& cplSiteName &

Ex-Cisco Exec Takes Helm of iNovo

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
8/21/2012
50%
50%

Former Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) and Scientific-Atlanta Inc. exec and cable industry vet Michael Harney is leading a startup that competes with his former employer, as well as with other top cable suppliers, such as Motorola Mobility, Pace plc and Arris Group Inc. (Nasdaq: ARRS).

Harney, who left Cisco in June, has been named CEO of iNovo Broadband Inc. , a Duluth, Ga.-based company founded in 2011 that's developing a line of set-tops, Docsis-capable devices and other customer premises equipment (CPE) for the cable industry. (See iNovo Hires New CEO.)

With Harney coming on board, former iNovo CEO Jack Miller is now COO. Miller worked for Harney at Scientific Atlanta until Miller left in 2000 to help start up N2 Broadband, a video backoffice vendor that's now part of Ericsson AB (Nasdaq: ERIC). "The two of us make a very powerful combination," says Harney, who is also being reunited with several other colleagues from his days with Scientific Atlanta and Cisco. (See Tandberg Completes Merger With N2.)

Cable CPE is one of Harney's specialties. Harney, who joined Scientific-Atlanta in 1980 (Cisco acquired Scientific Atlanta in 2006), most recently headed up Cisco's Service Provider Video Technology Group, and, at Scientific Atlanta, served as corporate SVP and president of its subscriber networks group. (See Cisco to Acquire Scientific-Atlanta.)



One of Harney's near-term priorities will be to determine iNovo's future product mix. iNovo has not tipped its hand on its initial product lineup, but Miller says the early work will involve set-tops and Docsis-powered CPE. He expects the company’s first products to emerge sometime in 2012. (See Ex-Cisco Execs Form Cable Set-Top Startup .)

iNovo is tasked with taking on larger, incumbent vendors in an already-competitive CPE market. Harney's convinced that iNovo will become a strong partner to the MSOs and use its situation as a nimble newcomer to its advantage, competing not just on price but on new features and innovations that will attract attention from MSOs as they seek out a new class of cable products.

"We don't have a lot of legacy issues that would cause us to spend a lot of time and money on," he says. "We can completely focus on the next new thing and get it all correct. I wouldn't underestimate how big an advantage that is."

iNovo has raised almost $2 million in seed funding and is in active discussion with strategic investors and traditional VCs, according to Miller.

Why this matters
Harney could prove to be a key addition at iNovo, a company with a deep technical and operational understanding of the CPE ecosystem. Its employees have relationships with cable operators that go back decades.

iNovo's fresh look at cable's CPE market could be coming at an opportune time. Cable's IP video migration is well underway, creating a fresh product cycle that involves a new breed of hybrid QAM/IP gateways and IP-only devices. That's expected to open the door to new entrants and shift MSOs further away from the old Motorola/Cisco duopoly. That market is also seeing some upheaval from Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s recent acquisition of Motorola Mobility and its Home business, which is expected to be on the block as early as this fall.

For more



— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable



(9)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:23:22 PM
re: Ex-Cisco Exec Takes Helm of iNovo


It's a fair question and one they are still being rather coy about, when it comes to pricing and how they expect to compete in that regard.  Hope to learn more about that strategy soon, but one thing I'm keeping an eye on is the fact that several of their ex-SA folks have managed relationships with manufacturers such as Foxconn, Askey and Unihan. and given their long histories with the MSOs, I would not be surprised to see someone at least giving them a fair shot at backing up their claims. JB

msilbey
50%
50%
msilbey,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 5:23:22 PM
re: Ex-Cisco Exec Takes Helm of iNovo


Even with a new type of hybrid device, I still have trouble understanding how iNovo can compete with the product volumes the incumbent providers can produce. Just from a supply chain perspective, how can the company squeeze the margins down to what MSOs now expect?

DCITDave
50%
50%
DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:23:21 PM
re: Ex-Cisco Exec Takes Helm of iNovo


It seems cable compannies should give iNovo a chance just to use it as a possible second source in some areas to keep Cisco in check. Moto Home is likely to be mismanaged or ruined during its ownership changes and I expect that before long many big accounts will be left with one side of the old set-top/CPE duopoly. (And that's a monopoly, btw.)


ph

AESerm
50%
50%
AESerm,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:23:20 PM
re: Ex-Cisco Exec Takes Helm of iNovo


As per the Comcast RDK initiative, the CPE manufacturing model will continue to change, from externally driven product roadmaps to more simply delivering an orders that the MSOs determine themselves. (See also UPC Horizon box.) A nimble outsourcer might fit the bill.

