HD and the CableLabs Conference

Last week, Jeff Pulver went to Colorado to attend the CableLabs Summer conference, an event primarily for cable companies.  One of the featured topics was (did you really have to guess?) HD Voice.   To save you from a click, we reprint his article below…

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From Jeff Pulver’s blog on August 14.

Putting the Cable Industry on notice. HD Voice is happening.

I had an interesting time at the CableLabs Summer Conference at Keystone Resort, Colorado. When I first arrived I had a chance to catch up with the teams from both AudioCodes and IP Gallery and a few of the familiar faces I have gotten to know over the years involved in the communications industry.

Looking around the reception on Monday afternoon, it was clear to me that the telecom recession was over, with the room packed with vendors and about 1,000 people from around the world who made the trek to Colorado for the CableLabs Summer Conference.

This was a closed conference with the majority of the sessions only open to the members of Cablelabs.

If there was one session at the CableLabs Summer Conference that a Cable company’s Chief Strategy Officer should have been at, it was the HD Voice session which I greatly appreciate being invited to be a part of. I say this because after listening to Orange’s Vivek Badrinath, Executive Vice President, Networks, Carriers, and Platforms, it is clear to me that consumer HD Communications is a reality, it IS happening and it is going to happen faster than anyone may have otherwise expected.

Vivek was welcomed warmly and embraced by the CableLabs delegates. During his talk I was thinking of the Twilight Zone Episode “To Serve Man” where (according to Wikipedia) a race of aliens known as the Kanamits lands on Earth and promises to be nothing but helpful to the cause of humanity. Initially wary of the intentions of such a highly advanced race, even the most skeptical humans are convinced when their code-breakers begin to translate one of the Kanamit’s books, with the seemingly innocuous title, “To Serve Man.”

Sharing their advanced technology, the aliens quickly solve all of Earth’s greatest woes, eradicating hunger, disease, and the need for warfare. Soon, humans are volunteering for trips to the Kanamits’ home planet, which is supposedly a paradise.

All is not well, however, when a code-breaker discovers the Kanamits’ true intentions: Their book, “To Serve Man”, is a cookbook, and all their gifts were simply to make humanity complacent.” (if you haven’t seen this episode – you can watch it here).

Given the fact that France Telecom / Orange already has over 500,000 customers who have subscribed for their HD Voice offerings and that their numbers are going to continue to grow as Orange rolls out their HD Communication offers across Europe, I couldn’t help but make the connection between Vivek and the leader of the Kanamit’s.

If I were involved with a cable company, I would have categorized his talk as an early wake-up call and understand the worldwide Cable industry was put on notice to be on the lookout for other incumbent operators who have both a broadband offering and wireless offering to follow in the footsteps of France Telecom / Orange and use HD Communications as a platform to retain and grow their customer base.

Now is NOT the time for the Cable industry to continue to take a “wait and see” approach with HD Communications but rather now is the time to commit to residential trials for HD Voice consumer if the cable industry wants to protect what has become their multi-billion dollar monthly cash cow known as “digital voice services.”

Over the next few years, the growth of consumers who subscribe for HD Communications offered by both wireless and broadband service providers will help lift the communications industry.

“Fear, Greed and Disruption” remain my three favorite words and I am enjoying this moment in time in the history of communications. I remain a big fan of France Telecom for continuing to lead and innovate with HD Communications.

Friends who would like to learn more about HD Communications are invited to attend the next HD Communications Summit taking place on September 15th in New York City.

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