Building What’s Next
(The Comcast Labs blog is a place where our technologists talk about the work they are doing, the products they are building, and the trends and developments that are shaping the future of technology. Here’s more from our Chief Technology Officer Tony Werner.)
X1 – our transformative video platform – started with a simple idea: we can completely evolve the way we deliver the video that consumers love and make it better. Building that platform required a new approach to how we tackle engineering challenges. My job is to make sure that my team of engineers, designers and developers is empowered to take that same approach to everything we do.
Our team makes technologies used by millions of people, every hour of every day. From X1, to our certified-fastest home Internet and Wi-Fi products, to the next-generation technologies that are helping to usher in the gigabit future my colleagues around the country are laser focused on building what’s next.
That’s why I’m so excited to launch the Comcast Labs blog. Typically you only hear about the work we do once it’s baked into a product going to market. But as any technologist knows, the process of getting to that point can be just as interesting as the final outcome. Our engineers created this blog to share their work with other technologists about what they’re making, how they’re making it, and emerging technological challenges and opportunities.
Some of the things we’ll talk about in the coming weeks include:
DOCSIS 3.1: DOCSIS 3.1 is the technology that will let us deliver gigabit Internet speeds over our Hybrid Fiber Coaxial network. The beauty of DOCSIS 3.1 is that it is backwards compatible, so no digging up streets or backyards. This technology, when combined with all the upgrades we have already put into our advanced Hybrid Fiber-Coax network, will provide more gigabit speed choices for our customers. We recently announced that we conducted the world’s first installation of a DOCSIS 3.1 modem on a customer-serving network, and in the coming months we’ll have much more to share about how we’re getting the technology ready for our customers. In my colleague John Schanz’s post you heard about the work he and his team are doing to build a Smarter Network. DOCSIS 3.1 will be a big part of bringing that vision directly into customers’ homes.
Open Source: In the past five years, we’ve shifted our development focus increasingly toward open source and open standards. Simply put, we think investing in open source development lets us build better products, faster, by tapping into powerful global communities of technologists who are working to advance the same goals that matter most to us and to our customers. This work takes many forms, from our use of Apache Cassandra and MYSQL to our development on open standards like WebRTC, but I’ll call out a couple that we’ll be diving into deeper detail in the Comcast Labs blog:
IP Video: IP video is the future, and we are working hard to bring it to reality as fast as possible. IP video is essential to delivering seamless second- and third-screen experiences and to supporting video experiences that are wireless, seamless and effortless for our customers. We’ll share how that work is going and what it means for our development process.
Design and Development: Starting with X1 we’ve transformed our approach to product design and development. We’ll talk a lot more here about how we build what we build, with a special focus on our forthcoming Gigabit Home Gateway, which we believe will provide the best in-home Wi-Fi experience ever created.
Process: We also want to share a little bit about how we work, from how we work in sprints, to how we’ve adopted DevOps and Agile to our three-times a year Lab Weeks, where our engineers focus on projects that inspire them.
As I wrap this up, I know there’s no way to capture in a few paragraphs all the things my colleagues are working on, so I hope you’ll come back often to see what we’re up to.