Can You Envision It Now?
In a world of constant change and innovation, the need for collaboration and assurance is crucial. Every year, CableLabs and Kyrio host a booth at SCTE-ISBE Cable-Tec Expo (#1101 this year). At this event, cable and broadband professionals from around the world come together to share innovations, trends and emerging technologies. This year, we’re doing something a little different. We’re excited to announce the creation of our new CableLabs Envision Vendor Forum leading into SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2019. This forum will accelerate innovation by introducing our newest technology advancements to our vendor community faster than ever.
What Will CableLabs Cover at Envision?
10G Wired Technologies
In addition to the significant cost savings, without laying more cable, we are also future-proofing our wired technologies and making certain that our customers have access to revolutionary services in the years to come. With technologies like Distributed Access Architecture, Full Duplex Coherent Optics, Passive Optical Network (PON), Proactive Network Maintenance (PNM), and DOCSIS 4.0, that revolutionary future is just around the corner.
Members of our team will not only provide information about the technology being developed for the industry; it will also offer an all-inclusive story that will tie together the numerous projects into a clear and comprehensive narrative. This narrative will support the direction of wired technologies within the industry and how all of the work is interconnected.
Mobile and Wireless Networks Enabled by 10G
Wireless technologies must be fast, secure and widely available so that we can stay connected to the people and things that matter the most to us. Wireless technologies are important, like network convergence and low latency mobile xhaul, because low-latency wireless access is key to building our connected future. We’ve been making sure cable’s hybrid fiber coax networks are ready to support wireless needs now and in the future.
Panel Discussions and More
CableLabs technology experts will be speaking and moderating panel discussions throughout the forum, and CEO and President Phil McKinney is speaking at the opening ceremony. Our lineup of speakers and moderators include the following:
- Ike Elliott, Senior Vice President, Chief Strategy Officer, President of Kyrio
- Belal Hamzeh, Senior Vice President and CTO
- Jon Schnoor, Lead Architect
- Debbie Fitzgerald, Director of Technology Policy
- Jason Rupe, Principal Architect
- Randy Levensalor, Lead Architect
- Curtis Knittle, Vice President of Wired Technologies
There will be many more speakers you will not want to miss, especially our keynote speaker, Kevin Hart, Executive VP, Chief Product and Technology Officer, from Cox Communications.
CableLabs Envision Vendor Forum is ideal for developers, engineers, systems administrators, systems architects, technical decision makers, product engineers, marketers, and anyone who needs to be ahead of the technology movement.
When: Sept. 30, 2019
Where: New Orleans, LA
4Front 2020: Introducing a New Cross-industry Event for Leaders Building the Future
At CableLabs, we think about the future every day. Our Near Future series offers a glimpse of how people might live, work, learn and play 3 to 8 years from now, but it doesn’t address how we’ll get there. The development of the 10G cable network that will power the innovations depicted in these films is already well underway; however, a network alone isn’t enough.
Building the future will require a whole new level of cross-industry collaboration and input from the brightest minds in healthcare, gaming, automotive, education, consumer tech, sustainability, financial technology, AI, security and other fields that will develop consumer products and applications for the new era. This is why we need 4Front.
What Is 4Front?
4Front is a 2-day conference that will take place June 23-24, 2020, at the Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. We invite all industries and ecosystems to join us and answer the question: What kind of future do we want to build?
Tackling that question might result in a wide array of answers, but we know there will also be unique, industry-specific challenges that we won’t know about until we get everyone in the same room. And that’s the type of information we need to be able to move forward. Less about execution or any one type of technology, 4Front is devoted to expanding the human connection, aligning visions and discovering how to build a better tomorrow for all mankind—together.
This event will be structured around four separate tracks: live, work, learn and play. Each track is designed to explore the technological dependencies and accelerate progress in that particular area. For example, a “Live” track may focus heavily on healthcare, biotech and automotive industries, whereas a “Play” track will delve into gaming, fitness and entertainment. Attendees will be able to showcase their thought leadership, share their vision and exchange ideas about how to move forward. Inspirational talks and discussions in both free-form and facilitated formats have the potential to create new partnerships, launch new market ventures or look at today’s problems with a “vuja de” mentality to discover opportunity.
