SCTE member since 2001
Title: Director, Cable Strategy and Business Development, Harmonic
Broadband Background: Kennedy is responsible for cable strategy and business development at Harmonic. He joined Harmonic from Broadbus Technologies where he was responsible for marketing and product management for the VOD platform, acquired by Motorola. Prior to joining Broadbus, Kennedy served as VP of product management and marketing for voice and data services at BigBand Networks and served in technology and operations roles with RoadRunner, NRTC, Digital One Television and Continental Cablevision.
In the article you wrote on Cable-Style IPTV for the current issue of CT, you suggested that MSOs are subsidizing quite a lot of Internet video traffic. Of course, some MSOs are delivering their own video (to the Comcast Fan portal, for instance.) But is this over-the-top infrastructure tax becoming a pain point for MSOs?
It sure is. As noted in the "Cable-Style IPTV" article, a report from comScore stated in the month of July that more than 9 billion video streams were delivered to North American consumers via broadband connections. I am sure some of that was delivered though operator sponsored content such as Comcast Fan content, but most is not. The number of video sources available online and the quality (read bit-rate) continues to increase and thus requires more downstream bandwidth capacity.
Your IPTV proposal won a CableLabs Summer Conference Innovation Showcase polling. That caught you off guard?
It did, and we were pleasantly surprised. We didn’t realize when we submitted our proposal to be included in the showcase that operators would be voting for the most innovative and likely to be deployed. When you think of innovation, most people immediately look to start-up companies. What is exciting about Harmonic and what drew me to join the team is that we have the strength and staying power of a solid, public company, but maintain a strong entrepreneurial philosophy, which allows us to leverage our core technologies and expertise and stay on the leading edge of video delivery technology.
One observation I heard was that you won because you showed how operators could potentially do a lot with relatively little investment. But that’s not a bad thing, unless of course there actually is a need for a big investment, right?
That’s exactly right. In today’s highly competitive environment, it is extremely important for operators to invest in technology wisely. The solution we presented and are refining with a number of operators is focused on leveraging as much of the existing DOCSIS and digital video infrastructure as possible. Minimizing the number of new network or management elements will allow for faster deployment of service and require less operational investment necessary to support scaling of the service.
What are the key ingredients to this "cable-style" recipe? M-CMTS? Bonded channels? UE-QAMs? Anything else?
As I mentioned earlier, this solution combines DOCSIS and digital video technologies. From DOCSIS, we use the core CMTS and provisioning systems to register cable modems on to the network. The cable modems are wideband modems capable of supporting DOCSIS 3.0 multicast, which are connected to a universal edge QAM (UEQAM). Behind the wideband cable modem is a PC or IP set-top box client that communicates with an application manager.
The application manager provides the session management for switched video and VOD viewing and also forwards DOCSIS encapsulation information to the UEQAM, allowing it to send the video over the DOCSIS network. These elements are then integrated with operator conditional access, subscriber management and network management and other business support systems to tie the video delivery and control infrastructure and complete the solution.
Could you quickly review Harmonic’s acquisitions of late (what you bought and why and how the integrations are going)?
Over the past 12 months, Harmonic has completed two acquisitions – Rhozet and the on-demand business from Entone Technologies. We are seeing a lot of positive momentum as a result of the integration and expansion of our on-demand offerings. For instance, Harmonic’s MediaPrism suite of content preparation software incorporates software from both acquisitions as well as products developed by Harmonic. This synergy is good for our customers, and has been very well received so far.