Over the years, SCTE-ISBE Cable Tec-Expo has transformed from a destination for plant engineers and the like to the largest cable telecom event in North America today. But for those worried that the show will begin to drift from its focus on the applied sciences, there’s nothing to fear. There are in fact more technical sessions this year than ever before, and on a wider range of subject matters. Rather than shifting in identity, Expo is expanding to allow for all operators great and small to share knowledge and exchange ideas.
“We’re becoming more inclusive about the diversity of interests in our market because we have also served ACA, NCTC—and other rural associations still come to us for technological solutions and training in the workforce,” SCTE-ISBE pres/CEO Mark Dzuban said, noting that as many of the larger companies continue to develop internal training modules for the latest technologies, smaller players are relying on SCTE more and more for those resources. “Collaboration is a good place for us.”
Georgia’s capital city of Atlanta will serve as the home of this year’s Expo, and as the hub for that collaboration. And just as the cable industry has changed and is changing due to technological advancements, so too is Atlanta.
“Atlanta is becoming quite the tech hub and tech center. Many Fortune 500 companies have moved their headquarters and/or tech teams to Atlanta,” Cox Communications evp and chief product & technology officer Kevin Hart said. Hart, who is serving as this year’s program chair, knows plenty about the city. Cox Communications calls the city home, and Hart served as a program chair in 2013 when Expo last came to Atlanta.
Heading into this year’s Expo, attendees will receive a heavy dose of information surrounding access networks and connectivity. “Probably 90% of the homes we pass by the end of 2018 will have accessibility to 1 Gigabit speeds through our DOCSIS 3.1 efforts,” Hart said, adding that all of the companies that have been hard at work on the standard, equipment and related access networks will have a presence at the show. “Additionally, as we think about the next generation of DOCSIS, full duplex DOCSIS, content-enabled 10 Gigabit upstream and downstream… you’ll see that in full display,” Hart added. Other topics to be explored will be the convergence between wireline and wireless and how the industry is leveraging its access points to provide small-cell connectivity.
This year’s Expo will also see the introduction of a Smart City Experience. By 2030, two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in cities, the urban population in developing countries is set to double and the areas covered by cities could triple. Cities choosing to invest in getting “smarter” have already begun to improve safety and general quality of life for their citizens, according to SCTE.
Those interested in learning more about Smart City applications and what it takes to make them operate effectively can visit a display area hosted by Arris’s Ruckus Networks, Tektelic, LG-MRI, AXIS Communications and Signify. The exhibit will include an internet kiosk, IoT sensing solutions, smart street furniture and wireless camera systems. All of the devices will utilize WiFi, telemetry and sensor technology to relay and receive data from centralized monitoring hubs.
Dzuban and Hart have a rockstar lineup of thought leaders to cover as many topic areas as possible. Cox Communications pres Pat Esser is teed up to serve as the general session keynote speaker. Other featured speakers include CableLabs pres/CEO Phil McKinney, Charter Communications svp, operations, and last year’s WIT honoree Deborah Picciolo, Cable Center pres/CEO Jana Henthorn and NCTA pres/CEO Michael Powell. Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, the US’s first African American female combat pilot, also will be on hand to deliver her inspirational message at the Annual Awards Luncheon on Wednesday.
While there’s certainly going to be plenty to explore on the show floor, the program committee organized the technical workshops into eight tracks that will allow every attendee, from the newcomer to the technical whiz, to customize their experience.
For example, Cisco svp/gm Yvette Kanouff, who’s helping to lead the Virtualization and Cloud track, said that attendees can go all the way from the 101 session “Virtualization and Software Defined Networks: Demystified” on Monday to one that examines what is being virtualized and those services themselves, such as “The SD-WAN Caravan: Expanding Beyond the Enterprise & SMB Sectors” on Wednesday.
Kanouff, who has previously served on the planning committee and as chmn of the SCTE board of directors, highlighted this end-to-end perspective as something that has her especially excited for this year’s Expo.
“Kevin’s done a really good job of breaking things apart into categories and then within the categories to make them flow well,” Kanouff said.
Acknowledging that Expo now has so many topics to cover due to its size and the rate at which the cable industry is revolutionizing, Kanouff said that translating those topics into today’s world is the real “secret sauce” of the show.