Why You Should Attend
- Meet all the right people: We’re bringing together more than 1,500 visionaries and innovators who hold the power to make decisions on behalf of their companies. You will be among senior executives, founders and entrepreneurs who understand the unique challenges of their field and are willing to share the goals and requirements for what they want to accomplish.
- Identify new opportunities: Because 4Front brings together top decision makers who probably wouldn’t otherwise meet, the connections you make here will help you identify interdependencies across various industries, gain a deeper understanding of your company’s role within the global ecosystem and potentially forge new synergistic business partnerships that can contribute to your ROI and ultimately result in a better experience for everyone.
- Find real solutions to real problems, faster: Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If you’re trying to solve a problem of the future, chances are someone from another industry might be looking at it from a different angle or working on a new technology that can potentially accelerate your progress. 4Front gives you an opportunity to have conversations with people who are as eager to move forward as you are. And though we can’t guarantee that you’ll find solutions to all your problems in 2 days, we can create an environment that’s conducive to the type of innovative ideas that can lead to a breakthrough down the road.
Why Is CableLabs Launching 4Front Now?
The world is on the brink of the so-called fifth industrial revolution, where humans and technology will intersect in ways we never thought possible. Even if you don’t buy into the hype, one fact is undeniable: The pace of innovation is accelerating at a staggering rate. Entire industries are being disrupted with predictable regularity, and inventions that would have once taken decades to saturate the market are becoming global sensations in months, or even days, thanks to our ubiquitous digital devices.
The effects of technology on markets and labor are astonishing. The World Economic Forum estimates that 65 percent of children now entering elementary school will hold jobs that don’t exist today. McKinsey determined that over 50 percent of current work activities are automatable. There are hundreds of other statistics pointing to the same thing: Our world is about to change.
AI, VR, light field panels, holodecks and other emerging broadband-based technologies are tools that can be used across many different industries to create better connected experiences for everyone. By bringing all the relevant players to the table now, we can maximize the potential of all these emerging innovations and chart a course for the future we want to build.
There are two ways to handle a wave of change: Let it wash over you or steer it where you want it to go. Choose the latter! Join us at 4Front 2020.
What Do Loonshots, Prisons and the FCC Have in Common? Meet the 2019 Summer Conference Speakers and Find Out!
CableLabs Summer Conference 2019 is now less than a month away, and we’re very excited to introduce you to the incredible individuals who will share their life experiences and professional expertise during the first 2 days. This year, we’ve brought together a diverse group of best-selling authors, founders, industry leaders, distinguished technologists—and even one innovative prison system entrepreneur who knows a whole lot about determination, perseverance and second chances. Join us to hear their stories and see for yourself how simple—but brilliant—ideas are generated, nurtured and brought to life. Check out the complete conference schedule.
Safi Bahcall, Author of Loonshots
Day 1 @ 9:30am
Do you ever wonder why interesting ideas are sometimes dismissed in favor of safer, mediocre ones? Turns out, it has a lot to do with team dynamics and corporate structures. In his Wall Street Journal bestselling book, Safi Bahcall explores the concept of “loonshots”—or crazy radical ideas that lead to monumental breakthroughs—and how we can adjust our team behavior to allow them to flourish. In the words of Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman, this book—appropriately titled Loonshots—is “not to be missed by anyone who wants to understand how ideas change the world.”
Catherine Hoke, Entrepreneur, Author and Speaker
Day 2 @ 9:30am
Catherine Hoke is a radical entrepreneur who has found ways to use failure as a catalyst for change and innovation. After touring some of the most notorious prisons in America, she discovered that many of the inmates possessed strong entrepreneurial and business skills, just waiting to be put to good use. And that’s exactly what she did! Catherine founded two successful non-profits, Prison Entrepreneurship Program and Defy Ventures, aimed at helping incarcerated people get the education they need to change their lives and reduce recidivism overall. As a result, more than 5,000 people have graduated from these programs, many of whom even earned MBA certificates. Catherine later founded a for-profit venture called Hustle 2.0, delivering life-transforming education to millions of Americans who went through the justice system.
