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Comcast Taps Cisco Tech Vet

Former Cisco Systems engineering exec Ken Klaer has joined Comcast in the role of senior vice president, premises technology, taking on a key role formerly held by Steve Reynolds, who left the MSO late last year to become the chief technology officer of what’s now Imagine Communications.

At Comcast, Klaer will head up a team that developes set-tops, gateways and other consumer premises devices  that power the MSO’s video, voice, data and “cross-platform applications.” Of late, much of that work has centered around the Reference Design Kit, a preintegrated software stack for IP-capable devices that’s now managed by Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Liberty Global. X1, Comcast’s next-gen video platform, is the first product to be powered by RDK-based devices.

Klaer, who is relocating to the Philadelphia area, reports to Sree Kotay, Comcast’s senior vice president and chief software architect.

Klaer hails from Cisco Systems, where he most recently was part of its Service Provider Video Technology Group, overseeing development and execution of CPE product strategies. He earned a B.S. degree in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology and is a designated APCS Certified Production & Inventory Control Manager.

“Ken brings more than 20 years of hardware and software experience to this role and is joining Comcast at an exciting and ambitious time as we step up our device ambitions in 2014, particularly with our X1 entertainment operating system,” said Kotay, in a statement. “I’m delighted Ken will be leading our technology strategies while working closely with our Product Development and Product Engineering teams to help bring innovative features and services to our customers faster than ever.”

Comcast has not yet announced how many customers are on X1, but the MSO has rolled out the platform across its footprint and says it's deploying more than 20,000 X1 boxes per day. The MSO recently went national with its deployment of a more  personalized, next-gen version of its cloud-based X1 user interface, and has set the table for several new X1-facing apps and enhancements, including a recently launched “trending” guide that uses Twitter data, a coming “Instant On Demand” service that lets customers restart select shows that are already in progress, and a mobile-to-TV personal video streaming feature.