S3 Group Sets Up Philly Digs

S3 Group, maker of a multiscreen video test and validation platform called StormTest, said it’s opening up a new office in Philadelphia to support new and existing business in the region, and, specifically, to accommodate growth it's seeing in the cable sector.

S3 is pitching a tent in the City of Brotherly Love about nine months after it was tapped to manage the code base for the Reference Design Kit (RDK), the pre-integrated software stack for hybrid and IP-only set-tops and gateways now managed by Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Liberty Global.

S3, which employs about 300 people worldwide, expects to have as many seven people based in Philadelphia, said John Maguire, S3’s director of strategy and marketing, TV technology.  Dublin-based S3 also operates out of San Jose, where it’s historically focused work on Mediaroom, the IPTV platform former run by Microsoft that is now part of Ericsson.

In addition to TWC and Comcast, other North American MSOs that use S3’s StormTest products include Mediacom Communications and Videotron.

S3’s specialty is automated performance testing and monitoring service validation for video served to set-top boxes, gaming consoles, tablets, smartphones and other types of connected devices, and has been expanding to support enhanced HD and 4K image handling.

By simulating real-world conditions and automating key portions of the testing and validation process, the idea in part is to remove tedious manual testing from the processes, allowing engineers to be more productive.

TWC, which uses StormTest tools for its TWC TV app for retail devices as well as apps that run on leased set-top boxes, automation has saved money while also accelerating service velocity, Dino Starinieri, TWC’s VP of system integrating and testing, said.

And having access to automated test results that can be trusted enables test engineers to spend more time analyzing those results rather than on tasks they’re overqualified for, such as executing the tests themselves.

“I can’t have them sit in front of a TV for eight hours,” Starinieri said. Automated testing “has made us efficient and we’ve…increased velocity without increasing staff size.”