Part IV: Transitioning technology and the road ahead

FierceTelecom: What are the major applications you're running over IPTV?
Demuth: Just even the things you can do with whole home DVRs or remote DVR capabilities. Those are more challenging over a traditional plant. Even though you can do it on a variety of systems, it's very easy in the IP world. The ability to repurpose that content now, whether it's for your TV, PC or wireless, becomes a lot more doable from an operations standpoint if you're using IP.

FierceTelecom: Outside of the residential market, how do you see business services transitioning?
Demuth: I think we have done a good job evolving our capabilities with SIP trunking, which are the types of things that large and small businesses want. We have some hosted IP PBX services we're in the process of rolling out. We'll continue to evolve those. I think we continue to look at what is that consumer demand. In some cases, customers need the ability to haul much more bandwidth over their network and in other cases they need to replace legacy equipment (i.e. routers and switches). We want to make sure we have the interfaces and capabilities in place so when they're ready to make those decisions we can meet that demand.

FierceTelecom: Given your long experience in the industry, what do you think are going to be the main challenges for the industry in the next few years?
Demuth: We spoke a lot on our call about technology. One of the technology challenges is going to be in the home itself and how to get that content moved from device to device and simplify that consumer experience. We don't want it where we have to understand technology at a high level in order to put the services in their home; we want to make it more or less plug and play. There are some opportunities there for service providers on the technology front to continue to enhance the capabilities there.

Then, I think on the business side, they'll have to move at a fast enough pace to differentiate their services, provide access to viable content. Content will always be an important part of our business. Making that content easily discoverable is equally important. It's one thing, for instance, if you have 300 channels of content, but if it's not viable content they can't easily discover they're not going to spend the time. I think those are the types of challenges service providers will have in the next few years.

FierceTelecom: Of course, we have to ask what's next for you?
Demuth: That's the 64,000 dollar question isn't it? Right now, retirement is the plan. I have been involved in the industry for so long that I feel my biggest accomplishment is establishing those friendships and relationships. It's hard for me to walk away from it. As my wife tells me, 'Bill, I know you won't be able to just sit at home, so vacation and travel will help keep your mind occupied.' I could see something in the future where I could step back in some roles to keep my toes in the water.

Part IV: Transitioning technology and the road ahead