I am delighted to serve as the 2005 Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers Cable-Tec Expo Program Subcommittee chair. It’s a privilege to take the pulse of the engineering side of the cable telecommunications industry and help organize workshops to make our industry as healthy and successful as it can be. For months, we have been putting together an outstanding and informative program. The digital transformation continues to change the content distribution model. The pace of innovation is swift and competition robust. We need to continue to create new products and distribution technology to bring our customers the very best in entertainment, information and communication. We are eagerly examining the challenges and opportunities of convergence of telecom, information technology (IT), consumer electronics and cable. Opinions vary on consumer demands, new business models and visions for getting there—but what’s the right technology today, and where should we invest for tomorrow? We respond to some of these areas in the here-and-now at Expo with almost 400 exhibitors and more than 20 technical workshops. In the call for papers this year, abstracts were required to be tailored for workshops and provide real-world tools that attendees could apply to their everyday work. Preference was given to presenters offering a hands-on, interactive approach with details from trials outlining what works and what doesn’t. Theory is important and inevitably gets weaved into Expo presentations. But the prime thrust is practical engineering solutions that provide products and services that will delight our customers and continue the dynamic growth of our industry. That’s what it’s all about. How can we leverage technology and operational excellence to achieve these goals? Here is a preview of some of the various workshops at Expo. (The full program had not been finalized at press time.)

  • Wireless technology applications and case studies: What opportunities does this rapidly changing technology present?
  • Mobility: Our customers clearly value mobility—how will we respond?
  • Preventive maintenance best practices: troubleshooting Internet protocol (IP) networks, Moving Pictures Experts Group (MPEG), Data Over Cable Service Interface Specification (DOCSIS) and PacketCable
  • The converging IP network: voice, video and data over a single IP network
  • Making the triple-play competitive for small systems: What challenges do smaller systems face in offering this compelling bundle?
  • Voice over IP (VoIP) and PacketCable: What impact will VoIP have on the existing network, and what challenges and successes are MSOs experiencing in launched areas?
  • Network security: how to avoid becoming a target
  • Bandwidth management: maximizing available bandwidth for multiple services
  • Home networking: exploring additions to the CableHome specification
  • Digital networks: What are the key design decisions for your system?
  • Cable-Tec Expo 2005 will showcase the newest advancements on this path toward convergence, digital and mobility. Show attendance is expected to top 10,000, so we’re anticipating heavy workshop attendance. If you haven’t already signed up to attend, be sure to do so. You can get all the details and register at www.scte.org. I’ll see you in San Antonio. Mike LaJoie is executive vice president and CTO of Time Warner Cable. Reach him at mike.lajoie@twcable.com.

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