We’ve recorded a special episode with Rob Suero from RDK to round up the incredible achievements of 2021, and to give us a sneak preview of what’s to come in 2022… 😏🤫 2021 was a fantastic year for RDK, and there’s so much to celebrate. 🍾 Can 2022 top it?
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Hello, and welcome to the RDK podcast. I’m your host, Jamie Walker. And today I’m joined by the fantastic Rob Suero, Director of Technology at RDK. Rob, how you doing today?
Rob Suero 0:54
Doing great. It’s great to be here. Thank you for inviting me along.
It’s great to have you on the show into it. So obviously 2021 was a momentous year for Idk. Let’s start by recapping some of the last public disclosures about RDK adoption worldwide. Can you remind our viewers about the adoption of RDK today?
Rob Suero 1:16
Absolutely. We release our numbers every year, mid-year, and the numbers from last year were really, really great. It’s a fantastic time to be in the RDK community, we are now at 80 million devices deployed, which is a really, really large number and the growth rate. And that is fantastic. In addition to that, we have 30 leading service providers, they’ve deployed RDK, that’s in North America, Latin America, Europe and Asia. So we’re really seeing a lot of momentum there. In addition, and this is a number I like best, maybe it’s because I’m a technology guy. But there are now 500 technology companies in the RDK community. Those include CPE manufacturers, our Silicon partners, system integrators, software, developers, the whole gamut of service providers, of course, but the whole gamut of the industry. And the really exciting part about that is that all of those technology companies are bringing their engineering staff to work on RDK. So they’re innovating. They’re building new features, they’re finding new and exciting ways to use RDK and bring things to a marketplace. You know, if we were the rd K Central Committee, and we were planning the RDK roadmap, we would have wouldn’t have thought I have to things with this big innovative group of people is doing so seeing that number grow really brings new innovation forward. And that’s I think, the most exciting part about it. And so last year, these guys, these technology partners, they brought in all-new ways to use already cave for video, they took advantage of the lightning application language to port more applications of lightning. And that’s really a huge advantage for them. Because being a browser based language, they can innovate fast, they don’t have to do the native language integrations and tests that take a little bit more time so they’re able to get to market faster. We also made a lot of progress with our RDK accelerator programme, we brought new devices to market. And it wasn’t just limited to a video site on their broadband site we went from a DOCSIS or cable access network profile to one for paan and one for DSL, those were developed within the community itself. So we tripled the number of access networks that we support within RDK, which was really, really good. So I would say 2021 was a fantastic year, one of the best ever.
That’s it and sort of touching on the growth of the community and by RDK is really community-driven initiative. Let’s talk about that community in the context of broadband for the first part. So one of the things that stood out was the adoption of RDK be by operators around the world now I recall technicolour made an announcement along these lines. Can you refresh our memories about that a bit?
Rob Suero 4:17
Absolutely. Yeah. So technicolour through our acquisition, Cisco has been in the RDK community for a long time, Cisco contributed RDK broadband, technicolour, picked that up. And last year, they actually put out a press release that talked about their success with RDK broadband. And if I remember correctly, it was 1616 operators, I’m not sure of the number of deployments in nine countries. So really tremendous growth. And they’re using that RDK broadband as your base platform on these gateways. So they’re able to take advantage of all the innovation that as I mentioned, 500 companies, all the innovation that they’re bringing forward in the RDK stack. And that becomes effectively their base product. So they’re innovating, but they’re also taking advantage of level of work that community is doing and bringing that to all of our customers. And you’re not the only ones. There are other OEMs, they didn’t have the press release. Hopefully, we’ll see some of those this year. But there are a lot of OEMs out there that are using RDK as their base platform for residential gateways. And it’s really driving the adoption in the RDK Community was again, another stellar achievement for 2021.
Yeah, it was incredible having Ashwani on as a guest to understand his involvement and his journey with RDK as well. And another great example of operators embracing RDK-B is Deutsche Telekom right, there has a big deployment coming up.
