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TM Forum Applies Cable Focus

The TM Forum , an organization dedicated to operational and business management issues, has bolstered its cable strategy by creating an interest group tailored specifically for that industry.

The new Cable Interest Group (CIG) is made up of cable operators from Europe and the United States, including Liberty Global Inc. (Nasdaq: LBTY), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), and Cox Communications Inc. Notably absent from the TM Forum's extensive membership list is Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK).

One of CIG's goals is to develop best practices for OSS- and BSS-related elements, including data management, revenue assurance, and the management of advertising, interactive services, and "personalized content."

More specifically, the new cable unit will seek the exchanging of standards and best practices to drive efficiency and relieve pressures on OSS "bottlenecks," says Kelly Anderson, who has been tapped to head the cable sector for the TM Forum.

The TM Forum and the CIG will complement, rather than compete with, spec work developed at CableLabs , the Louisville, Colo.-based R&D house for the North American cable industry.

While CableLabs tends to work on areas such as equipment interoperability and interfaces, the CIG will look to streamline how the services themselves are managed, Anderson explains.

Although advertising will be an area of focus for the CIG, it does not specifically relate to "Canoe," the codename for an advanced ad-related project being helmed by CableLabs. (See Cable's 'Canoe' RFI Paddles Toward Deadline.)

But the TM Forum and CableLabs aren't exactly strangers. The IPDR.org (Internet Protocol Detail Record Organization) , now part of the TM Forum, announced in January that CableLabs had adopted the IPDR Streaming Protocol for the 1.1 version of the OpenCable Platform. OpenCable will use the protocol to encode and transmit data to collection systems managed by cable operators. (See CableLabs Adopts IPDR.)

The announcement of the CIG comes just ahead of a special set of cable-focused discussions and events at the Management World Americas confab, set for November 4-8, 2007, in Dallas. Time Warner Cable chief technology officer Mike LaJoe is among the event's scheduled speakers.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

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