“You can go to a conference and it’s hard to put that together and relate it to how it specifically relates to cable,” she said. “We’ve gone through great lengths to take this concept of hybrid cloud or edge networks and put the examples in for a cable network just so people can relate to it.”
Although other shows have disappeared over the years, there’s something about Expo that has Kanouff believing it has a long life ahead.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re an outside plant manager, an inside plant manager, a senior executive, a next-generation network person—it has a place for everybody,” Kanouff said. “It’s very broad that way on the engineering and technology side.”
Expo is taking the first steps toward that future this year, thanks to Dzuban and Hart’s vision of helping to communicate and train others regarding the next-gen technology on the horizon.
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The annual Women in Technology Award, presented jointly by WICT, SCTE-ISBE and Cablefax, is given to a women whose professional achievements have extended beyond her company to impact and advance the cable telecommunications industry as a whole. This year’s recipient, Noopur Davis of Comcast, is breaking new ground every day. As Comcast’s svp, chief product and information security officer, Davis’ responsibilities include product security and privacy, cybersecurity risk management, security architecture and engineering and identity management. Her teams are pushing into the future, investigating the use of blockchain for IoT security, in building streaming security data integration platforms and in machine learning to build models for early threat detection.
Davis has been a steadfast supporter of women in technology. She is the executive sponsor of Comcast/NBCUniversal TechWomen, is on the steering committee of the Comcast Technology, Product, eXperience Diversity Council and is an executive sponsor of the Comcast Asian Pacific Americans Employee Resource Group. Davis joined Comcast from Intel, and previously served as a visiting scientist and senior member of technical staff at the Carnegie Mellon University Software Engineering Institute. The 2017 winner, Charter’s Deborah Picciolo, will present the award during SCTE-ISBE Cable-Tec Expo. We spoke with Davis about her career path and how it has led to her becoming one of the most highly regarded professionals in cable technology.
What does this award mean to you?
I’m really honored. I was just looking at the previous women who have won this and… what a fabulous bunch of ladies that is. I am a technical woman and we’re in the minority. It’s anywhere from 20-25% of the technical workforce. The particular field that I’m in is just 7% women. I’m really happy and proud to represent technical women. It means a lot to be part of that select group and then to really be representing technical women, and women in cyber in particular.
What kept you driven when you began your career as a woman in tech? Is there a specific point in your career that stands out?
I’ve always been interested in science and technology and math and physics, but also loved literature and music and art. I’m also a first-generation immigrant’s daughter and when it came time to pick a career, I was definitely encouraged to go the technical route. My parents always wanted to make sure that I was being trained in a way that I could also earn a good living. That’s how I picked this field in college. I have an undergrad bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. Electrical engineering is okay, but then I started to write code and I absolutely loved that. That was my passion. I got my masters in computer science and absolutely loved the zen experience that you go into when you’re writing code. I love how beautiful code can be and how challenging and fun. It never really seemed like work from then on. It was always more fun than anything else. It’s like you spend your whole day solving puzzles and the challenge then becomes how can I do it in the most elegant, efficient and high-quality way.
You’ve been a champion for other women in technology. What advice would you give to women interested in entering the field today?
As women, we’ve all been discouraged in so many ways, but we have to just fight past it as much as possible. I mentor younger women and my guidance is to just consider a career in technology. A lot of girls are discouraged, I was discouraged. I had a math teacher tell me once, “You’re so good at math, it’s a shame you’re a girl.” There are lots of ways that girls are discouraged, I hope less now than they were when I was growing up. What I would always tell young women is give it a chance. You will love it, some of you, but you have to give it a chance. Hopefully you decide that this is what you want to do. In so many ways, there’s so much more awareness now. Not to say that the path is clean and the road is easy—it isn’t—but it’s really a matter of giving it a chance and then giving it your all if that is what you want to do. Technology, and especially software, is a great career for women. It pays well, which is very important because we all have families and ourselves to support, but it is also one of the most flexible jobs that you can do. You can code from anywhere. For young women especially, as we’re starting our families, flexibility is important. It takes on a special importance in a certain part of our career. I always encourage young women to look at the field.
