While the buzzwords are slightly different – multi-services platform, fused services, etc. – they all address the idea that service providers must “harness” consumer electronics devices and manage the complexity of an anywhere, anytime platform.
The general session Engineering the Extensible Network yesterday morning demonstrated how cable operators can both leverage existing infrastructure and also take advantage of new platforms such as PacketCable 2.0 to satisfy particularly digital natives’ desire for content across devices.
Operators can utilize their on-demand infrastructure and existing back-office applications for multi-platform TV, said Michael Adams, vice president, application software strategy, Tandberg Television.
“The back office is that software glue that holds everything together,” Adams said. It is a place where information about subscribers and assets is housed and provides a centralized point for session setup and tear-down.
“A single back office can manage the provisioning, playback and billing of an on-demand asset across all three screens (TV, PC, mobile) seamlessly,” Adams explained in a related paper. “This is achieved by making the back office device aware.”
PacketCable 2.0 will play a role in allowing operators to provide fused services, said Mark Tuberis, CTO of Cedar Point Communications. “(It) comes with very key assets that can be deployed without some kind of big bang.”
He was referring to the notion of a home subscriber server, which can store all subscriber data, allowing a customer to set up preferences in one place for use on multiple devices in and out of the home. PacketCable 2.0 also will help with identity management and authentication as well as the notion of presence, which helps determine if a contact is reachable and how.
“It’s a Wild West with the number of IP-enabled endpoints making their way into the home,” Tuberis said. “We shouldn’t dictate what devices customers put in the home, but we need to help them manage that home network.”
An effective user interface is also important. “PacketCable 2.0 and the services we envision are only as good as the user interface,” Tuberis said, suggesting high-def icons with a dimension and an interface that allows the user to see the response very quickly.
Tuberis also said he believes the cable industry should embrace high-def voice. “(There are) many instances with the global economy and the fact that we interact with non-native speakers, (where) having the ability to have clearer sound will improve intelligibility.”
Mike Hayashi, executive vice president of Time Warner Cable, said he “loved” the concept of HD voice and video and the fusing of telecom features with video that Tuberis suggested, but wanted to know, “Why don’t I have this stuff deployed?”
“Trying to do real-time transcoding so ‘any to any’ can be provided – which is what (we) are trying to do with fused – is something the whole industry has to work on,” Tuberis said.
– Monta Monaco Hernon