TWC’s Hayashi: A Moving Target A few days ago when Mike Hayashi and I reconnected he was in non-stop motion. He had just come back from the National Show to Denver, whereupon he said hello and goodbye to his family, jumped in the car and drove two hours to Vail for SkiTAM. He then spent a day making sure the dozens of SkiTAM sponsors he helped secure were tended to, and drove back to Denver for one of his teenage daughter’s functions. Having then served as the dutiful and proud father he truly is, Mike turned around and, once again, drove up to the mountains for SkiTAM’s closing dinner and awards ceremony. Which is all to say when he and I hooked up last week, in the 78-RPM world Mike Hayashi calls home, things were pretty much business as usual. Mike is Time Warner Cable’s kinetic SVP of advanced engineering and subscriber technologies. In other words, he’s a techies’ techie. He works alongside Kevin Leddy and under Mike LaJoie in TW Cable’s advanced technology department, and for some time now his focus has been bringing OpenCable to market, while spreading the gospel of OCAP, a Cable Labs- specified middleware. I asked Mike what at the National Show had triggered his interest. Now please understand, as someone perched atop the techie food chain, there is little in the way of breakthrough technology that Mike hasn’t seen – at least by the time it gets to the National Show, where neophytes like me are allowed a glimpse. So when he says he’s excited about something, folks like me take notice. Many things caught his eye, but a few stood out. "A couple of booths really showed what DOCSIS 3.0 can be, and featured something called channel-bonding, which is a trick to combine multiple DOCSIS channels into one big fat pipe." He said vendors such as Motorola and Cisco had channel bonding on display and offered visions for how it might relieve some of cable’s upstream constraints. He also was excited about the Samsung booth, which featured an OpenCable TV running TW Cable’s navigation system. "It was pretty exciting," Mike admitted to me, adding that he felt the industry is quickly approaching "the last mile" in making OpenCable consumer-ready. He also liked a technology that appealed to what he calls his "geeky part." Liquid Media is a Motorola product powered by wireless transponder that allows the user a wireless transponder that allows devices one encounters at home, in the car, or in the workplace, recognize you and tailor content to your wishes. Mike told me he was intrigued by the industry being able to create accounts tied to individual addresses, rather than physical ones. "I’m sure there have been discussions about that, and I think it’s a very cool concept." So what’s next for OpenCable? "We’re at the last mile of a very long marathon," Mike said, adding that the end-to-end system is rapidly nearing completion. "OCAP is a middleware and it’s new, so there are some gaps. But those gaps are filling quickly, make no mistake. We’re getting there. In fact, my sense is that by this time next year OCAP will be old news for many people." M.C. Antil can be reached at [email protected].