Michael Powell, President and CEO of NCTA
Day 2 @ 4:15pm
Michael Powell not only understands innovation and technology, he spent decades of his life promoting and regulating its progress—first as a chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and later as the president and CEO of NCTA. He’s also served as chief of staff of the Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice, policy advisor to the Secretary of Defense and armored cavalry officer in the U.S. Army. During his career, he had a front-row seat to the digital revolution of the 1990s and early 2000s, overseeing the proliferation of the Internet, cell phones, Wi-Fi and other pivotal technology we can’t live without today. Join us to learn about his take on the future of innovation.
For a full list of speakers, please visit our Summer Conference page, where you’ll also find a detailed agenda, registration information and a vendor application for demonstrating your own product.
Spots are filling up fast and next week is your last chance to register!
Moving Closer to Reality: CableLabs Holds Second Interop•Labs Point-to-Point Coherent Optics Event
Not every time can be the first time: there can only be one first interop, or first spec release, or first technology demo. Saying you’ve done something for the second time doesn’t carry the same excitement or cachet as saying you did it for the first. And yet, the first time at anything is rarely the last: you take what you learn doing something the first time, and then you apply that to doing it better the second time. And then you take what you learn there, and you continue to improve. It’s that continuous cycle of improvement that brings things closer to reality and ultimately gets us to the finish line.
It’s in that spirit that we’d like to announce the successful completion of our second Interop·Labs Point-to-Point Coherent Optics event, hosted by CableLabs at our facility in Louisville, Colorado, April 23–25, during which we worked to bring point-to-point coherent optics technology closer to reality for cable operators.
We went into this event with two main objectives:
- Demonstrate the ability to pass ethernet traffic between coherent optics transceivers from multiple different manufacturers, representing a real-world use of the technology; and
- Demonstrate compliance with the optical receiver sensitivity requirements from the specification.
Both of these objectives are incremental yet significant steps toward showing a real-world solution as compared with the “plugfest” style event we held in December 2018.
Assisting us in this work were five manufacturers: Acacia, ADVA, Ciena, Edge-Core, and NTT Electronics. It wasn’t a long list, but it was highly representative of the industry, including transceivers utilizing DSP silicon from the majority of the key manufacturers in the coherent optics space. It also represented multiple different pieces of network equipment, necessary for connecting coherent optics transceivers to other networks, including for the first time a network switch not provided by a transceiver module manufacturer and designed to work with a wide range of transceiver modules.
And just because the event built on a previous one doesn't mean that there weren’t issues to resolve. But that’s the point of events like this: to uncover those issues in the lab, to work together in the spirit of collaboration to resolve them and to move ever closer to seeing these products deployed in the field. Which is exactly what happened! I’m happy to say that everyone showed the type of interoperability we would expect, and demonstrated compliance with the optical power and optical signal-to-noise ratio (OSNR) sensitivity requirements that we were testing against.
In the final result, this was a solid step forward on the path toward making the deployment of this 10G technology in cable operator networks a reality. And it certainly won’t be the last, so there will be further opportunities to engage in more events in the future. Any company that manufactures coherent optics transceivers, network equipment for those transceivers, or test equipment for validating coherent optics equipment is welcome to join our Interop·Labs events. Please contact me if you’re interested in getting involved, or keep an eye on our website for announcements of future events.
ANGA 10 Gigabit and Beyond: Powering the Future of Cable
For the 15th consecutive year, thousands of network operators, service providers and vendors from around the globe will gather in Cologne, Germany, for ANGA COM Exhibition and Conference, June 4–6, 2019. Widely known as Europe’s leading business platform for broadband operators and content providers, ANGA COM is organized by ANGA Services GmBH, which represents the interests of more than 200 companies in the German broadband industry that provide service to more than 40 million customers. This year’s event is a 3-day deep dive into key topics such as gigabit networks, smart homes, Internet of Things (IoT), Wi-Fi, network virtualization, big data, streaming, cloud TV and 5G.
With more than 500 exhibitors and 20,000 participants from 75+ countries expected to attend, this year’s list of confirmed participants includes many of our members, together with our partner industry organizations, such as Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE), NCTA and other representatives from the cable community. And, for the first time, ANGA COM is engaging the startup community and will have a featured exhibition area where CableLabs subsidiary UpRamp will be talking to potential Fiterator companies.
