Comcast's Werner: Cable industry needs to focus on innovation, collaboration in 2017

Comcast's Tony Werner addresses the audience on Tuesday, Sept. 27, at Cable-Tec Expo in Philadelphia.

PHILADELPHIA – Kicking off the general session of SCTE’s annual Cable-Tec Expo today, Tony Werner, president of the technology and product group at Comcast, said the cable industry has momentum heading into 2017.

“The industry has a really solid year under its belt,” said Werner. “The wind is at our back as we go into 2017.”

To maintain that thrust, Werner emphasized that the cable industry as a whole needs to stay focused on innovation and collaboration. He said that spirit of working together has helped companies within the cable industry start popping up alongside companies like Apple and Google as innovators.

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“We’re not competitors and it allows us to hit above our weight,” said Werner.

He stressed the importance of strong platforms in order to be successful. In particular, he said video platforms now and in the future have to be high-performance, easy to work on, agile and dev ops focused.

Of course, he noted Comcast’s X1 as an example of a video platform leading the way. But he also praised the gains Comcast has made in the X1’s development by means of its partnerships with Cox Communications and Canadian operator Shaw.

“We learn so much from these companies. It’s made the platform and the product better,” said Werner.

Werner’s mention of Comcast’s work with Shaw served to segue into his conversation with Zoran Stakic, chief technology officer for Shaw and Cable-Tec Expo program chair.

At a time when big cable MSOs like Comcast and Charter are becoming more transparent about their imminent moves into wireless, Stakic and Shaw provided some very relevant perspective. Stakic, who joined Shaw almost 13 years ago after leaving Sprint, was able to comment on the lift Shaw has seen since acquiring Wind, the fourth biggest mobile operator in Canada.

“It’s unbelievable how powerful of a combination it is,” Stakic said, referring to the broadband, Wi-Fi and 4G Shaw is able to offer because of its portfolio. “I think we’ll be able to deliver solutions for our customers that we didn’t think were possible a few years ago.”

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