SCTE Member Since 2004
Title: Founder, Chairman and CEO, IMAKE Software and Services (http://www.imake.com) Broadband background: Prior to founding IMAKE in 1993, Schaszberger worked for IBM, where he received patents in the data server, control server and gateway architecture system and method to broadcasting digital video on demand. He holds degrees in computer science from the University of Maryland and University of Virginia. You announced recently that your software now supports some 20 million subs. Those would be subs with access to VOD? What explains your success in this arena?"That’s correct, they would all have access to the VOD solution. And as for the genesis of that, we’ve been in the business for 12 years and deployed this with Verizon prior to Comcast. So we had a couple of million in the data base. That is no longer active, but we have been doing this for years. Certainly Comcast was aware of our subscriber management system and entitlement solution." Where does IMAKE and the industry stand on open standards?"I totally agree with open standards, and we’re a member of CableLabs. We’re compliant with CableLabs 1.1 and we’ll probably be one of the first ones with 2.0." You’re talking metadata?"That’s asset management. On the other side, which gets into our entitlement and our session resource management (SRM) area, there are some standards that have evolved, such as DSMCC (digital storage media command and control), RGSP (reliable signaling gateway protocol) and SIP (session initiation protocol), which we are also compliant to. However, there seem to be differences, depending on the video server and the navigation server. And frankly, there are some very large vendors who can set de facto standards regardless of what the standards bodies do. So the standards are evolving, I believe in them, and I really wish they’d move faster." Standards naturally are slow to evolve, aren’t they?"Service providers want to make sure that all their issues and comments are included. And that’s a good process, but it does slow things up. But as an integrator and an inventor, you want to move forward. Even CableLabs 2.0 doesn’t go as far as we’d love to see it go, as far as productizing and pricing of assets are concerned. We’re doing some very creative things in there, regarding play lists and targeted advertising." What’s next for VOD technology, especially from the software angle?"SRM is huge. It allows you to do a lot of plug and play, and it allows you to optimize the network and bandwidth utilization. So first off, you start to take away dependency on particular video servers; you take away your dependency on navigation servers; and you optimize the network bandwidth utilization of next generation broadband." We’re starting to hear about content distribution networks (CDNs) again. Is that dot.com-era d�ja vu?"No, it’s not dot.com. But, yes, it is d�ja vu, it’s coming back. Clearly we were in that big time in the CDN marketplace, because we were IP-based in many ways. And as part of 24/7, which now IMAKE has broken way from, we were with Akamai, Digital Island and some of the biggest CDNs in the world. And we are back talking to some very serious manufacturers about deploying CDN pitching and catching and distribution of assets over the networks, which will not necessarily be satellite stand-alone anymore." So it’s for real, now? "Absolutely. The pipes are big enough, and the connectivity is big enough. Getting into standards, there are some issues with controlling the streaming. Asset management and moving content around from a VOD stream is easy. When you start getting into live streaming, there’s a little more complexity to that. Everything from entitling the person who’s using it to making sure you have enough bandwidth on the whole pipeline." How well is cable positioned in the emerging video battles?"Quite well, I think. And you can tell that from the customers I focus on. Certainly I was with telcos all through the ’90s. I just don’t think video providers are even totally opening up to cable either. Certainly the telcos have some issues to overcome. I believe they will get into it, but I think cable is very well positioned. You’ve filed patents and slung code yourself. Is that the kind of company you have? "We have 80-85 percent engineering here. We are hand’s-down, a hardcore software engineering company." – Jonathan Tombes

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