Paving the Road to the Digital Home

9:00 AM -- At the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) Cable-Tec Expo last year and the ANGA Cable trade fair in Europe just last month, there was much talk about how complexity is stalling adoption of home networking in Europe. Among other things, there has been talk of how operators are relying more on headends than on gateways for delivery of multi-screen content, how the use of the cable plant and residential equipment is less efficient than desired, and how consumers are sometimes seen as confused and even "alienated."

But let's not forget that home networking -- and home services, in general -- are still in the early stages of deployment. We would do well to take a long view of networking and other digital home services as a growing market area that ultimately will meet the diverse needs of consumers, generate new layers of revenue for our industry and create that sought-after "stickiness" that bonds consumers with cable system operators.

The roadmap to digital home success is not a simple one, but we're confident that it will be worth the journey. Among the issues: Engineers and technicians need to weed through a thicket of available architectures to optimize services to fixed and wireless devices: they will need to keep current with an ever-increasing stream of new devices; and ensure that the services that the consumer is purchasing work properly, reliably and simply.

Thankfully, solutions are on the horizon. Some of the industry's leading experts on digital home solutions will be coming together in October to address those issues and others at a special symposium entitled "The Digital Home: Preparing For The Future" Scheduled for Oct. 16 -- just prior to the start of SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in Orlando -- the all-day event will be jam-packed with insights that will help the industry to deliver and monetize current and next-generation home services and support the underlying architectures.

Sessions are being planned on next-generation home architectures; home networking; Wi-Fi; media gateways; and customer-owned equipment. We'll also be exploring the new frontier of home security and home automation and the challenges and opportunities that operators face when they go beyond the video, voice and data bundle, as well as a customer service and service assurance session that will discuss self-diagnosis and resolution tools, new methodologies for measuring customer service and new skills that are needed from technicians to ensure optimal customer satisfaction. More information on both the Digital Home Symposium and SCTE Cable-Tec Expo are available here.

My belief is that for an industry that has deployed increasingly complex services, the digital home, while challenging, is just one more hurdle for us to clear. It's our hope that our symposium on Oct. 16 will help speed the way to digital home services as an important part of cable operators' bundles, and a contributor to their revenue streams.

— Marty Davidson, Vice President, Engineering and Network Operations, SCTE

This is the latest installment of "Technically Speaking with SCTE," a monthly blog of interviews and columns to provide Light Reading Cable readers with timely updates on the SCTE's initiatives and activities.

craigleddy 12/5/2012 | 5:28:30 PM
re: Paving the Road to the Digital Home

As Marty points out, cable operators increasingly are creating a whole-home network that enables customers to route media around their home, take advantage of broadband-connected devices and use cable broadband for home security and automation services.

We've got a Heavy Reading Cable Insider report coming out on this topic soon. Much of the challenge of creating a Smart Home lies with the technical crowd that SCTE serves, so this SCTE symposium will be well timed.   

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