Ken Wright is chief technology officer of C-COR.
What is the defining moment for your company over the past five years?
When we saw our customers evolving their networks and operations toward a triple-play environment, we decided to redefine C-COR in order to solve the challenges that they would encounter. We created a new vision for the company and executed on that vision by adding complementary and best in class solutions to our existing product lines. As a result of this diversification, today we are not only a key provider of HFC network equipment, but we also are a primary provider of on-demand and ad insertion equipment and management systems, OSS/BSS platforms, and outsourced skilled technical labor.
We also recognize that for our customers to be able to respond to the market shifts quickly, it isn’t enough to provide an á la carte menu of products. They need integrated solutions that are scalable and reliable. We are aggressively pre-integrating hardware and software components to harness even greater benefits for our customers.
What products or services are you developing over the next few years, and why are they important to cable?
C-COR will continue to develop products that help operators deploy revenue-generating services and improve both operational efficiency and their customers’ experience. We also believe an important change will be the removal of technological and operational silos. So we are developing integrated and modular platforms that can provide greater flexibility, efficiency, and speed to market.
One example is our recently announced Unified On Demand (Video) Platform that eliminates discrete management systems and hardware platforms to allow operators to deliver VOD, switched digital, nPVR, and linear and advanced advertising from a single platform. This platform has been built to reduce the operational and capital expenditures to deploy and manage new services. The platform allows MSOs and advertisers to capitalize on addressable and dynamic advertising, by combining VOD and digital program insertion platforms to deliver real-time, dynamically updated ad content. This ability to deliver ads that are profile-driven, changeable on the fly, and interactive is an important next step in delivering truly personalized advertising.
Another example is our move to converged OSSs. This gives operators the ability to benefit from the capabilities of individual tools, such as service assurance, bandwidth management, voice quality assurance, policy management, plant topography-based root cause analysis, mobile workforce management, etc., but also reap new value from these modules interacting with each other.
We are also engaging in traffic-based plant segmentation and enhancement to help operators get the most out of their network investment. And of course we can offer outsourced plant maintenance and plant hardening, using skilled technical labor armed with OSS tools that help them focus efforts where they are most beneficial.
During your meetings with cable operators, what areas of concern do they mention most frequently?
Operators are in an increasingly competitive environment where they will face growing capacity demands using today’s infrastructure. They are looking to provide a better customer experience to prevent customer migration. This includes meeting customers’ desires for new service offerings, ensuring service quality, and providing quick and effective solutions when customers have issues. Along with this, operators are focused on generating revenue while reducing costs.
Moving to a Unified On Demand Platform and using tools such as switched digital video can give operators the ability to provide more offerings, as well as respond more quickly to competitors’ offerings. Migrating from today’s manual processes and siloed back office tools to commercially available BSSs can improve the customer experience, while making operations more efficient. Approaches like these that integrate products and services result in next generation solutions that help service providers harness revenue-generating opportunities and maximize their bottom line.
Do you have an international presence? If so, what’s your strategy?
We have been delivering reliable, state of the art products for more than 50 years in more than 40 countries worldwide. Approximately one-third of our revenue today is from outside of North America. This gives us a financial diversity, and therefore financial stability, that ensures for our customers that we will be there tomorrow to support the products that they buy from us today. There are distinct differences in how service providers operate in different regions of the world. Because we are involved with operators across the globe, we can cross-pollinate best practices into our product lines.