The Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) and the International Society of Broadband Experts (ISBE) announced the society has secured its first-ever patent, marking a new role for the organization as it seeks to help the cable industry compete better in the marketplace.
Mark Dzuban, president and CEO of SCTE/ISBE, told CED that securing the patent, which deals with adaptive power management in broadband networks and was about three years in the making, is a proactive way to benefit the cable industry and give it an advantage.
“[Securing patents] represents a new era of engaging ourselves and the rest of the industry,” Dzuban said. “My job is not just what have we done in the past, but what we can do in the future to really enhance our ability to compete in the marketplace.”
As a standards body for the industry with many working groups, Dzuban said SCTE is in a unique position to see many of the problems voiced by industry members and partners, and have the resources to solve issues in a way that helps both businesses and the industry itself.
The patent (U.S. Patent No. 10,139,845) addresses more than 20 ways to support adaptive power management, but is particularly focused on the ability to control and align energy consumption in the network with network usage. It also ties in to the Adaptive Power System Interface Specification (APSIS) developed in alongside SCTE’s Energy 2020 program.
“Because 73 percent to 83 percent of cable energy usage takes place in hubs and headends, the ability of APSIS to enable transactional energy use is core to cable’s ability to meaningfully reduce consumption,” said Chris Bastian, senior vice president of Engineering and CTO of SCTE, in a statement.
As energy consumption costs the industry about $1 billion a year or more, according to Dzuban the motivation was also looking at methods to improve the bottom line.
Dzuban said the patent is actually a very simple concept.
“In this case, energy is wisely thought of as being incremental to an action,” he said.
Does something need to be processed, is there a control device that needs to be turned on or off, for example. So energy consumption remains dormant until that particular action needs to be taken, and this is done network-wide and is incorporated into many different elements in the broadband network, Dzuban explained.
“It’s not just on a small deployment, this is a very very large scale consideration throughout all the piece parts of operating a broadband network,” Dzuban noted.
SCTE is following the lead of large communications competitors involved in the wireless space, who Dzuban said are “aggressively” capturing IP to give them differentiation in the marketplace, or operational efficiencies that net better margins, among other benefits.
The patent’s application is also not unique to the cable industry, Dzuban said.
“We want to make sure we hold title to that IP, primarily for our industry, but it certainly has greater application elsewhere,” he said, noting broad applications in communications and environmental applications like heating and cooling.
SCTE doesn’t plan to stop with this patent. The organization has four other patent applications in the works, and is considering an additional four to five.
“We’re very proactive in how can we enhance the value of our industry and have SCTE participate in that creation of value,” Dzuban said.
“By securing patents on some key technologies, we can serve as a vendor-neutral source that can guarantee access to the intellectual property for every SCTE•ISBE member,” he noted in a statement.