In an unusual circumstance, two small firms tied for best new product demo at last week's CableLabs summer conference. The network technology company Gainspeed and the immersive display creator Avegant both took top honors in the organization's semi-annual "Innovation Showcase" competition, according to CableLabs principal architect Clarke Stevens.
The joint winners at the CableLabs event represent the cable industry's current dual focus on infrastructure efficiency and user interface improvement. Gainspeed is promoting technology for developing distributed cable access architectures. The company's strategy includes virtualizing the Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) and pushing all DOCSIS functions deeper into the cable network. The advantage of this approach is that it limits the part of the access network dependent on cable-specific technology. (See Is CCAP Already Out of Date?)
Gainspeed remained in stealth mode for the better part of a year, but officially announced a Virtual CCAP solution in partnership with Juniper Networks Inc. (NYSE: JNPR) in the spring. The company has also received vocal support from several cable operators in recent months, including Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK).
Avegant deals with an entirely different part of the cable experience. The consumer electronics company has produced a headset product called Glyph that projects video imagery directly into a user's eyes. The goal with the technology is to create a natural and immersive visual experience without any of the headaches of 3D TV.
One reporter for The Verge described the experience as "like watching an 80-inch TV." The Avegant headset also doubles as a high-performance audio system. The Glyph is expected to ship in 2015. (See TV UIs In the Frame at CableLabs Conference.)
— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading