Light Reading
Deciding that it's time to leave OCAP behind, the cable industry is increasingly turning to RDK to take its place.

Bye Bye OCAP, Hello RDK

Mari Silbey
4/4/2014
50%
50%

Put the final nails in the coffin for OpenCable Application Platform (OCAP), the cable industry's one-time platform for next-gen video services.

Steve Calzone, director of video applications development for Cox Communications Inc. , threw a handful of dirt on OCAP's grave at a recent Light Reading conference. Speaking on one of the day's panels, he declared, "It's time to leave it [OCAP] behind."

Calzone was careful to clarify that Cox won't abandon customers with OCAP equipment, but he did emphasize the need for a new development platform. "That looks like RDK," said Calzone, although Cox is still in the evaluation phase with the Reference Design Kit and hasn't yet signed on to be an official licensee of the technology. (See All the Way With RDK?)

RDK has gained significant momentum over the last year, and Calzone's co-panelists for the RDK Revolution session at the Light Reading Cable Next-Gen Strategies & Technologies event in Denver last week mostly sang its praises. The pre-integrated software bundle provides an open-source code base that allows cable operators to standardize certain elements of the set-top or gateway experience in the home, but also easily customize the applications that ride on top. Cable operators can choose different windowing platforms, user interface frameworks, and more, all implemented on the RDK stack.

Jaison Dolvane, president and CEO of Espial Group Inc. , the on-demand TV software company, called RDK and OCAP "fundamentally different" because RDK doesn't extend to the application layer the way OCAP was designed to do. In fact, said Dolvane, "I think if RDK goes into the application layer… I fear it will break."

Calzone agreed, saying he thinks Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) has done a good job of maintaining a bring-your-own-application approach. Nicholas Nielsen, principal architect at Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), said his company is hoping to learn a lot from how Comcast continues to roll out its new HTML5 guide across X1 RDK boxes. Time Warner Cable, which is a partner along with Comcast and Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY) in RDK Management LLC , is also developing an HTML5 platform for devices it leases to subscribers. (See Liberty Global Joins Team RDK .)

In addition to flexibility, another important element of RDK is the shared code base and a growing development community. Conrad Clemson, vice president of business development at Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO), said that his company plans to be a good RDK partner, and that Cisco will have significant RDK code contributions to announce within the next 90 days.

Smaller cable operators will depend on the work that both vendors like Cisco and larger providers do to productize certain RDK offerings. As Espial's Dolvane pointed out, small operators don't have the scale to start major development projects and will look to others in the industry to provide more out-of-the-box solutions that they can innovate on only at the uppermost application level.

Bob Hunt, principal and strategic advisor at BroadbandBuzz, noted that RDK could ultimately lead to application-based buying of content, where service providers have an opportunity to pick up targeted content packages as TV apps. That approach could have implications for à la carte services in the future.

Regardless of where RDK ends up, there seems a great deal of industry enthusiasm for the platform that never existed in quite the same way for OCAP. The consensus is that RDK will lower the friction for development rather than slow it down. Cisco's Clemson may have summed it up best, "RDK is almost like anti-middleware."

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
JonathanT231
50%
50%
JonathanT231,
User Rank: Light Beer
4/6/2014 | 9:35:56 PM
few tears for OCAP
Aptly noted lack of industry enthusiasm for OCAP, which derived from an FCC-mandated effort to enable portability of services - hence removable security - for which where was never much consumer demand. Industry/Comcast-led RDK is something else entirely. Solving actual problems with real openness. 'Anti-middleware' - that's a good one, Conrad.
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (1) comment


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
LRTV Documentaries
AT&T's New Security Strategy

12|10|14   |   02:36   |   (1) comment


AT&T's Chief Security Officer Ed Amoroso explains how his company is wrapping virtual security layers around micro network domains.
LRTV Documentaries
2020 Vision: A First View

12|9|14   |   02:25   |   (3) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Iceland, unique Heavy Reading research shows that comms service providers are optimistic about the next five or so years.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
Vodafone to Ride T-Mobile Back Into US
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/12/2014
Cisco Makes Big Analytics Push
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 12/11/2014
Gardner's Departure a Cautionary Tale
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 12/12/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive