Leading Lights 2018 Finalists: Most Innovative Cable/Video Product or Service

Harmonic – VOS SW Cluster
Like Evolution Digital, Harmonic Inc. (Nasdaq: HLIT) has OTT video heavily on its mind these days. With the media landscape evolving rapidly, the veteran video vendor is focusing on how to help service and content providers bring new IPTV and OTT services to market faster and more efficiently.

That's the driving force behind Harmonic's new VOS SW Cluster, which has already been deployed by a leading telecom service provider in the Asia-Pacific region. VOS SW Cluster is designed to be "a comprehensive solution" that embeds media processing -- including ingest, playout, compression, encryption, packaging and origin -- with support for both cloud and bare metal compute environments. The encoding and transcoding functionality on VOS SW Cluster is powered by Harmonic's PURE Compression Engine, which provides support for a variety of formats, codecs and encoding schemes.

According to Harmonic, what's especially striking about VOS SW Cluster is that it's a totally infrastructure-independent media processing application. This means that operators can easily migrate back and forth between bare metal datacenter computing, public clouds and private clouds. Moreover, because it's software-based, the media workflow is always up-to-date, enabling operators to launch services faster, scale up efficiently and ensure consistent functionality across all environments. Plus, VOS SW Cluster reduces the number of devices required to build out a broadcast transmission chain.

Huawei – Huawei Envision Video platform
Although Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd may be running into lots of regulatory hurdles gaining traction in the US and other markets these days, that hasn't stopped it from bringing new, innovative products to market for service providers in the rest of the world. Case in point is Huawei's Envision Video Platform, which now has over 140 commercial deployments globally with 160 million registered subscribers.

Envision is Huawei’s converged, unified solution for managing and delivering content from multiple platforms, including fixed-broadband (FBB), mobile-broadband (MBB), cable and OTT. It's designed to ensures a consistent viewer experience -- regardless of device, location or time of day -- for all types of content and applications.

Huawei contends that Envision Video stands out from the competition in four ways – by guaranteeing the highest level of consumer experience, offering AI-powered analytics for monetization and optimization, providing agile maintenance through Envision’s iSEE intelligent maintenance software, and supporting an open architecture that enables fast integration of third-party components for fast scaling. Many of its customers apparently agree, since it boasts deployments with such major providers as Deutsche Telekom, Turkcell TV, Altibox IPTV, China Mobile and China Telecom Sichuan.

Nokia – virtualized Distributed Access Architecture
Cable operators are rallying around the idea that a Distributed Access Architecture (DAA) approach offers the best available solution to boost throughput, reduce costs and accelerate new service delivery on their hybrid fiber-coax (HFC) networks. But which type of DAA approach to deploy? Up to now, operators have had to pick between at least two DAA approaches -- Remote-PHY (R-PHY) and Remote-MACPHY (R-MACPHY) – and hope for the best.

But no longer are cable operators so limited and locked in. Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) bills its virtualized Distributed Access Architecture (vDAA) product as the "industry's first and only" cable access solution that provides the flexibility to deploy both R-PHY and R-MACPHY devices within the same network and easily switch from one to the other based on network requirements and strategic direction. Nokia’s vDAA features: a fully virtualized cable modem termination system (CMTS), including the DOCSIS MAC; a Universal Node that can operate as either an R-PHY or R-MACPHY device with no physical change to the node and easy switching from one mode to the other through a simple software change; and a next-gen Unified Cable Access solution that provides simultaneous support for R-PHY and R-MACPHY, as well as 10G EPON (DPoE) access solutions, across a single network infrastructure.

After shocking the cable world with its first vDAA deployment with WideOpenWest (WOW) last year, Nokia has made considerable progress. The company now boasts trials and pilot deployments with at least three or four other MSOs in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia.

Can you guess who the winner is? Join us in Austin in two weeks and find out. Or stay tuned here.

— Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, Light Reading

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