In this column, I’ll pose some questions critical to the future of our industry. The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) Conference on Emerging Technologies (ET) will address them come January. You’ll want to be there, Huntington Beach, Calif., Jan. 11-13, 2005. It will be three days of technological hardball for CTOs, engineers, industry analysts and other technical leaders in the cable telecommunications industry. They can all benefit from ET’s comprehensive technical sessions and discussions on emerging technologies and their effect on the corporation’s future. If you decide to attend you will be among good company—almost 800 attended ET 2004 in Dallas. Focusing on the 2005 ET Call for Papers theme, "No Dumb Pipes? Next Generation Technologies for Smart, Competitive Cable Services," the presenters will answer questions under a range of topic headings: The Competition—What advances in competitors’ technologies and delivery platforms will necessitate a response from the cable industry? Where do technology advancements take cable, relative to its competitors? What technologies provide a unique and inherent advantage to cable? The In-Home Environment—In three to five years, what technological developments will have occurred in silicon, home networking, and "cable-ready" devices that will most impact cable technology and strategy? Mobility/Wireless—What technological developments around the notion of "mobility" and "portability" of cable-served devices and services are on the three-to-five-year horizon? Bandwidth Management—In three to five years, what technologies will exist for use in national, regional and local access networks that will greatly impact cable broadband providers? What impact will developing technologies have on product selection, especially in areas such as transport capabilities and enhanced network performance? Smart Pipe/Dumb Pipe—What technological advances, not widely available today, could enable cable providers to provide equivalent or better grades of service (i.e., QoS) than their broadband competitors, particularly in the quest to not become a "dumb pipe"? The 2005 ET Call for Papers yielded 124 proposals that in one way, shape or form addressed the preceding topical categories. The 2005 ET Program Subcommittee, of which I am honored to be chair, is tasked with paring that list of proposals down to the most applicable 25 or so that will actually be presented as papers in Huntington Beach. We are grateful for such strong interest in participating in ET among the industry’s professionals. With just Mon., Jan. 10 standing between them, ET 2005 almost immediately follows the immense, annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) taking place in neighboring Las Vegas. For some, it will make for a nice Western-swing, technology doubleheader in the dead of winter. Stay tuned to www.scte.org for details on ET 2005 registration. If you have questions, call SCTE’s Customer Care Center at (800) 542-5040. Tom Jokerst is CTO, Broadbus Technologies, and ET 2005 Program Subcommittee Chair. Email him at tjokerst@broadbus.com.

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