

Is it worth waiting for a Universal Standard for the Smart Home?

paul 2By Paul Bristow, vice president of marketing communications, ADB

I am passionate about the Internet of Things intersecting with the connected home, as it is leading to the really Smart Home.

When I think about the Smart Home I picture a variety of use cases related to convenience, comfort, security, piece-of-mind that can improve our quality of life, including the wearables and portable devices that drift in out of the Smart Home. For me the Smart Home is all about “organising a compelling user experience”, and not just about giving people a new piece of technology.

There is a lot of emphasis today on the quest for a universal and overarching standard that solves the Smart Home technology fragmentation. Like most vendors we support all the leading industry initiatives, but there are a lot!

This image gives a sense of the number of associations and bodies that are currently working on aspects related to the Smart Home.


However, when it comes to the smart home, fragmentation is absolutely not a showstopper. For sensor technology, fragmentation is the necessary result of diverse usage requirements that need specific connectivity protocols.

Battery-operated devices are a good example (think of temperature and humidity sensors, radiator valves, window closing contacts, wearable fitness sensors, etc): Wi-Fi consumes too much power, but is also faster than the application requires and so they resort to other optimised, lower throughput technologies such as Zigbee, Zwave or Bluetooth low-energy, which allow batteries to last for months or years. Energy-harvesting sensor technologies, like EnOcean, don’t even need a battery and workby harvesting the energy they need from the environment around them.

Moreover it appears that progress towards a single unified standard will take many years, indeed if it ever arrives, and the industry just can’t wait that long. Instead, a more rational approach is to start leveraging the variety of in-home sensor standards now.
With all this fragmentation around, some cable operators might be nervous about launching their Smart Home offerings, thinking the market isn’t yet ready. But all is not lost. There are already platforms available that can accommodate a choice of sensor standards while abstracting their details for applications. This way, applications can address composite lifestyle use cases right now by integrating multiple devices and sensors using different standards.

While the digital TV industry has been talking about personalisation for years, the Smart Home market needs by default to start out in a personalised way, as every family’s needs and desires are different.

Fortunately the answer to fragmentation and personalisation is one and the same. With a flexible software platform that handles the fragmentation, cable operators can focus on the very role that will enable managed Smart Home mass customised adoption: that of a service provider.

As evidenced by the $3.2 price tag Google paid for the Nest smart thermostat firm, expectations are high that consumers are gearing up for the smart home. This is reflected in forecasts from industry analysts, ABI Research. They predict the managed home automation market will grow each year at a CAGR of 60% through 2017.

I believe that as consumers move from connecting their homes to connecting their lives the time is right for triple and quad play providers to expand into a multi-play offering. And given the opportunity, consumers are most likely to turn to their trusted cable supplier to take their first steps into the smart home future.

Meet the speaker: Dr. Ken Morse of Cisco Systems

Meet the speaker: Dr. Ken Morse, CTO, Connected Devices, Cisco Systems

ken morseDuring the more than 32 years Dr. Ken Morse has been involved in software and hardware development, he has co-founded four companies in the digital video and entertainment space. In his current role as CTO, Connected Devices, Dr. Morse is responsible for ensuring that the company maintains its digital video, data and voice leadership position by driving the embracement of new technologies, architectures and product categories for in-home service provider devices . Prior to this role he was CTO for SP Video Technology Group.

Ken 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?

Ken Morse: We are seeing continued developments with Cloud. The cloud is good at delivering new services that consumers care about on all types of devices, no matter where they are. Operators are using cloud to collapse linear on-demand recorded content, to offer unified search & recommendations that help subscribers search what is relevant for them.

The industry is working to provide consumers with other means for consuming content on a variety of consumer electronics devices or “companion devices,” that enhance the experience on the main TV. Tablets and smartphones are being used as remote controls, synching content from the tablets and smartphones with the main TV, to create the ultimate immersive experience.

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

KM: Home networking device management is a big technology advancement that consumers won’t notice if it is doing its job. If the wireless is working, subscribers are happy and they don’t think about it. Behind the curtain, we have (Cisco Prime Home) software that is managing the QoS into the home and the end-to-end network to keep things running smoothly. There are also big advancements in silicon today, which is in set-top boxes and home gateway devices. The silicon has evolved to give better experiences at lower cost points for operators.

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

KM: There is a lot of progress with cloud software. Cloud powered services driven by software offer operators the benefits of a scalable, “always on” two-way network that lends itself to differentiation. Cloud software is helping operators deliver the largest breadth of HD services and VoD libraries, accessible from multiple devices.

