There was a lot of brainpower on the stage at the SCTE’s "Meet the Chief Architects" session at its Emerging Technologies conference last Friday. So it seemed a bit amazing when these engineering leaders said they look forward to working with the new generation of technologists who understand the Internet protocol (IP) "cloud" even better.

Cable operators are hiring young graduates who hold degrees that didn’t even exist a few years ago, said Matt Bell, VP of IP engineering and development at Charter. The new breed has credentials such as Masters in Social Networking and Doctorate in Internet Search, said Bell.

"I see the respect for the IT folks coming into this community," said panel moderator Mark Dzuban, president and CEO of the SCTE. Dzuban has expressed eagerness to embrace IP networking technologies. (For more, click here.)

Many of these networking technologies impact the back office.

"The whole back office, content management piece is very critical," said Weidong Mao, senior fellow at Comcast’s Office of the CTO. "I see there’s a transformation of thinking in the content delivery aspect. Traditionally, we look at our systems as very isolated, (but) the cloud is not just a headend."

With Time Warner’s announcement of TV Everywhere, the company’s cable division will have to quickly develop support systems to identify cable subscribers who are entitled to watch their video content on the Web. (For more, click here.)

Howard Pfeffer, group VP broadband engineering and technology with Time Warner Cable, said his group will focus on entitlement questions. "Authentication is a crucial element to our success," said Pfeffer.

Much of the panel’s discussion focused on IP, and there seemed to be some uncertainty how tru2way would fit into the scheme of things.

Mao said tru2way is useful for traditional cable video, but many applications "put logic in the cloud, as opposed to tru2way. I do see (an) intersect in a hybrid model moving forward," he added.

Mao joked that he didn’t have a crystal ball. "I don’t know what’s the killer app, but we want to build the platform to support it if it comes along. That’s why moving to an IP-based platform is very important."

– Linda Hardesty

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