Canoe Connects 'Innovation Lab' To CableLabs Test Systems

Canoe Ventures announced that it has connected its new Innovation Lab in the Denver area with CableLabs' AdLab, in a project aimed at testing prototypes of applications working across all six cable operator members' systems.

The purpose of the Canoe-CableLabs hookup is to be able to prototype and evaluate the technologies required for an end-to-end infrastructure based on SCTE 130 standards for placing ads in a multivendor environment. The labs environment emulates a Canoe-hosted national network ad decisions system capable of interacting with distributed cable operator systems.

"What we have in microcosm is a national infrastructure prototype -- Canoe talking to multiple MSO test equipment," Canoe chief technology officer Arthur Orduña said.

Canoe, formed in 2008 by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications, Charter Communications, Cablevision Systems and Bright House Networks, is expecting to launch its first product sometime in the second quarter of 2010: a request for information (RFI) interactive service that will let viewers request coupons, brochures or product samples in the mail.

The RFI product will be launched with one cable network, according to Canoe chief operating officer Kathy Timko; she declined to identify the programmer.

Canoe and CableLabs said the prototype-only environment was developed with the participation of Cisco Systems, OpenTV, Ericsson, Motorola and This Technology LLC. Canoe and CableLabs plan to work with other SCTE 130, OpenCable and EBIF-compliant technology and service providers for additional testing and prototyping projects moving forward.

"The Innovation Lab is to test for the roadmap products for 2011 and beyond," Orduña said. "It also allows us to evaluate and test third-party applications in dedicated way."

Canoe and CableLabs demonstrated the initial test environment at the CableLabs Winter Conference this past week in Denver.

Canoe's lab is located in space leased from the Comcast Media Center, at the CMC's building in Centennial, Colo., while CableLabs is nearby in Louisville. Canoe also conducts an engineering, production and testing for current products that are being deployed in the field, Orduña said.

In the Canoe Innovations Lab, both OpenTV and Ericsson provided SCTE-130 campaign management systems for national networks and MSOs, respectively, according to Paul Woidke, OpenTV's senior vice president and general manager for advanced advertising and chairman of SCTE's DVS Working Group 5.

Those campaign managers work together via Cisco's SCTE-130 ad router/broker and This Technology's advertising space policy server. Those systems in turn work with the Cisco and Motorola VOD servers at CableLabs, making it possible to extend the local and national ad sales and delivery system to other platforms, Woidke said.

In November, CableLabs -- together with the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers -- hosted an SCTE 130 interop event at CableLabs with 24 companies participating.