A year after performing the arduous task of rebranding its signature trade show into the broader-skewing INTX, producer NCTA says the event is making good on its promise to broaden its reach outside the cable industry.
"Yes, it is a little easier this year. I'm very pleased that we've broadened our reach, and you can see it in the caliber of speakers on the various stages of our show," said NCTA Senior VP of Industry Affairs Barbara York, the longtime producer of the industry lobbying group's signature trade event, previously known as The Cable Show.
"We've made sure it's not just the industry talking to itself," added Mark Bell, VP of industry affairs for the National Cable Telecommunications Association, who produces the event alongside York.
York and Bell said 35 percent of speakers at this year's INTX event will come from outside the cable industry, up from 28 percent in 2015 and only 14 percent in 2014, the last year the conference was known as The Cable Show.
Set to kick off Monday in Boston, the NCTA has accomplished its goal of making INTX look more like a glitzy technology conference and less like a traditionally insular cable-industry event.
Central to that pointy-headed shift will be an INTX-hosted TED Talk focused on "distruptions" on Tuesday morning, which will be moderated by red-chair-toting tech blog impresario Kara Swisher, and feature Periscope chief executive Kayvon Beykpour and Mashable topper Pete Cashmere speaking alongside Comcast's Brian Roberts.
The event will have start-up energy, with up-and-coming companies competing in a Shark Tank-like event cleverly branded for the Boston locale as the "Lobstah Tank" (top prize for the winning company is $10,000 plus guaranteed meetings with Comcast Ventures and Rogers Ventures).
The conference will even get brain power from being situated in the ultimate college town, with MIT Media Lab's Andrew Lippman set to demo and share details about some of his group's latest projects on Monday afternoon.
In fact, if you can believe it, the NCTA has managed to make this thing even edgier than your average tech show, with none other than BitTorrent set to make a product demo in the show's "Imagine Park" forum.
FierceCable will be on hand for all of these events. Adding to the provocative discussion, the FierceMarkets Telecom Group is producing a three-part panel series on Monday morning at INTX, focused on the collision of the wireless and cable industries, and how that will impact such things as 5G network development and mobile video.
The NCTA is expecting around 8,000 attendees -- flat with last year. It says it will have 256 exhibitors festooning 81,000 square feet of Boston Convention Center real estate.
It's going to be a big week, and we're pretty jacked up about. Hope to see you there.—Daniel