10G Gigabit and Beyond: Powering the Future of Cable
On June 4, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. CEST, CableLabs COO Chris Lammers will kick off the technology track by discussing the cable industry’s 10G platform—a collection of technologies providing faster speeds, lower latency, higher reliability and greater security. He will be joined by some of the most influential names in cable, including Cisco Fellow and CTO of Cable Access John Chapman, General Manager of Intel’s Connected Home Strategy and Technology Office Robert Ferreira, Vodafone’s Director of Deployment Frank Hellemink and Liberty Global VP of Technology Bill Warga. The discussion will be moderated by SCTE·ISBE President and CEO Mark Dzuban. They will talk about the latest 10G developments and answer your burning questions.
Gigabit Broadband: Springboard for 10G
As the suite of technologies that will deliver Internet speeds 10 times faster than today’s networks, the foundation for 10G already exists—the hybrid fiber coaxial network currently offering 1 gigabit speeds to much of the United States and Europe. Panelists will discuss how cable networks have ramped up their services to offer 1 gigabit (gigabit-per-second download speed) service across 80 percent of the United States—up from just 5 percent in 2016, with similar growth seen in Europe.
Not convinced we need 10 gigabit or even 1 gigabit speeds? Based on the double-digit bandwidth growth that we continue to see every year, we know that customers are ready for the next step in innovation and, thanks to a consistent cadence of network updates, cable operators are ready too.
10G Platform: Cable’s Technologies Make It Real
The 10G standard’s promise of faster speeds, lower latency, higher reliability and greater security will enable a wide variety of new services and applications that will change the way millions of consumers, educators, businesses and innovators interact with the world. Learn which technologies power the 10G platform and what’s coming next:
- 10G Speed: With both coax and fiber, the cable industry is working on more efficient ways of using the infrastructure we already have, which—in addition to providing multiple gigabit speeds to our customers—will allow cable operators to grow network capacity to hundreds of terabits and beyond without spending more than they need to. Learn more about how DOCSIS® 3.0 technology, DOCSIS 3.1® technology, Full Duplex DOCSIS® technology, and how fiber initiatives like coherent optics will enable multi-gigabit speeds to support high-resolution video used in bandwidth-sensitive applications.
- 10G Reliability: As the number of connected devices per household increases exponentially, network reliability is key. One of the technology highlights in the reliability suite is the Profile Management Application, which allows operators to reach two goals: minimize transmission errors on the network and maximize network capacity. The bandwidth gains realized by running a well-designed set of profiles can be anywhere from a 15 percent to 40 percent capacity increase on a channel. These gains can translate to a solid 200 to 400 Mbps extra capacity on each orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) channel! PMA will continue to gain relevance over the years as operators deploy various 10G technologies, all of which will be based on OFDM. Cablelabs’ PMA SW has a software interface directly into the Casa Systems CMTS, which will be demonstrated in the Casa booth in hall 7, stand G10.
- 10G Security: A good security system builds trust in the network and is an essential part of the 10G future. As more connected devices are added to homes and small businesses, the cable industry is tackling this issue by utilizing technologies and playing an active role in driving security in the broader Internet ecosystem. An example is CableLabs® Micronets, an easy-to-use open source platform that provides simpler and better security at scale.
- 10G Low Latency: Interactive experiences such as virtual reality and gaming require low-latency networks. CableLabs technologies including Low Latency DOCSIS, Low Latency Wi-Fi and Mobile Xhaul will spur a wave of innovation, enabling seamless next-level experiences like holodecks, lightfield displays and 360° video.
Network Convergence: Opening Up New Business Opportunities
Experience 10G with network convergence and the rollout of 5G! The 5G standard requires multiple small cells (radio equipment), and—because those small cells require an efficient way to communicate with one another and the core network—cable can provide the perfect infrastructure. Learn more about technologies like Mobile Xhaul and Fronthaul vRAN that allow the wireline network to efficiently carry traffic back to the mobile network.
Improved Wi-Fi = Happy Customers
In recent years, the cable industry has devoted substantial resources to developing and enhancing wireless technologies for a seamless experience. Learn about the technologies and policy initiatives that increase Wi-Fi speed and reliability for whole-home pervasive coverage and consistent throughput, allowing consumer devices to enjoy the full benefits of advances—in speed, reliability, security and latency—in the coax and fiber portions of the network.
