Attending SCTE Cable-Tec Expo is a ritual that I look forward to each year. While it might not be quite like going to the Oscars, it sure felt like I was part of something special. Each year, SCTE Cable-Tec Expo attracts more and more attendees from around the globe, with international attendance up three percent this year from last. It didn’t matter where you were from, once you arrived, you instantly became part of a community that drives the evolution, advancement, and convergence of communications and entertainment. This three-day expo allows people in the cable industry to collaborate and share new ideas, catch up with old friends, and network with new ones — and this year did not disappoint.

As usual, this year’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo was packed with new product showcases, seminars and workshops. I was keen to find the overarching theme of this year’s expo to determine the top issues in the industry. Conversations with colleagues and a quick scan of the conference brochure quickly revealed a conference theme similar to years past, focused on next generation multi-service delivery platforms. A deeper examination however, revealed a particular focus on generational technologies and services where the underlying infrastructures are continuously evolving. This continuous evolution has lead to the rapidly increasing number of services now available to consumers and enterprises. Today, the cable industry is able to offer high-speed Internet, IP-based video, digital home and other accelerating commercial services that were not even fathomable only a few short years ago.

"We Won the Awards!"

This year’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo was particularly special for all of us at Incognito Software. I’m proud to announce that we walked away with two awards from one of the industry’s most prominent publications, Communications Technology. The publication recognizes broadband business excellence and presented us with a Platinum Awards Honorable Mention for BSS/OSS Deployment for our provisioning software, Broadband Command Center, as well as the 2012 "Best IPv6… Finally" Award," which acknowledged our efforts and contribution in the global transition to IPv6.

Engineering vs. Operations

SCTE Cable-Tec Expo is a celebration of technological achievements and innovation, and, like any celebration, it wouldn’t be as fun without a grand dinner and the stories that accompany this kind of event. While I’ll spare you the personal stories, I’d like to share a discussion I had with a group of our operator colleagues that focused on network engineering and network operations.

It isn’t a secret that network operators are challenged on a daily basis with operational issues, outages, quality of experience issues, and the balancing of short and long terms needs. Network engineers, on the other hand, are tasked with finding and developing the exact tools that make the lives of network operators easier. It used to be that network operators loathed engineers because of the amount of time it would take them to design and deliver proper operator tools.

The engineers, meanwhile, found it challenging to meet what they thought were unrealistic, and even at times whimsical, requirements. Some say these two groups think differently, and that they even go to different bars after work! SCTE has focused its recent efforts on bringing together these two parties and encourage mutual cooperation. Because of this vision, we now see new technologies and tools being created to enable efficient and reliable network operations aimed at enhancing QoS and expediting time-to-market product introductions. SCTE’s vision is to unite all parties, network operators, engineers, marketing, and product management teams, in hopes of delivering a plethora of user-friendly and ubiquitous next-generation communications services and entertainment content.

SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2012 has sparked my excitement for what is in store for the cable industry moving forward, and it’s a journey I can’t wait to begin. SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, count me in. I’ll be back next year in New Orleans!

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