Time to Be Creative

April 25, 2013
Carl Weinschenk Senior Editor Everybody in the industry and most people on the outside looking in understand that the cable industry has transformed itself from the one-trick pony of a few decades ago to an entire stable of technologies today. It's a good...

By Carl Weinschenk Senior Editor

Everybody in the industry and most people on the outside looking in understand that the cable industry has transformed itself from the one-trick pony of a few decades ago to an entire stable of technologies today.

It's a good idea, however, to stand back and acknowledge the transition once in a while. One person who seems to be impressed is Lars Herlitz, the co-founder and CMO of Altia Systems. The company's PanaCast product, which enables 200-degree field of vision WiFi transmissions, was acknowledged as the best new idea at the CableLabs Winter Conference last month.

Herlitz said that his initial perception - that the industry was stagnant - was wrong. "We were pleasantly surprised," he said of the reception he got in Orlando. "I had the impression everyone there recognized that the world is changing at a rapid pace, and therefore the cable industry needs to change as well. They all are looking for new services beyond just video or triple plays. I think that right now they are actively looking for new and interesting services."

The perspective of Herlitz - who said that cable operators are an important channel for PanaCast - is important. Clearly, people understand that cable operators took the phone challenge and succeeded. Herlitz seemed to be speaking of a deeper acceptance of the new for flexibility on the part of operators.

It's a good thing too. A chat with Bruce Leichtman, the president and principal analyst for the research group that bears his name, leads to the conclusion that nothing too drastic will change in the marketshare war between MSOs and telcos on voice and traditional video services. There are gains and losses around the margins, but no radical changes are likely on the core services.

What does this all mean? Simply, the premium is on creativity and agility. The key will be to support entrepreneurial ventures - in-house and out - and to find new ways to leverage the industry's great assets.

It isn't easy, but those services and families of services are out there. A few things have aligned - IPv6, the mobile explosion, the bandwidth available from DOCSIS 3.0 - to give the industry the chance to enjoy a burst of creativity.

Carl Weinschenk is the Senior Editor of Broadband Technology Report. Contact him at [email protected].

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