SCTE•ISBE launches Explorer program for seven new working groups

SCTE•ISBE announces its new Explorer program, which includes seven new working groups based on hot topics for the cable industry. (FierceTelecom)

SCTE•ISBE has taken the wraps off of a new program that was designed to fuel new standards for broadband connectivity and emerging technologies that are key to the cable industry. The Explorer program is launching with seven working groups that are tasked with developing each area into new SCTE•ISBE standards.

Prior to the launch of Explorer, SCTE•ISBE, which is celebrating 25 years of standard development in 2020, had 16 working groups, each with its own group chair.

The Explorer standards working groups will address:

● Telehealth and aging in place

● Telemedicine

● Artificial intelligence and machine learning

● Smart cities

● Autonomous transport

● Extended spectrum (up to 3 GHz)

● Human factors affecting network reliability

"This is just an initial list," said Chris Bastian, senior vice president and CTIO for SCTE•ISBE. "The Explorer initiative will continue beyond these seven. We launched these because we thought all seven of them are very hot topics right now."

Of the seven, Bastian said that extended spectrum was the farthest along because 3 GHz is a key element of the cable industry's DOCSIS 4.0 and 10G initiatives. Working in tandem with CableLabs, extended spectrum will first focus on 1.8 GHz before moving up to 3 GHz standards. Bastian said the extended spectrum work was in cable's traditional wheelhouse, and that work has been underway in that area since last year, including at last year's CTE-ISBE Cable-Tec Expo in New Orleans.

RELATED: CableLabs sticks a fork into DOCSIS 4.0 specification

Bastian said aging in place, telemedicine and smart cities were subgroups in the SCTE's IoT working group. With plenty of ground to cover in the IoT working group, which was launched fours years ago, those three merited their own working groups.

"Aging in place, telemedicine, smart cities have all launched within the first few months of 2020," Bastian said. "Artificial intelligence is launching in April. The last to launch will be autonomous transport and human factors affecting network reliability, which will launch in May."

With artificial intelligence covering a broad range of use cases and applications, Bastian said the new AI working group would initially focus on network operations in order to automate tasks such as node splits and fiber deeper.

"We just we noticed through Expo papers and other activities, that the different operators were tackling the same problem repeatedly," Bastian said. "These working groups are trying to bring those companies together so they don't reinvent the wheel. Not all of the seven may take hold."

Similar to SCTE's Energy 2020 initiative, the new Explorer program was also designed to bring in new vendors and participants that aren't normally in cable's wheelhouse. Bastian said it was too early to name the new companies.

"We're proactively recruiting," he said. "We have an active prospect list that we're using to invite companies into these different groups."