Expo Returns to Cable’s Former Capital

It’s been a hectic last few days wherever convention vectors intersect in Denver.  Denver International Airport has been alive with the bustle of inbound MSO and vendor executives. Conversations among old friends have been struck up in lines at hotel registration desks. Admins have been jostling to put together the best dinner meetings at Acorn, Sugarmill and points in between.

SCTE Cable-Tec Expo is back in town.

At the Colorado Convention Center, vendors selling everything from crimping tools to CCAPs [converged cable access platforms] have been putting the finishing touches on their exhibits. Audio-visual systems have been tested one last time. Speakers have been adding that final polish to keynote presentations and workshops.

SCTE Cable-Tec Expo is back in Denver.

When Tony Werner and I are delivering our opening remarks this week, you can bet the significance of holding the cable industry’s premier technology event in the Mile High City won’t escape us.  While Denver may no longer be “The Capital of Cable,” it retains a revered position in the industry’s history.


Denver was the focal point for the cable revolution that freed television viewers from the shackles of handfuls of VHF and UHF channels. Giants of our industry — Bill Daniels, John Malone, Bob Magness and others — used Denver as a base to bring vast menus of sports, entertainment, news and other content to America, and ultimately to the world. And in Denver, a new generation of technologists turned cable pioneers’ dreams of new communications platforms into the realities of broadband and voice services.

The good news is that the same spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation that drove the growth of cable in Denver’s heyday is alive and well today. As SCTE itself celebrates its 45th anniversary, our organization has evolved from a handful of forward-thinking engineers to an increasingly agile organization that is the hub of technology learning, certification and standards for more than 18,000 members. 

With the creation of our Corporate Alliance Program, our relationships with organizations such as CableLabs, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) and Women In Cable Telecommunications (WICT), as well as our increasingly global reach, SCTE is both creating solutions for the worldwide cable market, and demonstrating the business impact of those solutions well beyond the technology community.


At Cable-Tec Expo this year, the agenda is jammed with keynotes, panels, workshops and exhibits that are pointing the way to a new Golden Age for our industry. We’ll showcase strategies for increasing operational efficiency, reducing costs and boosting customer satisfaction. Among them: cloud-based services; agile software development; IP video delivery; and standards for next-generation equipment and facilities design, to name a few.

When you have a record 48 workshops and more than 96 educational sessions, as well as multiple keynotes and opening general sessions and countless other events, there’s no way for a preview to do justice to all of them in several hundred words.  We’ll do our best here to shine a spotlight on the highlights that will make SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2014 a memorable show.  Here are a few:

• We’ve brought together two global thought leaders — Rob Lloyd, president, sales and development for Cisco Systems, and Mike Fries, president and CEO of Liberty Global — for a twin helping of keynote remarks.  Rob will talk on Tuesday (Sept. 23) about the evolution of the customer experience and the role of the cloud in the emerging model. On Wednesday (Sept. 24), Tony will engage Mike, to give attendees a global view of the opportunities that are ahead for the industry.

• Tony will follow Rob Lloyd’s lead during Tuesday’s opening general session when he moderates a panel entitled, “Cable’s Cloud Forecast: More Apps and Infrastructure.”  Among the panelists who will provide glimpses into a cloud-based future: Dan Hennessy, chief architect of Liberty Global, and Mark Muehl, senior vice president, product engineering for Comcast.

• Two of our most important activities, Standards and Energy Management, often go hand in hand. If you’re designing, building, buying or deploying new equipment, you can’t afford to miss the “Energy 2020” session at 1 p.m. on Wednesday. John Schanz, executive vice president and chief network officer of Comcast, will keynote the session, which will provide the vendor and operator communities with further visibility into how the “Energy 2020” campaign is shaping standards and requirements for new equipment, training and other resources.   Also on tap:  presentations on Energy Efficiency; Energy Integration into Operations; Drive Density and Performance; and Performance and Reliability Tiering.

• Our workshops will address the technology innovations that are essential to the future of our industry: Next-Generation Customer Experiences (Improving Operations, Defining/Redefining the Connected Home, and the role of the “Silicon Technician”); Next-Generation Video (All-IP Video, Ultra HD/HEVC/HDR, Video Portability, Next-Gen User Interfaces); and Next-Generation Networks (Architectures and Virtualized-, Cloud- and Software-Defined Networks for Gigabit Services and Beyond). 

• When you’re not listening to our speakers, the best place to learn about where the industry is headed is the show floor. The Cloud, HEVC, IP Video, CCAP, DOCSIS 3.1 — our vendors are the innovators who are turning those technologies and others into products that are ready for deployment by the cable operator community.

• And, of course, there will be the International Cable Games, the IP Challenge and the other events and networking opportunities that make Cable-Tec Expo a magnet for cable engineering and operations professionals in the U.S. and, increasingly, worldwide.


Denver will be alive with cable activity this week and make no mistake about it:  the city is still an important part of our industry’s landscape. Denver is many things — the headquarters city for the hub of international cable, Liberty Global; the location of The Cable Center; the jumping-off point for CableLabs; and the home to so many other companies and individuals who have contributed to our industry’s growth.

As one who spent many years here with my family, I hope you enjoy every minute of your time in the city. But most of all I hope that you make the most of everything we have to offer at SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2014.

Mark Dzuban is president and CEO of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers.