Title: Vice president and general manager, Global MSO Solutions, Nortel
Broadband Background: Prior to joining Nortel, Buttermore served as vice president of data and voice engineering and operations at Adelphia Communications. He also has held executive positions at AT&T Broadband and Ucentric Systems. Buttermore currently is the chairman of the Emerging Technologies (ET) 2008 program subcommittee.
SCTE member since 2004
From at least one large MSO, we’ve been hearing (Tony Werner’s keynote at CableNEXT and a separate interview with John Schanz) about "Convergence cubed." Or the idea of convergence at the content and device level. Is that part of what you have in mind with this year’s ET theme, "Cable’s Evolution to the Hyperconnected Network"?
Absolutely. There are many dimensions to this concept. There is exponential growth in the sheer number of devices that will be connected to the network (hyperconnectivity) and connecting to each other. Couple this concept of sheer number of device types and connections, with a wide variety of content flowing between those connections, with the applications that facilitate those connections across both wireline and wireless infrastructures, and you really get a feel for the magnitude of the problem that faces us in the near future. Of course, without the appropriate underlying OSS infrastructure and enabling protocols, we will have unmitigated chaos.
Convergence and hyperconnectivity are related. Most applications today are siloed – they don’t connect, interact or integrate well. Customers, both residential and business, are looking for applications that break these silos and enhance their experiences. It is not enough for applications to be on a high-capacity network. They have to leverage the communications capability that a network makes possible.
Personalization is another theme for ET 2008. Do you have some serious code slinging on the menu?
I hope we’re not just "slinging code" as might be associated with the early days of the Web! If you think about the previous question, there will be an enormous amount of data being generated, and consumed, by the multitude of devices and/or applications associated with a single individual. The art of personalization is turning that massive amount of data into contextual knowledge that can then be used to personalize and enhance an individual’s application experience. One person’s annoying advertisement is another person’s spot on meeting of a need, whether explicitly acknowledged or not even consciously perceived. It is in this framework that the concepts of Web 2.0, SOA and IMS will be critical to sew all of these seemingly disparate applications into a seamless, intuitive experience.
And then more software under the next heading ("Application Delivery and Service Quality")?
This area refers to the ability to deliver a quality application experience (QoS) as well as measure and rate the delivery of that application. As we all know, the ability of our current service provisioning environments and dynamic QoS content delivery systems are woefully inadequate to deliver this type of capability today. However, if we, as an industry, want to raise the bar for our customers (and competitors), we must pursue the enabling infrastructures with all due haste.
In some industries (health care comes to mind), information technology is a larger part of the budget than physical equipment or supplies. Do you think MSOs and other service providers are headed in that direction?
Absolutely. While MSOs will continue to invest in squeezing more bits onto a physical wire or airwave, the applications that will be created to fill those pipes with bits is keeping pace. It is absolutely critical, nay, it is imperative that we control the flow of those bits that are emanating from an ever-increasing and expanding array of applications – many of which will come from external parties.
What do you think the event will offer as far as advanced advertising is concerned?
Here is the shameless plug, directly from the conference agenda. Advertising has traditionally been a highly fragmented, siloed part of the MSO business. While it produces a great revenue stream, there is virtually no leverage across the different application domains – how can advertising be unified into campaigns? How can we leverage the personalization aspect with broadcast, time shifted, VOD, high-speed data, cellular, etc.? The possibilities are endless! Look at what Google has accomplished by simply providing a better search/advertising model for HSI only? If they could all be linked, integrated, targeted ….
And there’s a wireless tutorial this year. Do you have speakers yet for that pre-event?
We will have Mike Hayashi moderating this event and have speakers from Nortel as well as Motorola discussing whitepapers they have written that cover Wi-Fi to WiMAX. In addition, we’ll have folks from Time Warner Cable as well as Cox discussing their plans with respect to wireless strategy.
Back to your day job, what areas of Nortel technology should we expect to hear about going forward into 2008?
We think 2008 will be a breakout year for commercial services, and we think Nortel is uniquely qualified to greatly enhance the ability of MSOs to address this market with a high degree of success and competence. Nortel has both the product and service breadth that will allow MSOs to confidently enter this most demanding customer segment. Our unique relationship with Microsoft, a trusted supplier to the SMB marketplace, will continue to bear fruit and strengthen. While convergence is becoming more real every day on the consumer side of the business, it is also becoming more relevant to the SMB space. We are well-positioned in this regard. In addition, we have, and will continue to innovate and invest in our network, voice, optical and software technologies that will be critical to MSOs’ success in the future.