What sorts of myths surround fields in technology?
I think that one of the myths is that you can’t be creative in a technical field. Speaking from a coding perspective, there is a beauty and elegance in writing beautiful code. There’s user experience and creating products. Look at Apple products. Look at a well-designed app. It is beautiful. It’s a work of art. It’s creative, the way that people design the interaction of the product, the feel of the product. There is so much need for and use for creativity. I’ve met some of the most creative people who have developed some of the most creative products. And the other myth is that it’s a loner job. It’s not a social activity. You think of a guy, usually, in a hoodie sitting in a basement coding. That is just not true. It’s a team sport, nobody creates products on their own. It’s an extremely collaborative field. All those little things that are myths, we just have to get past them. The myths saying girls can’t do technical stuff, our brains are different, that it’s not creative enough, it’s not collaborative enough… the reality is just not true.
How do you handle privacy and security concerns in your day-to-day operations? What are your goals as we continue moving into the future?
The definition of security is confidentiality, integrity and availability. Privacy is really the definition of security, it’s one of the three pillars. We do focus on all three of those areas, the confidentiality or privacy of our employees’, our partners’ and most importantly our customers’ information. The integrity, which means that when I do use my information that I am assured that it was modified only in acceptable ways by authorized people, then the availability which means that we are protecting our systems from attacks and other issues, and that those systems are always available. Cybersecurity is about confidentiality or privacy of data, so making sure that only authenticated people are accessing the data in an authorized way. The second is integrity—that means I trust that my data has been changed only in authorized ways by authorized people. And the third is availability, that my data is available to me when I need it. That is what we do. We look at those three pillars for everything that we do, all of our products, all of our infrastructure and our enterprise.
Is there a technological advancement that you’re keeping your eye on for the future that’s just now developing?
It’s not as much a particular technology or a particular silver bullet. It’s as we move more and more into the digital world, there are these big changes happening: the move to the cloud, the proliferation of IoT devices. Our typical home now has about a dozen devices and that’s soon to grow to 50 if you just start counting all of your laptops, phones and TVs. Those changes are fundamental changes to our industry and the way that we access information. Those changes then drive the need for where you have to use different technologies. For example, as this number of devices proliferate and we have more and more data and information that’s coming from the new devices, applications and capabilities, you really have to figure out how to process that information. That’s when you start looking at tools like machine learning, AI and data science. From a security point of view, in the past I may have had to detect an event in “x” amount of data, I now have to detect that event in 100 times the amount of data. So my techniques have to change. That is what’s driving the change. It’s those fundamental shifts that are happening. It’s not really technology for technology’s sake. It’s technology to solve problems.
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Software AG announced the successful completion of a wide-ranging smart city project with its partner, Technology Strategies Middle East (TSME). Cumulocity IoT has been used as the foundation IoT (Internet of Things) platform of choice in the capital city of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi.
The Abu Dhabi City Municipality launched the pilot phase of a five-year project for Smart Cities and Artificial Intelligence, called the Zayed Smart City project, earlier this year to validate key use cases and its viability. The city-wide project is designed to digitally transform the environmental, social, and financial aspects of urban life to improve the lives of Abu Dhabi’s citizens and visitors.
Ahmed Abdul Samad Al Hamadi, director of IT, Abu Dhabi Municipality, says: “The Smart Cities project stems from Abu Dhabi’s pioneering vision and is designed to digitally transform the environmental, social, and financial aspects of urban life to improve the lives of Abu Dhabi’s citizens and visitors. The project envisions the future, drives innovation, and provides a ‘best-in-the-world’ infrastructure.”
During the proof of concept, there were ten use-cases spanning sensors, actuators, and Cumulocity IoT to connect key components across the city. The project was centered in Abu Dhabi’s ‘Corniche Area’ and used Low Power WAN (LPWAN) technologies to transport sensor data from across the city to a central office, where Cumulocity IoT used code-free integration capabilities to monitor and manage the use-cases.
The ten use-cases include air quality monitoring, asset tracking and logistics monitoring, structural health monitoring, water metering, Palm tree weevil detection, street lighting, smart parking, waste management, water storage tank monitoring, and swimming pool monitoring.
