CED magazine has announced the winners of its second-annual Pacesetter Awards, which are bestowed on individuals at cable and other broadband service providers who have taken leading positions or have taken innovative “first steps” with advanced services, applications or technologies.
Now in its second year, The Pacesetters are awarded in five distinct categories: Digital Video, Video-on-demand, Cable Telephony, High-Speed Data, and Commercial Services.
By category, here are the 2005 Pacesetter Award winners:
• Digital Video (sponsored by Pace Micro Technology): Paul Brooks, senior network architect; and Matt Stanek, vice president, engineering, Time Warner Cable. Jointly nominated, Stanek and Brooks are being recognized for their early work with switched video broadcast. They were closely involved in a field trial involving more than 1,000 subscribers starting in July 2004, and concluding in January 2005. Nominators noted that both engineers have conveyed “the switched broadcast message not only within Time Warner, but also across the industry, demonstrating their willingness to embrace innovation and a commitment to strengthening the cable industry.”
• Video-on-demand (sponsored by Arroyo Video Solutions): Stephanie Mitchko, vice president, interactive platform development and technology, Cablevision Systems Corp. A handful of nominators recognized Mitchko for her work as a pioneer and a driving force behind several groundbreaking VOD-related initiatives, including high-definition VOD (Cablevision was the first to launch such a service), gaming packages, an in-house Asset Management and Publishing System (AMP), and an on-screen subscription-VOD upselling application. She and the team at Cablevision are also busy noodling a network-based DVR system.
• Cable Telephony (sponsored by Acterna): Bruce McLeod, engineering manager, Voice-over-IP, Cox Communications Inc. McLeod, who hailed from a media gateway startup involved in Cox’s Oklahoma City hybrid switched-VoIP network trial, made the leap when the opportunity arose to work for the MSO. As engineering manager for VoIP, McLeod was put in charge of the VoIP network design, testing and launch. That included assembling an engineering team and building a lab facility from scratch to test the myriad VoIP call management, media gateway and servers.
• High-Speed Data (sponsored by BigBand Networks): Tom Buttermore, vice president of data engineering and operations, Adelphia Communications. Buttermore is the winner of the 2005 Pacesetter Award for data services, but he jokes that it should more likely be “a catching up award.”
Catch up, indeed. The vice president of data engineering and operations at Adelphia Communications, Buttermore and his engineering team have managed in two years to turn a rag-tag network of rickety, undersized CMTS units into a modern cable modem plant, with high reliability and a DOCSIS 2.0 heart to fuel future growth.
The results are in the numbers. Two years ago, Adelphia had about 700,000 high-speed data customers, and that has since doubled to 1.5 million customers – but remarkably with the same customer call volume.
• Commercial Services (sponsored by Xtend Networks): Steve Santamaria, corporate vice president of commercial services, Charter Communications. Under Santamaria’s guidance, Charter has turned commercial services from a newfound interest into real money-maker, with Q1 revenues in that segment rising 20 percent to $11 million.
But revenue growth is just once piece of the picture. In addition to using existing HFC plant to deliver fiber-type services, Charter is also leading the way with wireless plant extension technologies that enable the operator to reach businesses not reachable by traditional cable lines. About 400 customers today get their data service from Charter in this way.
Although the small- and mid-sized businesses, a market “completely ignored” by the competition, is one of Charter’s primary commercial targets, the company is also doing its share of “elephant hunting,” as well, Santamaria said.
CED will formally recognize the 2005 class of Pacesetters at a reception to be held Thursday evening. Much more detailed profiles of each Pacesetter winner will appear in the July issue of CED magazine.