Where: Koelnmesse, Cologne, Germany
When: June 4–6, 2019
Why: Learn the ins and outs of the 10G platform
See the ANGA COM 2019 agenda here for more information.
CableLabs Sponsors FCBA/IAPP “Data Is King”
Many of today’s most popular consumer products and services are powered by the exponential growth in the generation, collection and use of personal data, enabled by ever-increasing broadband capacity, processing power and storage. These products and services provide consumers with unparalleled personalization, efficiency and convenience. However, the technologies and practices surrounding personal data also create new dimensions of risk to individuals, institutions and society alike.
In response, governments both in the United States and around the world are under increasing pressure to develop new legislation and regulatory models to address these growing concerns. In the past year alone, we have seen the implementation of the European Union’s sweeping General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the passing of the California Consumer Privacy Act, and multiple hearings in the U.S. Congress stemming from numerous data breaches and other scandals involving the potential misuse of consumers’ personal data. Here at CableLabs, we recognize the interplay and potential impact of emerging privacy regulations on the direction of next-generation Internet applications.
In that spirit, CableLabs sponsored “Data Is King” – U.S. Privacy Developments and Implications for Global Markets and Technology Development, a recent event co-hosted by the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA) Rocky Mountain Chapter and the IAPP Denver/Boulder KnowledgeNet Chapter. The event gathered luminaries from across the policy and technology spectrum to explore trends and recent developments in privacy law and regulation, as well as the potential impact that these policies will have on the products and services of tomorrow.
The event was kicked off by Martin Katz (Chief Innovation Officer and Senior Advisor for Academic Innovation and Design at the University of Denver and the Executive Director at Project X-ITE). Katz discussed the existing gaps and fragmentation in today’s U.S. privacy regime and highlighted the drawbacks of the EU’s approach to comprehensive personal data protection legislation (GDPR). In Katz’s view, such an approach creates a significant and costly compliance regime that can stifle new startups and small businesses, and more generally, innovative new products and services. He emphasized that any comprehensive U.S. federal regime should recognize and seek to minimize compliance costs and ensure room for innovation while protecting consumer choice, trust and accountability.
Tracy L. Lechner (Attorney and Founder at the Law Offices of Tracy L. Lechner) moderated the first panel session, focused on trends and recent developments in privacy regulations domestically and internationally, with the following panelists: Beth Magnuson (Senior Legal Editor of Privacy and Data Security at Thomson Reuters Practical Law); Dale Skivington (Compliance and Privacy Consultant, Adjunct Professor at the University of Colorado, and Former Chief Privacy Officer at Dell); Erik Jones (Partner at Wilkinson, Barker, Knauer); and Scott Cunningham (Owner at Cunningham Tech Consulting and Founder of IAB Tech Lab).
The panelists agreed that the general position of industry has evolved from a preference for best practices with agency oversight to a recognized need for U.S. federal legislation. This shift has been spurred by a desire for a common compliance framework in light of developing differences in state laws and diverging international privacy regimes. The panelists emphasized that changing privacy regulatory requirements has forced organizations to make frequent and costly IT overhauls to ensure compliance that arguably create little to no value for consumers. For instance, GDPR’s expansive definition of “personal data” created a herculean project for large organizations to take the foundational step of identifying and classifying all the potentially covered data. The panelists agreed that state attorneys general could have a valuable and thoughtful role in enforcement, but they also believe that specific requirements should be standardized at the federal level and be based on an outcome- or risk-based approach, unlike GDPR’s highly prescriptive approach.
Mark Walker (Director of Technology Policy at CableLabs) led a second-panel discussion, focused on the interplay of privacy regulation and technology development. The panel featured Walter Knapp (CEO at Sovrn), Scott Cunningham and Danny Yuxing Huang (Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University). Walker framed the panel discussion in historic terms, highlighting the privacy concerns generated through the widespread availability of the portable camera in the late 1800s, through the emergence of electronic eavesdropping capabilities in the 1960s and, more recently, through the broad adoption of RFID technology. For each of these examples, public concern drove legal and regulatory changes, but more fundamentally, the privacy “panic” subsided for each technology as society became more familiar and comfortable with each technology’s balance of benefits and drawbacks.
