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Cable-Tec Expo: The Hot List

As the cable industry gears up for another Cable-Tec Expo, there will be plenty to see and do next week in Philadelphia, and offer just about something for everybody in the sector’s engineering ranks.

Get complete coverage of Cable-Tec Expo 2016

Since it’s impossible for one to get to all the workshops and to see everything on the floor, here’s a look at some of the sessions and doings that will be on our dance cards (view the  full show schedule here, and a detailed listing of workshops that will be on tap):

The Big Picture

A big can’t miss is Tuesday’s general session at 8:30 a.m. in the Terrace Ballroom. That will kick off with opening remarks from Tony Werner, president, technology and product for Comcast Cable and chairman of the SCTE/ISBE board of directors, and follow with a keynote from Marcus Weldon, CTO of Nokia and president of Nokia Labs.

Stick around for a panel led by Bob Stanzione, executive chairman and chairman of the board at Arris; Jim Blackley, executive VP, engineering and IT at Charter Communications; Balan Nair, EVP and CTO of Liberty Global; and Zoran Stakic, EVP and CTO of Shaw Communications.

Energized for The Future

Energy conservation power reduction have been on cable’s front burner since the industry outlined the goals of the ambitions Energy 2020 program in 2014. This year’s show will offer some opportunities to get caught up on the progress of that initiative.

Don’t miss:

-Access Technology Energy: Changing the Equation: Monday at 2 p.m. (100 level Rooms)

This track will address energy consumption in headends, hubs and access networks, and will feature Charter’s Dan Cooper (moderator), along with John Ulm of Arris; and Samir Parikh, of Gainspeed, the virtual CCAP startup acquired earlier this year by Nokia.

-Energy Saving Strategies: Monday at 3:15 p.m. (100 level rooms)

This session will lay out the energy blueprint for a typical cable system, from the side of the house all the way to the headend. Led by Comcast’s Theresa Hennesy (moderator), and speakers Charles Carroll of Coppervale Enterprises and Gary Mitchinson of Virgin Media.

-SCTE/ISBE Energy 2020 Session:Tuesday at 11 a.m. (Room 121 B-C)

This 90-minute session will offer an expanded update on the initiative, promising fresh insight from Comcast, Liberty Global and suppliers such as Alpha Technologies, Arris, EnerNOC and VMware. Also to be unveiled: a new Energy Chapter Engagement Program for SCTE/ISBE chapters, and present an update on new energy management standards.

Tuned to Next-Gen Video

Though MPEG/QAM video transport will be will us for years to come, the industry’s IP video transition is in full swing, opening up opportunities for richer, more visually-pleasing formats and expansion to new types of devices.

-Advanced Encoding Meets IP Video Delivery: Monday at 2 p.m. (100 level rooms)

This session will take a deep dive on new formats such as 4K/Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range (HDR) and illustrate why distribution of those signals require more than just new encoders and now predictive analysis and adaptive bit rate technologies can get a fix on bandwidth utilization. Features Niem Dang of SCTE/ISBE (moderator), Jeremy Morrison of Deluxe OnDemand Sridhar Kunisetty of Arris.

-Delivering Video Services to Customer-Owned Devices: Monday at 3:15 p.m. (100 level rooms)

The cable industry isn’t wild about the FCC’s proposed set-top box rules, but the industry has already been extending apps to retail devices. This session will explore the feasibility (and business and technology constraints) of a customer owned and managed (COAM) device as the primary screen for video consumption.  Led by Matt Zelesko of Comcast, joined by Matt Kalman, Principal of IBB Consulting, and Raj Nair of Ericsson.

-Immersive Video Experiences:Tuesday at 10:45 a.m. (100 level rooms)

Virtual reality is still in its early days, but it’s not too early to be noodling on the bandwidth and  infrastructure impact of VR games and 360-degree video and apps. Led by Ralph Brown of CableLabs, along with Charles Cheevers, and Thierry Fautier of Harmonic.

