'New’ Was the Word at Cable-Tech Expo

The following is a recap by Society of Cable & Telecommunications Engineers CEO John Clark of last week’s Cable-Tec Expo 2004 in Orlando, Fla.

Perhaps no word in any language intrigues us humans more, perks us up more, and attracts our eyes and ears more than the word new. Last Thursday morning in Orlando, as the sun splashed its still-soft rays over the lush central Florida landscape, specifically the Orange County Convention Center and hotel complex, home to SCTE’s Cable-Tec Expo 2004, another new day of Expo week was dawning. I was struck with a fresh awareness that the day ahead held new possibilities for SCTE members as the exhibit hall prepared for its biggest day of operation, and the educational workshop rooms were readied for the first of their two big days.


It had delighted me to be able to share the news Wednesday morning with the conference audience that I had signed formal papers the evening before establishing a new partnership between SCTE and NCTI, a deal that we are very excited about.

The intended outcome of the agreement is to raise the perceived value of SCTE certification programs in the industry, while providing a clearer route for certification preparation.

The agreement spells out the need to develop an alignment plan for relating NCTI courseware to SCTE certification programs and, in general, clarifies the roles of each organization and the relationship between the two groups.


What a terrific tone Steve Silva set in his brief address at the start of the conference. Silva — executive vice president of business development for Comcast Cable Communications Inc. — served as program chair for this year’s Expo. His talk described the essence of what it means to be an SCTE member at the organization’s flagship conference.

“I can’t help but think over the next several days what conversation, what meeting, will have an idea that’s born that can be the catalyst for the next big product,” said Silva.

What do you need to compete to win? Silva says if you can’t find it, then invent it. He noted that one analyst has reported that last year $1.7 billion was spent on research and development in the cable television industry.

He noted that the show provides a fertile climate of resources, innovation, and creativity, and said that SCTE — because of its mission of professional development, information, and standards — deserves the industry’s support and endorsement.


Expo 2004 gave us the chance to formally spread the news about three new products that make it more meaningful than ever for engineers, technicians, and managers to be SCTE members. One is SCTE InfoScope, another is SCTE Live Learning, and the third is the Advanced VoIP Deployment Symposium.

Each uses cutting-edge means to deliver cutting-edge information. InfoScope is a new qualified broadband search engine; Live Learning is a new series of real-time, Web-based, interactive seminars; and the symposium is a one-day submersion into the world of voice-over-Internet protocol to take place Sept. 14 in Philadelphia.


Diversity continues to be an important facet of what SCTE is all about, and we’ve made that apparent this week at the Expo in two, you’ve got it, new ways.

New — the Supplier Diversity Connection, a bonus learning session to help participants cultivate diverse vendor relationships, sponsored by Cox Communications Inc. and CommScope Inc.

SCTE and the Walter Kaitz Foundation presented this special program for women- and minority-owned suppliers. The room was packed — standing room only — as participants discussed the “how to” of creating beneficial partnerships to further supplier diversity for their companies.

I thank moderator Payne Brown, vice president of strategic initiatives for Comcast Corp., and the panel of Sherryl Love, vice president of materials management for Cox; Paula McGuinness, vice president of ARIA Technologies Inc.; Richard Coleman, president and CEO of NextGEN; and Jim Hughes, senior vice president of CommScope for their groundbreaking participation in this event at Expo.

New — under the SCTE Operación Español banner, a standalone Spanish-language SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2004 Proceedings Manual. And this show allowed us to once again deliver select learning opportunities with simultaneous Spanish translation.


A number of new products — ranging from technology enhancements such as SeaChange International Inc.’s HDTV enhancements for its widely deployed video-on-demand system to new field service equipment, such as Acterna’s new Digital Service Activation Meter (DSAM) 3500 and 3600 models — were showcased for the first time on the exhibit floor. We also had a great turn out of new first-time exhibitors — 71 in total. Also, total exhibits were up 5.3% for a total of 375 exhibitors.

As always, Expo delivered on its promise of all-engineering, all-the-time in a hands-on, collaborative environment to approximately 10,300 attendees.

We are thrilled to have been the host for such an active engineering community. We greatly appreciate the presence of all the exhibitors and attendees at our show. And thanks to everyone at Bright House Networks Orlando for all of their help in bringing the new digital services to the Expo show floor. They were exceptional to work with, and we appreciate their support.

We’re already hot on the case to see what SCTE can do to keep things new in the year ahead leading up to Expo 2005 in San Antonio, Texas, June 14–17.