Through that lens, the panelists examined GDPR and highlighted the high associated compliance costs, from both a technical implementation and revenue perspective. Faced with these costs, many smaller publishers are choosing to cut off access to their content from covered geographies rather than trying to comply. In comparison, large Internet firms have the resources to ensure compliance even in a costly and highly fragmented regulatory environment. Until recently, the Internet has largely matured without defined geographic borders and has nearly eliminated global distribution costs for smaller publishers. However, this trend may be reversed in the face of an emerging fragmented and highly regulated environment, reducing the viability of smaller publishers and driving unintended market concentration.
Turning to emerging technologies, Huang described his research into the security and privacy implications of consumer Internet of Things (IoT). He provided an overview of a newly released research tool, Princeton IoT Inspector, that consumers can easily use to gain detailed insights into the network behaviors of their smart home IoT devices. Through this tool, consumers can gain a better understanding of how IoT devices share their personal information. He illustrated how IoT Inspector was able to identify the numerous ad networks and other domains a streaming video device communicated with while streaming a single television program; surprisingly, the streaming device communicated with more than 15 separate domains during that single streaming program.
The event closed with Phil Weiser, Colorado’s Attorney General, providing keynote remarks that outlined the current state of legislative efforts, explained potential approaches that address key privacy challenges and highlighted the role of state attorneys general in developing regulatory approaches and enforcing them. Attorney General Weiser recognized that although curbing a patchwork of state laws in favor of a single federal one would be the ideal outcome, it is unlikely to happen in a reasonable timeframe, saying:
A first best solution would be a comprehensive federal law that protected consumer privacy. Such a law, like the Dodd-Frank law, should authorize State AGs to protect consumers. When Congress starts working on such a law, I will be eager and willing to support such an effort. After all, differing laws and reporting requirements designed to protect privacy creates a range of challenges for companies and those working to comply with different—and not necessarily consistent—laws.
In today’s second-best world, I believe that States have an obligation to move forward. We should do so with a recognition that we need to collaborate with one another and develop approaches that recognize the challenges around compliance. We can use your help and engagement and we work towards just this end.
As CableLabs continues to focus on developing new and innovative network technologies, we must continue to ensure that we have a sound understanding of the rapidly evolving privacy landscape, both here and abroad. But, just as importantly, policymakers should have a sound understanding of how the various regulatory approaches may impact current and developing technologies. Events like this help bridge those gaps in understanding.
Be a Part of the Next Generation – Join the Next Remote PHY Interoperability Event
A CableLabs interoperability event is always a popular affair—and with good reason. It’s where manufacturers from all corners of the industry can come together to test the viability and interoperability of their products, as well as resolve technical issues before going to market. Our next Interop•Labs event, focused on Remote PHY technology, will be held May 6–10 in Louisville, Colorado. Space is limited, so be sure to register before May 1 to reserve your spot!
What to Expect at the Event
CableLabs is known for developing specifications, but our work doesn’t stop there. We want to do everything we can to ensure that our specifications are implemented properly and that the final consumer products deliver the best possible experience for customers. This philosophy benefits our members and vendors and, ultimately, the industry as a whole.
At the event, we will help you verify that your device and software meet the Remote PHY (R-PHY) requirements, and we will address any issues associated with implementation or interoperability. You will also get a rare opportunity to collaborate with other vendors and make sure that your products work together.
All event participants will get access to Kyrio’s state-of-the-art laboratories, fully equipped for comprehensive interoperability and performance testing. All you need to bring is the equipment or software that you intend to test.
A Bit of Housekeeping…
The event is open to all CableLabs members and NDA vendors. You must have a CableLabs member or vendor account to register, as well as approved R-PHY project access. Each participating company can send an appropriate number of engineers, in addition to any contributing engineers from the CableLabs R-PHY working groups. We also ask that you sign the DOCSIS® Participation Agreement prior to the event. If you have any questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Future of Extended Reality
The Boulder International Film Festival (BIFF) has become one of the most influential and innovative film festivals in the United States. It might seem strange that CableLabs, a core technology company, was invited to participate in the festival’s creative conversations about the future of narrative media. Technology and the arts have always fed off of each other, but every once in a while, a generational disruption defines a new paradigm for both of them.