-To Multicast or Not to Multicast: It’s No Longer the Question! (Or Is It?): Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. (100 level rooms),

Moderated by Jatin Desai of Cognizant Technology Solutions, along with Tushar Mathur of Arris, and Erica Robinson of IBB Consulting

-The Power of Color: Thursday at 12:45 p.m. (100 level rooms)

This session will delve into HDR and wide color gamut and explain what they mean MSO infrastructure and distribution. Moderated by Bill Warga, and joined by Jaclyn Pytlarz of Dolby Laboratories and Sean McCarthy of Arris.

SCTE/ISBE has also teed up two sessions dedicated to 4K/Ultra HD and High Dynamic Range on Wednesday:

-11:15 a.m. (Expo’s Innovation Theater): This “TV of the Near Future” to be moderated by Mark Francisco of Comcast and joined by Craig Todd of Dolby, Thierry Fautier of Harmonic, Jim Morrison of Rogers Communications, Alan Stein of Technicolor, and Skip Pizzi of the NAB.

-1:45 p.m. (Room 121 BC) :  A two-hour session, “The Ecosystem Landscape for HDR,” will be led by Craig Cuttner of HBO and chair of the SCTE/ISBE standard’s program’s Digital Video Subcommittee HDR Working Group, and feature a “master class” taught by Matthew Goldman of Ericsson. Also on tap: presentations by Fautier, Todd, Pizzi, and Arris’s Sean McCarthy. 

Broadband’s Next Wave

DOCSIS 3.1 is setting the stage for multi-gigabit broadband over HFC. While D3.1 is in the early deployment stages, out on the horizon are advanced wireless platforms, fiber-deeper and distributed architectures, as well as  and  Full Duplex (FDX) DOCSIS, an emerging extension that will enable symmetrical services that are usually the domain of FTTP architectures.

Don’t Miss:

-Beyond DOCSIS 3.1: FDX and More:  Monday at 3:15 p.m. (100 level rooms)

This workshop will explore Remote PHY architectures, FDX, and extended frequency ranges for DOCSIS. Led by Ken Wright of Wright Solutions (moderator), and joined by John Chapman of Cisco Systems; and Tao Ouyang of Huawei Technologies.

-Early DOCSIS 3.1 Deployments: Wednesday at 10: 15 a.m. (100 level rooms),

Led by Jay Rolls of Charter (moderator) along with Jorge Salinger of Comcast, and Jason Miller of Cisco

-Remote Architectures and Performance: Tuesday at 10:45 a.m. (100 level rooms),

Featuring Ayham Al-Banna of Arris (moderator), and Jeff Finkelstein of Cox, and Fernando Villarruel if Cisco.

-Fiber Access Architecture Strategies: Wednesday at 9 a.m.  (100 level rooms),

Featuring Jay Rolls of Charter (moderator), Dr. L. Alberto Campos of CableLabs and John Ulm of Arris.

-Wireless: Going Beyond Wi-Fi: Wednesday at 9 a.m.  (100 level rooms),

This session will examine the evolution of WiFi, concerns about coexistence of licensed and unlicensed technologies and 5G.  Led by Zoran Stakic of Shaw (moderator), and featuring  David Wright of Ruckus Wireless (now part of Brocade) and Chris Richards of Ericsson.

The network goes soft…and virtual

A big focus for cable (and this event) is the move toward software-defined networks and virtualization, a strategy that includes much less emphasis on purpose-built hardware and more cloud-powered network smarts. Here’s a representative view of what’s on tap:

-As a Service with SDN/NFV: Monday at 2 p.m. (100 level rooms),

 Rajat Ghai of Benu Networks (moderator), with Ben Bekele of Cisco, and Scott Robinson of Cox Communications.

-Virtualizing Content Delivery and CPE: Monday at 3:15 p.m. (100 level rooms),

Jeff Finkelstein of Cox (moderator), with Toerless Eckert of Cisco, and Bill Coward of Cox.

-Deploying SDN/NFV : Tuesday at 10:45 a.m. (100 level rooms),

Led by John Dickinson of Charter (moderator), and joined by Karthik Sundaresan of CableLabs and Tom Zanylo of Cisco.