The RDK – the Reference Design Kit – already catapulting into the cable landscape, by way of cloud-capable set-tops and gateways – is a hefty source of industry discussion as we head into ANGA COM, in Cologne.

As an active RDK Community member, we are already deeply involved with RDK launches, worldwide. We’re also poised to contribute an open source framework for broadband-oriented RDK equipment. So with that as a baseline, we’ll start the volley of “RDK at ANGA COM” with a quick update on some of our observations about the RDK marketplace, so far.

1) It really does make the launching of cool video services and rich, web-like navigation (much) faster. Allow me to tell you the tale of our colleagues at Hrvatski Telekom, in Croatia. Last year, the customer threw down the gauntlet with a request to flex its brand-new IPv6 network with IP video services, based on RDK — with a start-to-completion timeframe of 50 days.

Other design parameters: The user interface needed to be bi-lingual, and we needed to quickly conform to various local regulations regarding parental controls over live, linear and VOD. Remote control integration needed to get done, as did the requisite testing and integration work.

It took some long days in the lab, but we made the deadline, and hereby declare that the first non-North American deployment of video over IPv6, using RDK, is both doable, fast, and hardy. Thanks to our partners at Hrvatski Telekom for taking it on!

2) Everything about it reeks of cool. Consider the little-known RDK backstory during the 2014 Winter Olympics, in Sochi, where NBC’s (extensive) staff relied upon our RDK-based set-tops to view live, recorded and VOD programming from the US. RDK was practically part of the backstage crew.

3) It’s going to go wider and broader. Earlier this month, during the Cable Show, in Los Angeles, the RDK Management LLC announced that it expects to see the RDK move beyond set-top boxes and onto a new class of broadband devices.  Cisco is playing an important part to make that transition occur thanks to our recent contribution of CPE routing software to the open source community.

We believe the code sharing approach provides great value to the industry, and our actions attest to that belief. That’s why our Cable Show news focused on the establishment of an open source framework for our broadband CPE software, including home routing, TR-69, and other components.

The intent is to enable all of the RDK ecosystem members — from service providers to consumer electronics manufacturers, system-on-a-chip (SoC) providers and integrators — to benefit from our open-source components. So that’s something to keep an eye on, at ANGA COM and as the RDK expands onto broadband and converged devices, and especially if we can be a resource to you.

I think all of this re-qualifies RDK as a hot commodity at ANGA COM. There’s more we can show you and tell you about, too. On the “show you” front, I invite you to come check out a family of RDK-based video and IP gateways, as well as our Cisco Snowflake UI, in HTML5, and showing advanced, 3D graphics.

On the “tell you” front, there’s a whole other realm of benefit that RDK brings to the service provider community, in terms of organizational culture and time-to-market. Call it “agile development,” call it “DevOps,” call it both — it’s characterized by a deliberate inclusion of how to best “operationalise” RDK-based equipment, so as to get to market with excellent, continuously-improving video products, and in the remarkably short timeframes that are igniting the video marketplace.

Do please come by. Let’s talk RDK. It’s a remarkably uplifting topic!


David Yates

as Director of Service Provider Video Marketing at Cisco