As many in the cable technology community prepare for this month’s CableTec Expo in Philadelphia, it’s instructive to look beyond U.S. borders for a moment, to places where the business of technology – at least as measured in terms of trade shows – is both accelerating beyond and in some cases converging with Stateside trends.

As we noted in a late March report on the CCBN show in Beijing, attendance at that event appears to have grown between 70 and 115 percent over the past five years. That compares with a 25 percent, five-year growth in attendance at the analogous NAB show in Las Vegas.

If the NCTA released numbers from last month’s Cable Show, we missed them. Our guess is that attendance was flat if not down. Organizers of the ANGA Cable Show in Germany, however, trumpeted an increase to 12,000 attendees from last year’s 10,000. Technology Moreover, if the technology exhibited at ANGA is an accurate indicator, the gulf between the Old World and the New appears to be narrowing.

Held May 27-29 in Cologne, ANGA drew 369 exhibitors from 28 countries. Many of those exhibitors’ names are familiar to U.S. cable folks: ActiveVideo, ARRIS, Harmonic, JDSU, Mixed Signals, Trilithic and numerous others.

The list of hot topics should also sound familiar to American ears: DOCSIS 3.0, HD, VOD, digital, IP, M-CMTS, bandwidth enhancement, quad play, and advanced services generally.

Kevin Oliver, JDSU’s vice president of Marketing, Cable Networks Business Segment, focused on some of those advanced services.

"The European cable market is aggressively pursuing transition to digital, HDTV and DOCSIS 3.0," he said, "which brings proactive return path maintenance and digital video monitoring to the forefront of network management."

Harmonic’s Sarah Lum had a slightly different take.

"M-CMTS, IP cable, universal edge, HD, enhanced navigation (our technology POC demo from ET) were all hot topics," she said, "and we saw a lot of interest in HFC solutions for bandwidth efficiency as well."

ARRIS’ Riki Rau identified the show’s main themes as "solutions for IP services, DOCSIS 3.0, HDTV and VOD as well as … optical fibre-based NGNs, enabling high bandwidths, and hybrid offerings in cable networks." Importance ANGA also seems to be gaining importance in Europe.

"For years, the conference had a largely Germanic focus, and the exhibition was little more than an afterthought," said Stephen Reeder, ActiveVideo Networks’ managing director, Europe, "but that has now changed, and for the first time it seems Europe might actually have its own cable event targeted at mid-level managers and engineers, sitting comfortably alongside Cable Congress, formerly ECCA, which caters for Europe’s C-level cable executives."

Lum echoed that sentiment.

"ANGA is one that seems to be getting busier for us every year," she said.

The show hasn’t entirely lost its German flavor, though.

"Our fair has yet again confirmed that the cable industry is on the upswing," said Thomas Braun, president of ANGA Verband Deutscher Kabelnetzbetreiber (Association of German Cable Operators). "The German cable operators’ triple-play offers lead the market in terms of quality and price. It is our aim to grow faster in broadband Internet than the DSL providers."

– Ron Hendrickson

The Daily

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