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Conference provides glimpses of future

"Touch the Technology" was the theme of this year's Cable-Tec Expo in Las Vegas, NV, with conference sessions geared towards "the future" and speakers and panelists predicting the technologies we can ...

July 1, 2000  

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“Touch the Technology” was the theme of this year’s Cable-Tec Expo in Las Vegas, NV, with conference sessions geared towards “the future” and speakers and panelists predicting the technologies we can expect down the line.

“As a provider of fixed, mainly entertainment services, the cable industry has largely lived behind protective walls,” said Stuart Lipoff, VP of Communications at Arthur D. Little Inc. in Cambridge, MA. This has changed in the past few years, he says, and now the cable industry has become the broadband industry and “there are no more walls and no safe haven.”

Lipoff spoke during “Three Views into the Same Crystal Ball” — the opening session at the conference, which was sponsored by the Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) and brought approximately 10,000 broadband professionals to the Las Vegas Convention Center from June 4-7.

There are new competitors coming to the forefront, said Lipoff, and surviving and prospering in this changing industry requires “thinking and operating outside the box”, beyond the normal fixed locations and services.

He sees changes coming in many areas — from multimedia to wireless to telecommuting to gaming. The key to succeeding in this changing arena will be to roll out products that are easy to use and understand, and combine these technologies in a seamless, transparent fashion.

Echoing his sentiments was Julie Shimer, VP and GM of the Residential Connectivity Group at 3Com Corp., Santa Clara, CA who spoke about the future of the digital home. She noted that today consumers are seeing too many products and technologies that they do not understand, are too hard to set up or manage, do not address their own issues, and do not integrate with one another.

And customers have a lot to assimilate, with technologies like virtual PBX, speech recognition, streaming video, universal messaging, Internet Radio, A/V Jukebox and others that are now emerging or are on the horizon.

So what will the consumer do? Probably buy the things they do understand and wait to buy things they don’t, Shimer noted — not good news for most businesses.

However, she said companies that “tie it all together” as a single life support system or complete solution for the consumer will ultimately win in this market.

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