Rob Suero 5:49
Yeah, so they announced in the fall of last year, they announced that they’re going to use RDK-B, on all of their devices, their whole footprint and all of their access networks. So that would be for DOCSIS, for Python. And for DSL, it’s worth mentioning that when the Pon profile was being developed in 2020, and 2021, they leaned in and participated in that alongside liberty, global and sky and Comcast. So there, they’re definitely engaged and involved with the community. But it also shows the benefits of RDK as a multi-profile, software stack. So they can develop a new feature. And they really will take advantage of these, they’re very interested in the telemetry and the feature control. So they’ll be able to do something and already Kate, and it’ll be available on all of their access networks and all of their countries. So there’s a real advantage for them to write once and have it available everywhere. But I think from from from the technology perspective, the best part about it is is that DT is so engaged, they’re not just using RDK, and deploying it and, and, you know, see you next year’s type of thing. They’re really leaning in there, they’re updating the software, if you saw Pedro’s presentation at the RDK Global Summit, he’s set up an RDK factory, he’s got a lot of activity going on. And they’re giving back to the community. We’re doing a great job. So we’re really excited. Not just that they’re using our SDK, but they’re making it better for the entire community and everybody benefits from that.
Yeah, absolutely. Right. And now I know that one of the areas that have been of interest for operators who may not have had the size and resources of Porsche Telecom, liberty, global sky, is the use of system integration partners to help deliver more of a turnkey set of RDK based products and services. Now, there was some progress on that front to in 2021 wasn’t
Rob Suero 7:50
right there was we, we have a good ecosystem of system integrators. There are two that stood out last year, made announcements to the benefits they’re bringing to bear customers at Synamedia and Tata Consultancy, that have done a lot of great work in the community with RDK service providers. And there, you know, they’re helping them deploy, you’re just helping them work things into their roadmap, but they’re doing a really good job, and the entire community is benefiting from the work they’re doing. I wouldn’t be remissed owed to say that, that that scale, you talked about, you know, with Sky and DT and liberty global, it’s important, but it’s not a requirement to be a leader in RDK. And the reason I’m saying is we have a small service provider, partner, nos, small relative to these companies. And they have shown that you don’t have to have huge size, that to be a member of the community. So they’ve been an active member of the roadmap of contributors, they’ve been big contributors. They have participated in our conferences, they hosted one in Lisbon or the last one before COVID. In 2019, they’ve held a hackathon. So you, you really can choose your own journey and how you want to use RDK. You can go it all by yourself, and some of the bigger operators can, you can, you can just kind of do a hybrid approach, and work with one of these system integrators help them, have them help you deploy or add things to the roadmap. Or you can just fully rely on them and let them drive the car for you. It’s really how you want to approach your journey, but you have a lot of choices. And I think that’s the differentiator between RDK is we look to give our community choices like that.
That’s I think, I think freedom is the beauty of RDK and that’s what it offers right? Regardless of the size or size of the business. So let’s shift a little bit over to the video aspects. Now. Obviously one of the biggest news items on both sides of the Atlantic was the induction Sky Glass in the UK and X Glass TV in the US now. I’m super excited for my Sky Glass. TV to arrive, hopefully in the coming weeks. But both have RDK inside. Can you talk about this?
Rob Suero 10:14
Yeah, RDK is a key component of the Comcast global technology platform. So yes, it’s in there. It’s used to provide the key video functions within RDK. So it is a big part of that. And I think that that is the perfect example, Jamie, of how this community is able to take RDK in whole new directions. We were focusing a couple of years ago on set-top boxes and IP devices, and how are we going to get smaller, faster boxes, and they just went in a completely different direction and built a whole new product, based on rd, Cade. And not only did they do that, but they also grew our community. And he brought in a couple of new Silicon partners, for those TVs. And so it’s really been a big win a new product, new technologies, new partners, everything about it is has been fantastic. When I think of one of the big achievements of 2021.
Rob Suero 11:10
It’s obviously one of the biggest steps in innovation for consumer devices. Right. And last year, we saw innovation around the RDK meet RDK community members on the set-top box front as well. This dive into that a little bit as well.
