There’s always a lot going on at Expo, and last week’s confab in Philly was no exception. Here’s a quick recap of some of the high points, going in reverse order, and starting with the SCTE leadership transition.

The Society began Expo week with one leader and ended – unbeknownst to most members – with another. The announcement from the SCTE came yesterday (Monday), but according to SCTE Chairman of the Board Tom Gorman, former VP Professional Development Marv Nelson assumed the role of interim president/CEO last Friday. The last day at the SCTE for outgoing President/CEO John Clark is Friday, July 4. Clark joined the SCTE in 1998.

The Loyal Order of the 704 Reception was "especially good" this year, said one attendee, noting in particular the remembrance of Tom Polis, who held two tenures as SCTE president (1981-’84, 1985-’86). Polis was posthumously inducted last Friday night into this fun-loving club with the pink flamingo mascot.

The SCTE announced on Friday that attendance in Philadelphia hit the 11,000 mark, up 300 over last year’s gathering in Orlando. Some doubters wondered where everyone was. Friday was slow, as usual.

Overall Cable-Tec Games award winner was Gregory Babinski of Bright House Networks.

The SCTE workshops took place from Thursday to Friday. Topics ranged from the digital broadcast television transition to switched digital video and beyond. Credit goes to Marv Nelson for overseeing this important exchange of technical content.

The show floor, which opened Wednesday afternoon, did have its busy moments and booths. Among the trends noted in the pressroom: fewer news releases than in previous years and a general tilt toward fiber, all-digital and cost-cutting technologies in general.

High points of the Annual Awards Luncheon on Wednesday included the naming of Brenda Stottler the SCTE Member of the Year; the induction of Eugene White into the SCTE Hall of Fame; the Chairman’s Award for both Frank Drendel and Robert Stanzione; Time Warner Cable Carolina Region’s System of the Year Award; Cyndee Everman’s Women in Technology Award; Kevin Gantt’s Excellence in Standards Award; senior member recognition for Jeff Porter, Keith Grunberg and Joe Cutrona; and Sean Burris’ Shapp Scholarship.

The CEO panel dealt less with technological advances than with the state of the economy, customer satisfaction, competition and cooperation. At the CTO panel, analog reclamation, DOCSIS 3.0 and digital video were several areas of focus.

In the board election, Tom Gorman, at-large director and 2007 SCTE board president, was elected to a second term as chairman. The 2008-2009 executive committee will consist of Gorman, chairman; Frank Eichenlaub, western vice chair; Nomi Bergman, eastern vice chair; Bob Foote, secretary; Greg Allshouse, treasurer; and Patrick O’Hare, additional executive committee member.

On Tuesday, the PK Worldmedia Conference largely focused on OpenCable and brought representatives from companies providing network, standards, set-top box middleware, and applications to the MSOs that ultimately enable interactive services.

The Metro Ethernet Forum workshop, another pre-show event, included talk of MEF certification, cell backhaul, overcoming technical hurdles – and case studies.

The L&D conference focused on "mLearning" and the so-called Millennial generation that’s now entering the workforce. The near ubiquity of mobile devices and a generation of workers more apt to text than talk create a need for mobility in training. Co-presenters Pat Crull of Time Warner Cable and Martha Soehren of Comcast both spoke of a "blended solution" that makes mLearning just one of many approaches to training.

The numbers for attendance at individual workshops haven’t been released, but we suspect that some of Tuesday’s pre-conference tutorials – MER and BER by Ron Hranac, IP for Video Heads by Dave Brown and PacketCable 2.0 vs. IMS by Pete Quigley and Richard Cardone of Camiant – will rank high.

– CT

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