RDK Euro Summit: It's a Wrap!

By Leslie Ellis

AMSTERDAM–If a healthy open source community is evidenced by mutually beneficial code contributions and massive collaboration on technological advancements — like at the RDK European Summit, held here on Sept. 18 — then the RDK is in excellent shape. 

Throughout the daylong conference, attended by core RDK participants representing service providers, OEMs, silicon providers, and systems integrators, speakers and panelists recounted proof of the momentum happening around applications frameworks for video and more. One recurring trend: The tangible business benefits they’re experiencing, as they innovate more deeply with the machine learning and telemetry features in the broadband arena.

Introducing: RDK Apps Framework, App Store & Firebolt

On the morning of the Summit, a press release announced a new application framework and a collaboration with Dutch software house Metrological, designed to make it fast and friction-free for community members to onboard premium OTT video applications through its pre-integrated app store. A related RDK innovation, Firebolt, packages up a reference implementation of the RDK stack on an IP-based set-top from ARRIS International, for easier in-house development and testing. 

Steve Heeb, who runs RDK Management LLC, explained the app framework in his opening remarks, saying that the RDK community needed a common methodology to develop and deliver apps, quickly, with an open source SDK. “This signifies that RDK Management is partnered and resourced to do the heavy lifting, to make sure your app platform stays in sync,” he told attendees. With Firebolt, he explained, “you can plug it in at your lab, and be up and running instantly with the latest app framework and app store, to populate as you wish.”

“The power of the RDK app framework and Firebolt is that they give us all a way to make apps a first-class citizen on the big screen,” noted Matt Zelesko, Comcast’s SVP of Entertainment Products and a keynote speaker at the Summit. “Ultimately, it’s about bringing on new apps in a way that doesn’t require as much hands-on intervention.”

Others, like NOS, based in Portugal, said the app framework enabled them in two ways: To prep for a rollout of IP-only set-tops, and to launch 4K video content. Because content security can be different per premium OTT provider (which represent the bulk of today’s 4K content pipeline), it was important that the framework include the Secure Video Path (SVP), to satisfy copyright and other contractual requirements. “So we’re very happy, because we have the solution working, and we were able to contribute the parts we developed back into the RDK,” said Pedro Bandeira, Director of Product Development for NOS. 

The Power of Community Contributions

Speakers representing Liberty Global, which is launching RDK-based video and broadband services throughout its European and Latin American footprint, as well as Metrological, for its app store work, and NOS, in Portugal, brought word of code developments they’d needed, developed, and contributed into the RDK open source repository.

Liberty Global’s in-house “software factory,” for instance, is busily churning out code contributions for elements more relevant to European operators — like support for TR-069 for the broadband data capture that feeds its growing telemetry practice, and DSLite, for operators still transitioning to IPv6, representatives said.

Telemetry is the Killer App for Broadband

Perhaps the biggest buzz at the 2018 Euro Summit was the power that machine-level data, collected from RDK-based devices, can apply to customer care, proactive troubleshooting, business intelligence, and overall customer experience.

Specifically, speakers referenced the value they’re getting from RDK’s telemetry component, known as WebPA, as the catalyst that’s changing the way they’re developing products, running their networks, and even cutting business deals. 

Among the benefits: Capturing error signatures, to develop ways to identify and proactively correct them in other footprints; working with reverse logistics to inform machine-learning algorithms; attracting app partners; algorithmically assessing overall WiFi health; and lots more.

Watch for more RDK momentum, news and events during the SCTE Cable-Tec Expo, October 22-25, in Atlanta. Specifically, its first partner booth (#2523), a workshop on Wednesday, October 24th from 9-10:15 featuring RDK community leaders; and a vendor-focused session on October 24th from 2-2:30P.

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RDK Management is an open source consortium that manages the Reference Design Kit (RDK). RDK is an open source software platform for the connected home that standardizes core functions used in broadband devices, set-top boxes, and IoT. It enables operators to manage their devices; control their business models; and customize their apps, UIs and data analytics to improve the customer experience and drive business results. The RDK community is comprised of more than 350 companies including: CPE manufacturers, SoC vendors, software developers, system integrators, and service providers.  For more information on the tools, training, and events provided by RDK Management, please visit: www.rdkcentral.com.  

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