& 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
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
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 Interviews
No Stopping Cable's Ethernet Gains

12|9|16   |     |   (0) comments


Vertical Systems' Erin Dunne explains why US cable operators, which now command a record-high 26% of the Ethernet market, will keep boosting their share.
LRTV Interviews
Fixing IoT Security Is an Ecosystem Challenge

12|9|16   |   05:34   |   (1) comment


Level 3 Communications' Chief Security Officer Dale Drew says service providers, manufacturers and even consumers must combine to halt massive DDoS attacks using IoT devices in botnets. The solution he has in mind includes reputation-based routing by the service provider but also more secure endpoint devices and greater consumer awareness.
LRTV Interviews
Cox Clears $2B in Business Revenue

12|8|16   |     |   (0) comments


Cox's Jeff Breaux discusses how the third-largest US MSO will reach the $2 billion revenue mark this year and plans to hit $3 billion by 2021
LRTV Interviews
Can Cable Climb Upmarket?

12|7|16   |     |   (0) comments


Carol Wilson and Alan Breznick assess cable's prospects for winning more enterprises in a landscape rocked by corporate M&A activity.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
TalkTalk Exec: Find Your North Star at Work

12|7|16   |   3:38   |   (1) comment


Women need to find their purpose, a professional North Star, and create a personal board for themselves, according to Alex Tempest, director of partners at TalkTalk Business.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon: Beware Unknown Unknowns

12|7|16   |   04:58   |   (0) comments


Chris Novak, director of the Verizon Enterprise Solutions Risk Team, explains that enterprises who don't conduct a thorough audit of their assets often leave some things unprotected because they don't know they exist. Many times these unprotected assets are part of corporate M&A activity but left unshielded they can become a hacker's playground, he tells Light ...
LRTV Interviews
ETSI's CTO Talks NFV, 5G & NGP

12|5|16   |   09:45   |   (0) comments


Adrian Scrase, CTO at standards body ETSI, talks about the various initiatives and specifications developments related to NFV, 5G and NGP (next-generation protocols) that will underpin next-gen networks.
Women in Comms Introduction Videos
Korn Ferry Consultant: How to Find, Cultivate & Be the Best Talent

11|30|16   |   4:10   |   (2) comments


Erin Callaghan, a managing consultant for Korn Ferry Futurestep, shares strategies for companies to improve how they recruit and for women to ensure they don't get lost in the pipeline.
LRTV Custom TV
We Can Make the World More Sustainable

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


GeSI is a global e-Sustainability Initiative organization bringing together 40 big multinational companies around the world. According to GeSI's report, information and communication technology can make the world more sustainable. Luis Neves, chairman of GeSI, shared with us his opinion at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
Finding a New Way to Engage Customers & Drive Revenue

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Mobile revenues are declining. Digicel, a player in the Caribbean telecommunications/entertainment space, has found a new way to engage customers and drive revenue. John Quinn, CTO of Digicel, shared with us its story at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016)
LRTV Custom TV
Do You Really Need Gigabit Infrastructure?

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


Altibox is the biggest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) player and the largest provider of video and TV in Norway. They started out with zero customers in 2002. Now they have close to half a million households and companies attached to their FTTH business. Nils Arne, CEO of Altibox shared with us their story and insight on 5G at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
LRTV Custom TV
BTís Openreach Strategy & Its Updates in 2016

11|29|16   |     |   (0) comments


A lot of developments at Openreach this year in terms of strategy and planned investments. Peter Bell, CIO of Openreach BT, shared with us the updates of Openreach at Ultra-broadband Forum (UBBF2016).
Upcoming Live Events
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Cable Nodes Becoming a Choke Point
Brian Santo, Senior editor, Test & Measurement / Components, Light Reading, 12/5/2016
Consolidated Snaps Up Fairpoint for $1.5B
Iain Morris, News Editor, 12/5/2016
Small Arctic ISP Caches Netflix in New Way
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 12/7/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Eyal Waldman, CEO of Mellanox Technologies, speaks to Steve Saunders, CEO of Light Reading, for an exclusive interview about the 100 GB cable challenge, cybersecurity and much more.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
A Mobile Safari Click Here
Literally.
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Even when there's a strong pipeline of female talent in the comms industry, it tends to leak all the way to the top. McKinsey & Company says women experience pipeline leakage at three primary points: being unable to enter, being stuck in the middle or being locked out of the top. Each pipeline pain point presents its own challenges, but also opportunities to stop the leak. Wireless operator Sprint is making a conscious effort to improve its own pipeline from new recruits to the C-suite, and it wants the rest of the industry to do the same. In this Women in Comms radio show, WiC Board Member and Sprint Vice President of Enterprise Sales Nelly Pitocco will give us her take on the industry's pipeline challenges. Pitocco, who joined Sprint in May and has spent 20 years in the comms industry, will also offer solutions, share how Sprint is tackling the challenge within its own organization and take your questions live on air.