The festival’s panel on extended reality (XR) experience was hosted by Mark Read, founder of Hypercube, and I was honored to share the stage with Jeff Orlowski, Emmy-winning filmmaker, and Brenda Lee, founder, and CEO of Reality Garage. The panel discussed XR as a term that identifies how real-and-virtual environments are combined, whether it be mostly virtual as in virtual reality (VR), or more combined as in mixed reality, and the ever-improving technologies that make immersive media environments possible and how they can be experienced.
Discussions explored current immersive technologies, such as 360VR (looking in all directions in a static position), 6 Degrees of Freedom or 6DoF (looking and moving about in all directions and positions), augmented and mixed reality (looking through glasses to see digital media interacting with physical surroundings), and light field holographic displays (looking at true 3D volumetric media without glasses), as well as artificial intelligence (AI) and how it might be used within these environments.
The Importance of Narratives
The panel dove into what’s currently working and not working with XR, especially concerning narratives. One theme, consistent across the panel, was that immersive experiences feel much more real. Seeing a lion in VR gives the user a much more tangible experience of the animal compared with viewing it on a flat screen. But the novelty of these experiences tends to be short-lived, partly because the headsets required for them are still too bulky and off-putting, but mostly because the narrative quality of today’s titles are not compelling enough to move the needle on mass consumer adoption.
Millions of people love to watch The Lion King. It doesn’t matter that the lions aren’t real, or that the audience can’t walk around a scene. The quality of the narrative experience is what consumers demand, and that quality comes from over a century of evolution of how to tell compelling visual stories in the cinematic arts.
Games are the same way: Using 6DoF to move around inside of a game is not what causes gamers to return to their favorite titles. The 6DoF experience is compelling for a little while, but for most people, the flat screen comes back after the novelty of the XR has passed.
For XR today, there’s a big gap between what the technology can do versus what consumers will pay for, but it was unanimous that this is temporary. The clunky headsets, the limited environments and haptics (physical feedback), the dumb characters and dialogue are all just stepping stones toward smarter and more compelling immersive systems.
The field of XR, as a narrative craft, is in its infancy and requires a new creative paradigm to move forward. XR can be compared with the sophistication of the first film 120 years ago, when an edit had not yet been conceived, much less the use of different camera angles. In the gaming industry, XR is comparable to Atari’s Pong, before the 2-D joystick control made more innovative games possible. What set of technologies and content will move the needle of XR forward to mass consumer adoption?
This is a new era in the digital media ecosystem. Gaming was the first content evolution from passive television which led to the interactive explosion of gaming today, and now there’s another kind of experience on its way. The new paradigm of the consumer experience is moving from controlling the content to being with the content.
What CableLabs is Doing
These ideas are not science fiction: CableLabs is working with a diverse group of industry leaders to standardize the format for network delivery of immersive media. This includes developing interoperable interfaces and exchange formats that will be shared by the ecosystem of capture-and-display manufacturers, network providers and content creators. With the capacity of the 10G network, extended reality will scale to hundreds of millions of consumers across the US.
What does an XR industry ecosystem look like at mass consumer adoption? This is the question that’s getting the attention of the cable industry, and it’s why we’re working directly with creatives as well as everybody else in the ecosystem: to create the future.
Collaborate, Share and Learn at Summer Conference 2019
With the beautiful Colorado summer fast approaching, we’re ramping up preparations for our annual three-day Summer Conference in Keystone—a place we like to call “Faster, Together.” It’s where professionals from all corners of cable gather to reflect on the state of the industry, sneak a peek into the future and exchange ideas on how to get there faster.
Join us this summer and find out how you can:
- Get on the same page with the cable community
The agenda is packed with insightful keynotes, panel discussions and product showcases designed to give you a sense of what’s happening around the industry. The event sessions cover two tracks: innovation and technical. On the innovation side, you’ll learn more about emerging technologies and find out how your company’s roadmap measures up with industry trends. On the technical side, you’ll delve deeper into how things work and how the global industry can join forces to overcome its current technical obstacles.
- Step out of your comfort zone
Many of us are goal-oriented introverts by nature. Great for hitting deadlines, but it’s time to take a break from the office and open your mind to new ideas, even if they come from people who have nothing to do with your line of work. Or do they? In the past we’ve invited speakers from all walks of life—writers, illustrators and even poker players—to share success strategies that you can easily apply in your career.
