I am honored to chair the program subcommittee for the SCTE Conference on Emerging Technologies 2006. We have a world-class collection of people on the committee, and I am excited about the program. We are just two months away from this annual event, which is set for Jan. 10-12 in Tampa, Fla. Why should you set aside what you are working on in the here-and-now to take a three-day getaway to the future? Because for the cable industry to continue to excel and for technologists to continue to grow in their careers, it is crucial that we get together to collaboratively explore and prepare for the next generation of services and technology. Not only are our networks, service offerings, and customer expectations changing, but the rate of that change itself is also accelerating. That is what ET is all about—focusing on the technologies that are expected to transform the cable telecommunications industry in the next three to five years. Attendees include chief technical officers, engineers, managers, and industry analysts who come to hear a strategic view of the future from the industry’s technical leaders: hence, the ET tagline that SCTE employs for its conference, describing it as a gathering of "like minds, divergent views, propelling us forward." The challenge has been to construct a practical, enriching program that hits that three-to-five-year-out sweet spot and yet stops short of long-term, theoretical, crystal ball, pie-in-the-sky rumination. Like golfers, we’re trying to chip the ball up on the green and get it close to the hole without overshooting the pin and finding the rough on the other side. In putting ET together, our focus has been on what the next generation of services will look like and what the next generation of technology will be to enable those services. Also, what does the next generation look like in terms of competitive offerings? What’s the technology behind that? How can we either be aware of that now to try to counteract that or how can we utilize their technology to our own advantage? One of the goals for our panels in Tampa is to provide a perspective of how a given technology can be utilized by different service providers. ET 2006 will be a forum to hear and come face-to-face, in person, with some of the industry’s leading technologists as they present their views on the next generation of the broadband industry and technology. That aspect of face-to-face interaction with peers and leading technologists is an important feature and attraction of ET. Sharing ideas and exchanging thoughts on issues are vital from the standpoint that no one company can go it alone in this industry. So ET 2006 is a critical opportunity to explore thoughts and initiatives beyond your own company and get viewpoints across not only multiple operators but also multiple vendor companies. ET 2006 will focus on what the year 2010 will look like. What will broadband operators’ service offerings, delivery networks, management networks and support infrastructures look like in 2010? What will competitors’ services and technologies look like in 2010? And how can cable prepare for or perhaps utilize competitive and complementary technologies that will be out there in 2010? Most of the information that is available out there today—in the press and in seminars and so forth—really is centered on immediate and near-term issues. ET 2006 brings the perspective of what’s next. See you in Tampa! Ken Wright is CTO of C-Cor and chairman of the program subcommittee for the ET 2006. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.