Bernd Gross, senior vice president, IoT and Cloud, Software AG, comments: “The Abu Dhabi City Municipality is one of the leading pioneers of Smart City innovation. They have developed a realistic plan, tested their plans extensively, and are using data and technology to improve lives – all the key elements of a Smart City. We are delighted and proud that they selected Cumulocity IoT as their IoT platform of choice.”
Software AG’s Cumulocity IoT’s comprehensive integration capabilities ensure that secure connectivity to any “thing” can be achieved quickly and easily. It operates across the Cloud, on premises and at the edge, and provides enterprises and Service Providers with total freedom and choice in designing, building, deploying and evolving their IoT distributed deployments seamlessly across any network.
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Location tracking and asset management have been among the earliest sector to see widespread adoption of first machine-to-machine (M2M) communications and now Internet of Things (IoT) applications. The reasons behind this are the relative maturity of these markets and the clear need to track and manage assets in deployment. For example, there’s a clear business case for tracking the location of a high value asset such as an item of heavy equipment.
With dollar values in the hundreds of thousands and a well-established leasing business model tracking an excavator is both a logical and productive activity for an asset owner to engage in. However, the nature of the industries these types of assets are deployed in means that global coverage is required and often this is in areas where cellular coverage is patchy or non-existent. At this end of the market, satellite communications have been routinely used to track asset locations. However, the market is now maturing to do more with that connectivity than simply present a flashing location icon on a map.
Now, the data connection can be used to monitor the performance of the excavator, log the hours that it has been used or enable predictive maintenance. Importantly, the connectivity enables new business models for the excavator industry. Instead of using IoT to monitor the excavator, the owner or manufacturer can harness IoT to enable servitization. Where once, a mining company might lease excavators on a monthly basis, they can now pay per scoop of a bucket or per hour of operation. Such new models enable greater flexibility for customer organisations and allow device owners and makers to ensure maximised uptime because they can get a clear picture of how the equipment is being used and when it will need maintenance or replacement parts.
This has high value benefits to equipment operators because downtime in a mining operation has a far greater cost per hour than the cost of leasing an excavator. The business case here is easy to identify but only more recently have increasing volumes of lower value assets become possible to be location tracked and asset managed.
The decreasing cost of electronics in the form of sensors and connectivity in the forms of satellite, cellular and low power wide area networks (LPWAN) is opening up new markets at the same time as more efficient systems and software are coming to market that enable more to be done with data collected from sensors integrated into assets. This has resulted in the technology being applied to shipping containers, road haulage and other vehicle tracking. However, the reduced costs involved, especially in relation to LPWAN networks, although cellular capacity will also cost cents per month for some applications, are enabling tracking of assets of relatively low value. Cows and bicycles are routinely cited as trackable assets by the vendor community.
This will see larger volumes of assets tracked and managed than ever before. “Overall, we expect annual shipments of asset tracking IoT devices to grow from 22 million to 70 million by 2022,” […]
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Roads and Transport Authority, through its pavilion at Gitex 2018 held in Dubai World Trade Centre, has exhibited Al Merqab smart system developed to regulate and monitor the services of the limo and e-hail sector.
The system offers solutions to one of the key global challenges and for the first time monitors journeys made by Uber and Careem e-Hail companies.
RTA has developed the system in a bid to improve this sector through the installation of sophisticated devices and technologies, such as the Internet of Things (IoT) in limos. The technologies developed will enable the monitor the scope of operations of these transit means. The step contributes to the realisation of the Smart City initiative of Dubai Government.
“By the end of 2018, RTA will complete the installation of the system in 6100 limousines. The launch of the system aims to upgrade the luxurious services of limousines. Through the system, we aim to hit multiple targets such as identifying the total distance and hours covered, and checking the occupancy and trip details of these vehicles, besides monitoring the conduct of chauffeurs,” said Adel Shakri, director of Transportation Systems at RTA’s Public Transport Agency.
The smart monitoring devices fitted to limos are linked to Al Merqab system. The devices transmit ‘Real Time data’ to Al Merqab system, which analyses and generates accurate reports. Such reports assist in taking appropriate decisions to ensure quality service and verify the performance indicators of this sector.
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