It was about when SCTE President and CEO Mark Dzuban referred to "hysteresis" in our interview that I realized the Society’s leadership had shifted definitively back toward the technical end of the spectrum.

Dzuban has a patent dating back to his early work at Vikoa that relates to the use of ferrites in broadband networks. As he explained, one attractive quality of ferrites is hysteresis, or the ability to be in several states, regardless of inputs.

This intimate familiarity with a material essential to one of the industry’s linchpins – the humble splitter, with its ferrite cores – is part of a much larger portfolio of experience and knowledge that he brings with him into this important role.

The SCTE itself exhibits a kind of hysteresis, or path-dependence, by simultaneously operating at multiple states best suited to its several constituencies: the standards community; technicians; cable operator engineers and strategists; the multifaceted vendor community; other industry bodies, such as CableLabs, NCTA, CTAM; corporate C-suites; et al.

One can further segment each of these groups, including the cable operators themselves. To that end, it was encouraging to hear Dzuban address members of the National Cable Television Cooperative at the group’s Winter Educational Conference in February.

Dzuban not only bonded with this key group of smaller operators, but also displayed the kind of mental flexibility requisite to running a "multi-state" organization, especially in his eagerness to embrace and focus on IP networking technologies. "My brain is still 29," Dzuban told attendees. "That’s cable DNA."

One category that Dzuban has mentioned in several public comments is IMS (IP multimedia subsystem). "We’re on the cusp of a huge technological change," he said to the NCTC audience in Charlotte. "How do we build an army to support it?"

That IMS could be shifting from design to deployment to operations may startle some who have tracked several cycles of IMS hype and disillusionment. Dzuban’s good relations with the industry’s CTOs lend additional weight to any of his comments. In this case, it’s true: There is a shift afoot.

Jonathan Tombes

The Daily


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