SCTE Cable-Tec Expo 2014: It’s a Wi-Fi Bonanza!
By David Alsobrook, Director, Strategy & Product Management, Cisco’s Connected Devices BU
If there’s one thing that is absolutely unmistakable, going into this week’s IBC conference in Amsterdam, it’s the proliferation of Wi-Fi – a technology that’s also a service, and the industry’s ticket to providing wireless broadband connectivity that simultaneously rivals mobile, and tightens consumer loyalty.
Note: I’m not the cheerleader type, and as such don’t use the word “bonanza” loosely. By definition it is “a situation or event that creates a sudden increase in wealth, good fortune, or profits.” That fits. Let’s go literal about the increase in wealth, good fortune, or profits. Here’s an impressive supporting number for you: As of this moment, we’ve shipped 6.8 million Wi-Fi-set-tops.
Customers — ours, and theirs — love it. Our service provider customers love it because the installation is swift and clean (no wires!). Their consumer customers, love it because they can locate the TV where they want, and the without worrying they are near a wall outlet.
Most recently (last month), our customer Telefonica Vivo, a major service provider in Brazil, launched our ISB7105 wireless set-top for its Vivo TV Fibra service. Lifting from that release, Telefonica Vivo Director of Video Rafael Sgrott said: “We bring to the customers the ability to shift the TV (location) point to anywhere they want, without the need to call a technician.”
The Telefonica Vivo news is a milestone: It’s our first launch of the wireless set-tops outside of North America. In North America, we’ve announced we are supplying Wi-Fi set-tops to Telus and AT&T — who, by the way, are deploying our second generation of Wi-Fi set-tops. There are others in North America and in Europe we hope to announce soon.
So that’s big, for us, and thank you Telefonica Vivo — we’re sincerely grateful for those opportunities that help our service provider customers to expand their connectivity footprint, and their customer loyalty.
But wait! There’s more. All summer, we’ve been busy developing and building new kinds of Wi-Fi products. For instance: Wi-Fi set-tops that can act as wireless receivers or access points, wireless gateways that have allowed our customers to achieve the highest in-home wireless connectivity ratings, and wireless extenders that will improve wireless connectivity within a home — to every nook and cranny. The basement, the back bedroom, you name it. Wi-Fi is there.
So: Nearly 7 million Wi-Fi-enabled set-top boxes in the field; Global expansion into Latin America, with more coming; New Wi-Fi-equipped versions coming that are small, affordable, and solve real consumer problems; I think that qualifies as a bonanza. Come see for yourself! Visit us at #scteExpo, booth 1460 in Denver this week and see our latest WiFi prototypes in action.
But don’t just take my word for it…Check out this video interview featuring Cisco’s Ken Morse, CTO of Connected Devices Business Unit, as part of the recently launched Cisco SPotlight video series. (You can watch the inaugural video featuring Joe Chow here.)
In addition to discussing how Cisco is working with its SP customers to address bandwidth/Wi-Fi challenges in the home — as the number of managed / unmanaged devices is on the upswing, he highlights Cisco’s Videoscape TV services delivery platform and the importance of injecting a “dose of simplicity” into the solutions — think virtualizing, moving a lot of functionalities to the cloud, to enable faster roll out of new services like 4K/ultraHD and others. Be sure to check the SP360 blog this week for more videos!