How is the next generation video experience evolving?

KM: In the past, what we used to call the “nice to have”, is now table stakes: any time anywhere content. It is now all about differentiating the true user experience. Giving people fast access to the content that is most meaningful to them, and access to things they wouldn’t have found easily otherwise.

How does an organization like Cisco embed tech innovation into its culture?

KM: Cisco avidly fosters the creation of new ideas & innovation internally. The company has an established process for internal engineers to submit new ideas and seek funding for experiments to come to fruition. Cisco’s “New Initiatives Group” within the Service Provider Video organization allows engineers to play with prototypes and new technologies and services on a 3-5 year horizon, encouraging innovation ahead of the curve.

Meet the Speaker: Matthias Kurth of Cable Europe

Meet the speaker: Matthias Kurth of Cable Europe

Matthias KurthMatthias Kurth joined Cable Europe in October 2012 as Executive Chairman. Mr. Kurth sits on Cable Europe’s Executive Committee which has oversight of the cable industry’s main representational duties in Europe. Matthias lastly held the position of President of the German Federal Network Agency, Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA), the authority for telecommunications, postal, energy and railway markets in Germany, including frequency management and digital signature. He played an instrumental role in the liberalization of the German energy market and left behind notable achievements with respect to competition in the telecommunications market. Matthias also served as Chairman of the European Regulators Group (ERG) in 2009 to increase regulatory cooperation at the EU level.

Matthias 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.

In your view, what were some of the biggest highlights for the industry since we last gathered for Cable Congress in London?

Matthias Kurth: In 2013 cable really showed what its networks could do for consumers in Europe. Cable’s massive investment over the years in broadband infrastructure has given operators a huge technology advantage that is now delivering on its potential. The upgrade of cable broadband speeds in commercial offers in Europe to 200 Mbps and even 500 Mbps in some markets is one key example. By combining its speed advantage with new service platforms and the inclusion of over the top, cable is affirming that it delivers the best value to the European consumer.

What are the biggest opportunities and challenges that should be driving cable’s priorities in 2014?

MK: This is a dynamic industry with an incredibly high level of competition between legacy players and new entrants, which is pushing the entire industry to keep up the pace of innovation and stay close to the customer. Fulfilling the customer’s growing and evolving needs and simplifying the use of platforms and services will remain a challenging factor for cable. If cable makes full use of the positive relationships it has with its clients, the industry will have the best, customer-focused perspectives and therefore be best positioned to keep growing in this highly competitive market.

2013 was a year of deal-making. What are the prospects for further consolidation and how could this stimulate industry growth?

MK: It’s true that there were a number of notable deals announced in 2013. Yet Europe’s cable landscape remains highly fragmented. Consolidation in such a disjointed market offers a chance to make better use of economies of scale and generates efficiencies so that more can be invested in infrastructure, products and services for end-users. Premium content – which is already experiencing high demand from customers – is getting more and more expensive, and carriers need a good market position for negotiations.

European Commissioner Neelie Kroes started a debate last year about the “Connected Continent” and creating a single market for broadband providers. What role does cable play in connecting Europe?

MK: When it comes to high speed broadband over 30 Mbps, cable has already connected the content better than other carriers. As an important investor in broadband infrastructure, we support the Commission in advocating for a more investment-friendly approach in the broadband market. Still, some topics in the proposals are controversial and the outcome is not yet clear.

Cable Congress in 2014 will focus on cable’s flourishing future – in your view what does that future look like and what will it take to get there?

MK: To predict the future is always difficult. What is for certain is that our industry has to face constant and dynamic change. If we learned the right lessons from the past – that we have to be ahead of our competitors when it comes to innovation and investment, then we are well prepared for the future.

Meet the Speaker: Jordan Casey, Founder and CEO of Casey Games

About Jordan Casey

Jordan Casey is a 14 year old self taught programmer and entrepreneur from a city called Waterford in Ireland.

He currently runs 2 companies: Casey Games – An Independent Game Company and TeachWare – A web based application for teachers to easily manage all their students information in the cloud.

More here >>

Join Jordan at Cable Congress next week as he goes through his story and challenges he has faced and what it’s like to be a young entrepreneur. Don’t miss his keynote speech on 13th March.

Join Jordan at Cable Congress next week as he goes through his story and challenges he has faced and what it’s like to be a young entrepreneur. Don’t miss his keynote speech on 13th March.

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