Geoff Roman is corporate vice president, Strategy, for Motorola.
What products or services are you developing over the next few years, and why are they important to cable?
The next big market opportunity is content portability, which gives MSOs the ability to add value to their existing infrastructure and service offerings. We’ve started on the portability path by deploying Follow Me TV, Motorola’s solution for moving TV content around the home. Version 2.0 will move television beyond the home and onto mobile devices. This convergence of wired and wireless will also apply to other digital content, like photos, music and user-generated video.
Along the same lines as content portability comes information and communication portability. Motorola is creating robust wireless networks through technologies like CableMESH and Cable Canopy that operators can use to extend information and communications services beyond the home broadband network connection. We’re also introducing technologies like fixed/mobile voice convergence that offer a seamless transition during a phone call from a wired to a wireless network and vice versa.
During your meetings with cable operators, what areas of concern do they mention most frequently?
The cable industry is very quickly learning how to integrate its bundle of services more tightly and add wireless into the mix. Our conversations with the MSOs focus on how to create great experiences and services that span across these networks, which is ultimately what will keep consumers loyal and engaged. Motorola has the expertise across both cable and wireless networks to make smart recommendations and help providers execute on the strategies they choose.
Do the smaller, independent operators have different agendas or technical requirements than the large MSOs?
At the end of the day, it’s all about consumer experience. Different operators may have different network topologies, but they’re all working toward the same thing, creating a compelling service offering that customers will pay for.
Do you have an international presence? If so, what’s your strategy?
Absolutely. We’re an end-to-end provider of voice, video, data and mobility solutions to operators worldwide. Whether HFC, fiber, wireless, satellite, or other, our strategy is to deliver technologies that create ultimate entertainment experiences for consumers.
If you had to pick one area for the cable industry to become more focused on, what is it and why?
One of the biggest challenges ahead is digital rights management (DRM) and how to make different DRM schemes interoperate. This is not just a cable issue, but it’s certainly something that the MSOs could take the lead on. All entertainment providers are going to have to balance content security and content accessiblity across different devices, locations and networks.
Which is the biggest threat to the cable industry: telcos, satellite or over-the-top providers?
The biggest threat that all operators face is that their customers will find a more compelling entertainment experience somewhere else. This is not just a technology issue, but includes the service offering, value, customer experience from service request to fulfillment, and prompt resolution of problems.
What service or product will have the biggest impact on cable subscribers over the next five years?
In the next five years, demand is going to grow exponentially for anytime, anywhere access to entertainment services. Consumers’ appetites are whetted, but we’ve only seen the beginning of where this trend is headed. The combination of time-shifted and place-shifted content will change the way subscribers experience entertainment services and, subsequently, their relationships with cable providers.
What is the defining moment for your company over the past five years?
Unveiling Motorola’s vision of “seamless mobility” and really working hard to make that term truly mean “anytime, anywhere access.” Once our customers started to understand that vision, they saw how all of the different pieces of Motorola’s business (wireless handsets, network infrastructure, set-tops, video core) fit together. And now they believe and want what only we can deliver.