By Marcin Godlewski, Director Product Management at Technicolor, known as Vantiva
“Rapid and cost-effective” does not mean that the adoption and implementation of these new technology-enabled strategies will be “easy.” There is a tremendous amount of complexity that requires careful collaboration among NSPs, hardware makers, software developers and SoC providers.
From a global perspective, there has never been a more exciting time to be in the cable business. Given the challenges that cable providers face — from changing consumer behaviors to disruptive competition from over-the-top providers — this may be a counter-intuitive statement.
But the fact is that the megatrends of our digital society are making network service providers (NSPs) in general — and cable providers around the world in particular — an even more indispensable player in the lives of consumers. There are three major technology developments that have unfolded in the past several months to back up this assertion.
- The enthusiastic manner with which DOCSIS 3.1 technology has been received in the industry has transformed and re-invigorated the cable sector. In response to the competitive imperative of keeping up with the performance of fiber-optic and other technologies, DOCSIS 3.1 deployments are addressing the “need for speed” by allowing cable operators to optimize utilization of spectrum to deliver the gigabit-plus access that consumers now expect.
- DOCSIS 3.1 is the first broadband technology that truly enables the adoption of open software solutions across the NSP community — which in the cable industry revolves around RDK-B. As an aside, it is important to note that Technicolor is one of the founding fathers of RDK-B. Our teams have donated a tremendous amount of intellectual property to this open initiative.
- The third major trend that is contributing to the resurgence of cable operators in the lives of subscribers revolves around the new generation of Systems-on-a-Chip (SoC) providers that have significantly elevated the memory and processing performance delivered by Customer Premises Equipment (CPE) — such as the gateways that Technicolor produces for cable operators.
As a result, cable operators embracing these three trends will have networks that are faster, more open, as well as more intelligent, innovative and integrated than ever before. It creates an opportunity to develop and deploy a new array of applications that will enhance how cable operators engage with subscribers.
The Right Network for the Times
The rise of these faster, more intelligent and more open networks are exactly what the increasingly complex and dynamic connected home environments need as consumer behaviors evolve. Consider that:
- Video services are moving to support higher-resolution technologies;
- Gaming has triggered demand for higher levels of interactivity within the home — and between the home and cloud resources;
- The use of personal devices requiring high-fidelity access to network resources is exploding; and
- The pace at which Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices have entered the home — from smart speakers to smart thermostats, security appliances, and much more — is moving faster than even the most aggressive analysts anticipated.
Taken together, it is clear that demand for bandwidth is moving in only one direction: UP. That said, ultra broadband access is not enough. Cable operators will need to have the agility and intelligence embedded into their core and home networks if they are to help consumers manage the complexity of today’s environment.
How Cable Operators Are Responding
As the implications of these trends manifest themselves globally, cable executives are focusing on intelligent CPE as the central element for subscriber engagement by developing application-based service delivery models. In North America and Europe cable operators are forging full speed ahead with these new strategies. In other markets, cable operators are carefully observing the progress of early adopters, and are positioning themselves to be “fast followers.”
The good news is that the cable operator in emerging markets will be able to leverage the foundational work that has been performed by early adopters at both a technological and business model level. The open nature of this next wave of technologies makes it possible to “lift and shift” technologies that have been proven in North American and Europe to the rest of the world in a very rapid and cost-effective manner.
The Technicolor Role
That said, “rapid and cost-effective” does not mean that the adoption and implementation of these new technology-enabled strategies will be “easy.” There is a tremendous amount of complexity that requires careful collaboration among NSPs, hardware makers, software developers and SoC providers.
Technicolor has a long tradition as an integrator of innovation in the cable industry and has been at the center of the convergence of these critical trends.
We are supporting the industry in a number of ways. We are building a community of innovators through the Technicolor HERO Partnership program which allows us to pre-integrate the most compelling technologies into our CPE platforms. This allows us to deliver differentiated products and enable our customers to be ahead of their competitors in launching new services at any time. We are also establishing “trusted advisor” relationships with our cable operators, in which Technicolor not only provides and integrates the technologies of the future, but leverages the depth and breadth of our global presence to help clients make the best strategic, operational, financial and technological decisions.