- Build valuable business connections
Tap into a powerful network of operators, vendors, startups and industry experts who share a vision of the connected future built on advanced cable technologies. Every session, project meeting or coffee break is a potential networking opportunity.
- Show off your work
It doesn’t matter if it came from the mind of a Fortune 500 CEO or a maverick innovator with big dreams, every great idea deserves a moment in the spotlight. Book a slot in Tek Stadium™ to showcase your company’s product and get invaluable feedback from hundreds of industry professionals.
- Attend exclusive meetings
Attend project meetings that are focused on new technologies and getting them widely deployed sooner. Project meetings are for cable operator members only.
New Decade, New Possibilities
We’re excited to announce that starting in 2020 we are launching an all-new annual event—with a new purpose, agenda and location—to serve the growing needs of the cable community in the new decade and beyond. And since at CableLabs innovation never stops, we’re going bigger and bolder than ever before!
This also means that this year’s Summer Conference will be our last. Don’t miss your opportunity to attend this event—be sure to click below to learn more information and be notified when registration opens!
633 Tennis Club Rd, Dillon CO
Hosted by: CableLabs
When: August 5-7, 2019
What’s Next for Cable? To Find Out, Join us at Cable Next-Gen this March
For the 12th consecutive year, cable’s top executives, technologists, engineers, marketers, new business developers, strategists, financial experts and other professionals gather in Denver, Colorado, for Light Reading’s Cable Next-Gen Technologies & Strategies Conference. Widely known as the cable industry’s leading independent event, it is a two-day deep dive into cable’s future. Participants discuss the adoption and monetization of emergent technologies, current and future business models, transitioning from legacy platforms to next-generation equipment and software and other hot topics that’ll shape the cable industry for years to come.
Who, What, Where
Previous attendees consistently boast about every aspect of this event, from its structure to the quality of the speakers to the venue. Judging by the posted agenda, 2019 will not disappoint. Captivating keynotes, panel discussions, Fireside Chats and networking lunches will not only keep you interested and engaged for the full two days, they’ll also leave you with a wealth of new information you can take back to the office.
This year’s list of confirmed participants includes many of our members, organizations such as Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) and many other representatives from the cable community. Many of our accomplished technologists including our CEO and President, Phil McKinney, have been invited to share their expertise as keynote presenters or panelists. Here’s a list of some our attendees and their respective sessions:
- Phil McKinney, President & CEO
Author, speaker and innovation guru, Phil McKinney, will deliver a keynote on the rollout of 10G technologies in the near future, titled CableLabs Talks 10G. Find out more about how our technologies will enable the 10G platform and deliver residential internet speeds 10 times faster than today’s networks and 100 times faster than what most consumers currently experience.
- Alberto Campos, Fellow
CableLabs’ current “Inventor of the Year,” Dr. Campos is regarded by many as the “founding father of Proactive Network Maintenance.” He will share his expertise in his keynote, Coherent Optics: Beyond Bits, and participate in a panel discussion called Lighting Up Coherent Optics.
- Arianne Hinds, Principal Architect and Futurist
A video and immersive experience expert, Dr. Hinds will share her thoughts on the future of VR/AR/MR technologies in her keynote CableLabs Goes Back to the Future.
- Randy Levensalor, Lead Architect, Software Research & Development
Mr. Levensalor will leverage his extensive NFV knowledge and experience as an OPNFV Vice Chair in the Fireside Chat called Transforming the Cable Network Infrastructure.
- Josh Redmore, Lead Architect, Wireless Research & Development
As the connected home becomes a reality for many consumers in the coming decade, experts like Josh are working hard to make Wi-Fi experience the best it can be. He will join two other panelists for a Special Breakfast Session called Profiting from the In-Home Wi-Fi Challenge: Strategies and Solutions.
- Jen Shelby, Vice President, Product Strategy, Kyrio
An expert in developing monetization strategies for emerging communication technologies, Jen Shelby will share her knowledge as a panelist in a session titled Monetizing Next-Gen Business Services.
Dates & Location
March 12-14, 2019
Embassy Suites Downtown Denver Convention Center
If you’re still wondering if this event is for you, it’s simple—if you’re in the cable business and are involved in building its future—Cable Next-Gen has to be on your list of annual “must-goes.” For more details or to register, please visit the Conference website.