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:23:19 PM
re: Ex-Cisco Exec Takes Helm of iNovo


Yep, and Comcast has been very active in trying to get adoption of RDK beyond the vendors and to other operators. Still will be interesting to see how iNovo can match up on price. Given all the experience iNovo has, one can imagine it knows all the tricks in the book, including where CPE makers try to pad. JB

pnni-1
50%
50%
pnni-1,
User Rank: Moderator
12/5/2012 | 5:23:18 PM
re: Ex-Cisco Exec Takes Helm of iNovo


But can they hit anything that is not a softball.  The cable/stb world is changing and some of those guys are the ones that did not want the change.  Unless middleware goes bye bye(which I think it should) these guys are just small peanuts. 

craigleddy
50%
50%
craigleddy,
User Rank: Blogger
12/5/2012 | 5:23:18 PM
re: Ex-Cisco Exec Takes Helm of iNovo


Good point, Jonathan. Though the pricing issues will be challenging, this "startup" possesses a cable pedigree and long industry relationships. With Moto, Cisco and others hampered by their own issues and size, iNovo might have the ability to explore new delivery models and become the "nimble outsourcer" that MSOs need to avoid getting trapped again by legacy equipment. An interesting company to watch.

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:23:18 PM
re: Ex-Cisco Exec Takes Helm of iNovo


iNovo's not saying which specific products it will offer first starting later this year, but here's its current proposed lineup of CPE that it will apparently market to MSOs, including some STBs (hybrid and IP-only) that will carry the company's Zapper brand, and some DTA devices.  A few months ago, they had some Wi-Fi small cells, but those don't appear to be there as of this writing, though the home page still mentions an outdoor WiFi hotspot.


  JB

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:23:17 PM
re: Ex-Cisco Exec Takes Helm of iNovo


There is something to be said about a group that came from the old duopoly that's trying to give this category a look with fresh eyes.... can they indeed think differently and take a new tangent on this and potentially alter the business model while also delivering something that performs at a solid price point? We'll see. 


But having all that experience could help them avoid making the old mistakes... and they are coming at it from angle of the feisty startup rather than the entrenched incumbent.  Sure, i'm giving them the benefit of the doubt, but I sense that they are very hungry to do what it takes to make a difference. It will be fun charting their progress in any case. JB

From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP’s Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it’s going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Innovations in Cable

5|26|16   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Marc Aldrich from Cisco discusses the latest in security, the evolution and momentum for CCAP and what the industry will be seeing next from Cisco.
LRTV Documentaries
Leading Lights 2016 Highlights

5|25|16   |   02:26   |   (1) comment


Some of the high points from this year's Leading Lights awards dinner at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2016

5|23|16   |   05:43   |   (0) comments


Find out who has been welcomed into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE TM Forum Highlights

5|23|16   |     |   (0) comments


ZTE showcased its new ICT solutions at TM Forum in Nice.
LRTV Interviews
Gamma's MD on the Emergence of UC2

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Gamma Communications Managing Director David Macfarlane believes the unified communications (UC) market has reached a tipping point.
LRTV Custom TV
The Ultimate 5-Minute Guide to Digital Customer Engagement

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this short video, you will hear all about how Digital Customer Engagement is the key to meeting customer expectations, keeping them happy, and maximizing revenue. VP Product & Marketing at Pontis, Ofer Razon, breaks down for us the five essential capabilities for successful Digital Customer Engagement. Don’t miss!
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 1 – NFV Use Cases Get Real

5|19|16   |   05:57   |   (0) comments


Consensus is building around the key use cases for NFV, including managed IP services at the network edge and on customer premises, which can generate new revenues from enterprises/SMBs and consumers; Evolved Packet Core to support LTE migration; and adjacent technologies, such as TAS and IMS, to support VoLTE and next-generation charging and policy control ...
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 3

5|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang discusses the challenges of operational transformation and how Nokia helps its customers. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Why UC Is In Demand

5|17|16   |   04:12   |   (1) comment


Andrew Edison, Level 3's senior VP of sales, EMEA region, talks about the drivers of growth in the unified communications services market.
LRTV Custom TV
ARM's OPNFV Action

5|17|16   |     |   (0) comments


At the ARM booth at MWC 2016, Joe Kidder and Bob Monkman speak to Light Reading about OPNFV and their upcoming action.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 2

5|16|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang gives advice to service providers on how to move to NFV. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Interoute CTO on NFV's Maturity

5|13|16   |   06:46   |   (1) comment


Matt Finnie, CTO at international operator Interoute, explains how NFV has made life easier in terms of logistics and how Interoute can now enable a 'software-defined moment' for its customers.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
December 6-8, 2016,
June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
DT: Telcos Must Escape Vendor Prison
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/24/2016
AT&T to Start 5G 'Friendly' Trial by 2016 End
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/24/2016
Cisco's Patel Hails 'Microculture' Successes
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/26/2016
Cable Is Eyeing Its Retail Options
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/25/2016
AT&T's Margaret Chiosi Retires
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 5/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.