SCTE member since 1997 Title: Vice President, Technology, Arroyo Video Solutions Broadband Background: Arroyo brought Dr. Pickens on board earlier this month. He had been serving as a consultant for companies and organizations, including CableMatrix and CableLabs. Previously, Dr. Pickens was the CTO and vice president of technology at COM21, which he helped to grow from a start-up to a company with over $250 million in annual revenue. What intrigued you about Arroyo’s technology as you made your decision to take a position there? I presume the question also implicitly asks "what intrigued you about Arroyo’s people." Innovation cycles via software are much faster than innovation cycles via proprietary hardware. And innovation with the smartest people is an attractive competitive attribute. I share the vision that standard high-end commodity server technology, coupled with innovative software, has already outpaced the ability of proprietary hardware to deliver streaming media system solutions, including video. Specific and already implemented attributes of Arroyo’s technology that intrigued me included the orders of magnitude improvement on stream density/storage, the architecture’s flexibility for centralized and distributed configurations, and the vision of designing a network-centric solution that can deliver a nationwide network with no architectural re-invention needed. Arroyo’s founders are experts in networking. What does that say about today’s VOD technology? Today’s legacy VOD technology, and even some of the so-called "next generation" solutions, is designed from a "box" perspective. "Boxes" are often designed to be fault tolerant and scaleable, but they aren’t really, since VOD requires a networking design perspective, with the solution needing to be a networked system. Rather than delivering "box" resiliency, the focus needs to be the delivery of stream resiliency. The network provides a number of key elements that can be leveraged by the system solution—rapid scalability to high bandwidth, VLAN and VPN capabilities, dynamic reconfiguration and commodity pricing curve for the application’s "system backplane." What will you be doing at Arroyo? I will be working with the engineering organization in the design of new system functions, with industry technical consortia, standards groups, and organizations like CableLabs, to define technical specifications for industry-wide interoperability. I will also oversee the intellectual property activities of the company. How does your experience (COM21, 3Com, etc) relate to your new role? I have been a developer and designer of network technology and products since my early days as an ARPA-funded graduate student. At 3Com I led embedded systems software development for the division that developed bridges and routers, and also provided corporate-wide leadership for network management technology and standards. At COM21 I lead the drive toward DOCSIS and PacketCable and contributed as an author of both DOCSIS and PacketCable standards; and also led the development of prototype technology in the VOD space. Most recently at CableMatrix I led the design of a distributed peer-to-peer implementation of QoS resource management solutions for multimedia-based applications. In all of these roles my understanding has deepened for how to drive the access network toward an all-IP converged service infrastructure solution, and also on how to deliver distributed fault tolerant applications solutions, with the network as the architecture core. Did you know Paul Sherer at 3Com? Yes, from 1988 through 1992 we worked together at 3Com. In that period I was focused on the design and development of network systems components such as bridges and routers. Paul and I collaborated on common areas of interest such as Ethernet technology and IEEE standards’ work. Where do you think the industry is headed on the video front? I believe the industry is rapidly sprinting past the knee of the hockey-stick curve; uptake is rapid. Operators are discovering that designs that assume conservative take rates are under rapid and unexpected pressure for expansion. As far as the subscriber is concerned, the "TiVo" experience has radically reshaped the TV viewing experience. Across all economic tiers and age categories "TiVo" is now in demand. The traditional model of a few hundred broadcast channels, where the viewer arranges his calendar to sync up with the shows in which he has interest, is rapidly evolving to the on-demand model. The traditional paradigm that defined the alpha member of the household as the person who possesses the remote control is now being redefined as the person whose content is deleted when the hard disk, or its equivalent, overflows. Video is rapidly evolving to a personalized media. Increasingly, the subscriber will define the content and even the content structure that he wishes to view. VOD server technology that can implement nPVR functionality (as well as streaming to home cache), and can be rapidly customizable and enhanced with features that deliver media personalization, will become the norm. How quickly is the industry transitioning to an all-IP future? Quite rapidly, though there will be some segments faster than others. The NGNA initiative, with the modular CMTS and DOCSIS 3.0 (GigE over HFC) will accelerate the migration toward all-IP. The growth will be mitigated a bit by legacy equipment and the incremental delays of rolling over non-IP edge QAMs and STB devices to IP. But the all-IP future is now coming into focus. What will Arroyo be demonstrating at Expo? We will show how an Arroyo "Always ON" OnDemand network can tolerate the failure of any component, without interruption to the subscribers’ VOD viewing experience. Visitors will see how an Arroyo "Always ON" network overcomes simulated failures ranging from failures of components, such as Ethernet ports, to the failure of entire heavily loaded servers, with zero subscriber impact. We will also demonstrate Arroyo OnDemand’s support of native 10GigE for VOD, in integration with leading 10GigE technology providers. We are the first VOD solution to offer that, which is a great example of how industry-standard, open systems such as ours can take rapid and cost-effective advantage of the advancements of the computer and networking industry.