You’ve fallen asleep in front of the TV set. You wake up to a quiet house. Call out. No one answers. Where has your family gone?

Someday soon you may press a button on your TV set’s remote control and call up a map. That map would display tracking beacons, graphic representations of signals emanating from the cell phones of family members, pinpointing the exact geographic location of each individual.

Your TV set could become a poor-man’s mission control, enabling you to track the whereabouts of your minions without leaving the sofa or, heaven forbid, picking up a telephone.

Great for concerned parents? Sure. A little creepy? That, too.

Jack Kozik, CTO and director of IMS application architecture for Alcatel-Lucent, presented this so-called "Family Tracker" application during a panel discussion titled "Cable 3.0: Personalizing Services Beyond Web 2.0" at the recent SCTE Conference on Emerging Technologies in Los Angeles.

The panel, which also included representatives of CableLabs, Cisco, Cox Communications, Time Warner Cable, Scopus Video Networks and TellyTopia, offered insight into the challenges faced by the cable industry in an increasing competitive, heterogeneous marketplace.

Is there a convergent future beyond the Web and television? Will the two media meet and shake hands on open platforms using a common application programming interface? Will the industry grow into a community of people who define how different applications interact with one another?

While panelists offered up more questions than solutions, some novel concepts in the development of interactive, personalized TV were presented. See excerpts from some of the Cable 3.0 panelists’ papers below.

From "Delivering Competitive Services in a Hyper-Connected World" by Louise Spergel, Marty Glapa, Robert Ensor, Doug Varney, and Jack Kozik of Alcatel-Lucent:

"Service blending will become increasingly important for MSOs as new competitors start to encroach on offering video services to residential users. Many of these new competitors are using new technologies utilizing IP to the STB to create newer, slicker services. As the MSO works to retain their customers, especially those subscribing to triple play, the MSO will want the users to feel that the services they offer are truly linked. By allowing users to interact with telephones via the TV remote and by allowing appropriate IP-based messages to be sent to the TV, MSOs will be able to offer new services and end users will feel that this blended environment gives them a more powerful user experience."

From "The Semantic Web: Cable Video Finds New Meaning" by Jason Gaedtke, chief scientist for CableLabs, with Dave Brown, Kip Compton and Gil Cruz of Cisco Systems

"Traditional broadcast delivery of content is gradually giving way to personalized, on-demand, uni-cast experiences. As a result, the number of streams that must be delivered and supported by the network is increasing dramatically. Likewise, capacity planning is becoming more and more challenging, stretching the operations staff and complicating network design. New, automated capacity management and load-balancing algorithms, perhaps harnessing P2P architectures, should be researched and adopted. These demands will necessitate an evolution from one-way, broadcast video delivery networks to network architectures that support a high degree of interactivity around the delivery of video, increasingly resembling high-speed data designs."

– Jennifer Rinaldi

The Daily

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