Profile: Ed Forman

Dec 30, 2002  •  Post A Comment

Title: senior VP, marketing, ICTV
Background: Mr. Forman joined ICTV in early November after serving as a consultant to the interactive TV company for about two years. He oversees the product planning and marketing for the company and HeadendWare, a centralized platform that resides in the headend and delivers new and interactive TV services.
The mission: “My job is to identify applications that are critical to our customers, work with other suppliers to the cable industry and work with other solutions to integrate them into the HeadendWare solution,” he said.
HeadendWare is a software system that resides within the cable plant at the headend and provides interactivity to any digital set-top box. HeadendWare costs an operator anywhere from $6 to $20 per digital subscriber as a one-time fee based on the number of subscribers a system has and the characteristics of the applications being deployed. “Cable operators in this era of tight capital spending are not going to spend money if they can’t see how it will deliver a rapid return,” Mr. Forman said. “We need to demonstrate to operators the applications they can deploy based on the technology and also to streamline the process of application development and deployment through cooperation with partners.”
Self-sufficiency: The notion of customer care and self-provisioning is becoming critical to cable operators and will be one of the most important types of ITV applications, Mr. Forman said. Customer provisioning includes enabling customers to answer their own questions about the service through tutorials on how to use a program guide, for instance. “A lot of customers don’t know how to use the cornerstone [the IPG] of the digital service,” he said. Automated payments, self-provisioning of services and access to simple FAQs, such as how to connect a VCR to the set-top box, could be offered interactively, he said.
The state of the industry: “ITV is fundamentally stalled, because the focus is on the technology not the applications,” Mr. Forman said. “Our job in terms of reinvigorating the ITV industry and creating demand for our technology is demonstrating applications to operators that will help them make money.”
HeadendWare availability: The product was introduced earlier this year, and Canadian cable operator Access Communications is planning to deploy interactive services and Internet-on-TV to more than 80,000 subscribers in the Regina, Saskatchewan, area using HeadendWare’s platform. Mr. Forman expects significant HeadendWare deployments in North America in 2003.