As you read this, you’re probably considering attending SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, planning to attend SCTE Cable-Tec Expo or you’ll be among the crowds in New Orleans at – what else? – SCTE Cable-Tec Expo. No matter what category you fall into, you know Cable-Tec Expo is the nexus of technology and education in our industry – an event where you can get a first-hand look at the innovations our vendor partners are creating to power our business into the future, and an event where you can listen to and interact with speakers in a collegial environment that fosters learning and understanding at every level of cable’s “One Network” workforce. With New Orleans upon us, it’s important to remember a couple of things about Cable-Tec Expo. We’ve fine-tuned the agenda to make it THE place where problems and problem-solvers in our industry meet. I’ve always found Cable-Tec Expo to be one of the really invigorating experiences of our industry, but Jay Rolls and his committee deserve special recognition this year for putting together a program that provides the information you need to improve your skills and your business now and in the future. From sessions to show floor, there’s a focus on IP-based services and other technologies that can give our industry the flexibility necessary to meet the needs of subscribers. Here’s a glimpse at what’s going on: Speakers like Time Warner Cable EVP Mike Hayashi and Comcast SVP Steve Reynolds will be appearing along with technologists from such companies as Cisco, Motorola, NDS and Accenture; we’ve booked workshops on such topics as Content Delivery Networks, IP Video, DOCSIS 3.0, Home Networking, 3D Video and Energy Management; and there’s a show floor that includes smart energy management and networked-home pavilions, a CableLabs exhibit and the latest in technology innovations. While the hands-on nature of Cable-Tec Expo is important, I want to remind you that the educational experience doesn’t end there. When the booths are packed away and the PowerPoint projectors have cooled, there’s a wealth of resources available from SCTE designed to extend the educational value of Cable-Tec Expo on an ongoing basis. All you need to do is visit the SCTE Web site at http://www.scte.org/content/index.cfm?pID=1609 to learn more about our Professional Development initiatives.

“We’ve fine-tuned the agenda to make it THE place where problems and problem-solvers in our industry meet.”

The fact that education is a SCTE strength sometimes gets lost in the excitement of Expo, but we can’t let it be overlooked. During the past 10 years, we’ve delivered approximately 37,000 student hours of training. Our "Drop Installation Fundamentals" course – a CommScope-sponsored initiative – alone has been delivered to more than 900 installers and other personnel since its debut late last year. And during the summer, Suddenlink announced an intensive training and SCTE certification program had contributed to “millions of dollars in savings due to meaningful reductions in repeat service calls and customer churn.” As operators seek to balance the need for education with the financial and productivity costs of travel, the reality is that there is a need for distance-learning programs that can enrich the skills of cable’s engineering community. Since the arrival of Steve Harris as director/advanced network technologies program development, and more recently of Daniel Howard as CTO, we’ve amped up our professional-development curriculum to provide the kind of efficient training the industry needs. So take the time in New Orleans to immerse yourself in the Cable-Tec Expo experience. But when the last session is over and the last demo’s been given, I’ll leave you with the same message I give my visitors: “It was really good to see you. Stay in touch.”

Mark Dzuban is president/CEO of the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers. Contact him at mdzuban@scte.org.

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