Last week’s purchase of Vertasent by Motorola highlighted the growing need for edge resource managers (ERMs) for cable operators. For Motorola, it’s one more element to add to its switched digital video strategy along with its recent purchase of VOD server vendor Broadbus. Bruce Bradley, formerly with Vertasent and currently director of product management at Motorola, said current cable video systems have built in silos such as end-to-end VOD systems, end-to-end broadcast systems and end-to-end high-speed data systems. ERMs break down those silos by sharing bandwidth over universal QAMs. “What the edge resource manager does is treat QAMs as a generic, shareable resource by taking requests for bandwidth from the switched digital (SDV) system, or the video-on-demand system, or, in the near future, the modular CMTS subsystem,” Bradley said. “It allows the operator to build a generic edge architecture that allows usage and subscriber input to determine how the resources in a network are used. It (usage) could be different based on time of day, time of year or neighborhood demographics.” Mark DePietro, Motorola’s vice present of marketing, calls the ERM “the brains” of a switching architecture. Vertasent is in lab trials with one unnamed MSO, and it has also integrated its ERM with VOD server vendors, who are the largest users of narrowcast QAMs, including Arroyo, Broadbus and Concurrent. Bradley said Vertasent has also integrated with most of the widely deployed edge QAM manufacturers. “You need to adapt the various elements of your systems, so you need to introduce the management systems,” DePietro said of integrating an ERM into a system. “You need to modify the set-top boxes so they’re processing channel changes in accordance with a switched digital video protocol, and then you have to make sure the other headend elements are operating with those same management protocols. Many of the elements get touched in the system when moving from a traditional broadcast to a switched digital video implementation. One of the key elements is open interfaces between components.” Camiant deploys ERM Camiant developed and deployed its ERM for a large, unnamed U.S. cable operator about 18 months ago. Camiant CTO and founder Susie Kim Riley said developing an ERM was a natural outgrowth of Camiant’s policy server platform. “What edge resource management performs in the video space is sort of dynamic control and allocation of your QAM resources on behalf of video applications such as VOD or switched broadcast,” Kim Riley said. “To us, that is just another kind of application and a different kind of network infrastructure that we’re performing policy control over. “We think that long term this is the direction you probably need to go, and, of course, there’s movement with CableLabs and their whole M-CMTS endeavor that requires an edge resource manager as well. The idea is that you’ll have edge resource management functionality by sharing resources between the IP network, the high-speed data network and the video network. That dovetails nicely into our core line of business.” – Mike Robuck

The Daily


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