Justin Rattner, vice president/CTO at Intel, predicted as much change will occur in the next 40 years as has occurred in the last 20,000 years, while speaking on a panel at the opening session of the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo yesterday, during which a group of technologists all took a swing at how they plan to keep up with the accelerating rate of change.

The velocity of innovation is changing the way technologists work. Rattner said Intel is transitioning from a “bottom-up” style of innovation driven by engineers to a “top-down” style driven by market-inspired design: “It’s a huge change for us…stuff you never learned in engineering school.”

Inevitably, the “4 anys” came up in the conversation: Consumers want all of their content on any device, any time, anywhere. But techies are grappling with formats and transcoding.

Bob McIntyre, vice president and CTO/Service Provider Business at Cisco, pointed out that the challenge is to take video from any source and deliver it to any endpoint device over a managed or unmanaged network to a managed or unmanaged device.

But, Rattner countered, “I think the vision should be bigger. It’s not just about video on more screens,” meaning there are other innovative elements at play as well, including interactivity and social engagement.

Panelists agreed that security is a bigger problem in the multi-screen world. “Video is the hardest thing to move,” said McIntyre. “In this dance, how do we get our hands on very-high-quality security in both directions and make sure devices, especially unmanaged, have legitimate access?”

At ARRIS, the time crunch is on converged cable access platform (CCAP). “The Number One technology objective is to get CCAP out the door,” said Bob Stanzione, ARRIS chairman and CEO. “We’ve been pouring money into CCAP for the past three years, and we’re just now hitting pay dirt in terms of providing platforms they can begin testing in their labs.”

Feeling The Pain

When asked to identify “pain points,” the panelists had different takes:

 >> Cisco’s McIntyre answered simply “competition.”
 
>> Dan Moloney, president of Motorola Mobility, said, “How do you enable more places for consumers to access content? How do you innovate fast enough?”

>> ARRIS’ Stanzione noted, “You’re facing a huge transition from MPEG channels to IP channels, and you can’t turn off what you’ve got. You can’t junk the network you’ve got. We know where we want to go, but the route to get there is going to be a pain point.”

>> Finally, Intel’s Rattner concluded, “There’s going to be 15 billion hours of TV content on the Web by 2015. It’s a humanly unknowable amount of content. The pain point is coming up with techniques to personalize that content and deliver it to the individual consumer in a way that’s very natural and efficient. You’re going to have to put staggering amounts of computations at headends in order to be able to deliver.”

– Linda Hardesty

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A+E Networks launched a new FAST (free ad-supported streaming TV) channel Skills + Thrills , debuting on The Roku Channel on Tuesday. The series

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