Rob Suero 11:28
Yeah, I can spend the next hour talking about those budgets. I’ll hit some highlights. So So we saw three new set-top boxes last year, announced they had already come inside. I like the way you said that earlier. That was ZTE smart labs and amino, they announced RDK set-top boxes DTV kit, which is a DVB provider, they’re working very closely there was tightly coupled with RDK and working very closely. And they did something if I can take a step back in your very first podcast, RDK podcast he did it with Jason Briggs. And he talked a little bit I think you asked him what’s in RDK and what’s not or something along those lines. Yeah, we have a Bluetooth stack in there. If you ask somebody who’s their Bluetooth provider, they’re not going to know, but it just needs to be a core function in the device. And we provide that. But then he talked about, I think it was DRM and voice and, and those are areas where the operators want to have a choice. So one of RDK’s guiding principles is where there’s an opportunity for the operator to have a choice, we want to have open interfaces, so that operators can basically plug and play the technology of their choice. And so DTV kit did that when they approached RDK to integrate your DVD stack, they looked at our guiding principles and said, Okay, we’re gonna abide by that. And they created an open interface in RDK, for DVB. So they’re taking advantage of it. And they’ve open-sourced that, that the next person that comes down the line that wants to use DDB and RDK, they can just grab on those APIs. And they’re good to go. There’s no bespoke integration for DVB. And there’s actually somebody already looking at those interfaces to do her own integration. So they did a really, really good job, I wanted to call them out for that. Another one of our key highlights for last year was Netflix. Towards the end of last year, they announced their De Vinci RDK scaling programme, which pre-integrated their RDK app, on top of some of our key technology partners. probably missed somebody here. But CommScope, real tech and logic sky were some of the names that come to mind right now. And I apologise if I missed you. But that was really, really important for us. And it’s great. We also hit six set-top boxes now, on our RDK video accelerator, those are pre-integrated, RDK devices that are ready to go if you want to do adopt one of those and launch it. So that’s a big milestone for us. And I’ll put a plugin for a website, you can read on RDK central.com. And then another contribution, a big one was CommScope. And again, this goes to our guiding principles. Some operators, some of our service providers, want to use RDK, but they want to do TR69 for their device management. Others want to use web pa. And so we’ve developed this concept of protocol adapters that let the operators pick which protocols they want to use to control the device. And we just put that adapter in it’s like a build time flag. So CommScope contributed a USP protocol adapter that lets you plug in an open-source USP component into RDK so you can control or get broadband through USB. So now we have three protocol adapters there. Again, that follows our guiding principles for RDD. So really really big year. On the contribution side? There are lots of others. But I think those are the big highlights for last year.
Yeah, I mean, last year, obviously, the podcast is nearly a year old now. We’ve had some incredible guests on to share their stories. The advancements with RDK have been phenomenal. And it’s been a strong start for RDK into 2022 as well. So, yeah, for everybody listening and watching Rob, you know, what’s ahead for RDK management and the community this year? And how can the viewers stay informed and connected about it?
Rob Suero 15:37
Sure, sure. Well, we started off with RDK by the numbers, right. And so we’ll be updating our numbers, I’m sure we’ll be beyond 500 technology partners and 80 million devices. So that’ll be exciting news for us and for our community. In May, Jason Briggs will be on an RDK panel, or RDP session, I think it is at an angle. So we’ll be back out in I think that’s May of this year. And then we’re going to go back in person, or at least that’s our plan. COVID permitting, for our RDK Technology Summit, which is a very hands-on technology training course. three-day course half of its devoted to video, and half of it is devoted to broadband Glee, Abraham and his team are leading that I don’t think that they’ve announced the site. So so look at RDK central.com. To get the latest on the Technology Summit in July. In September, we’ll be back in person at IBC, we’ll have our RDK global summit on the Monday of IBC. So that’s pretty exciting for us. And if you’re not travelling, or you want to supplement what you’re getting from the travel, we have a lot of good material first with you and your podcast. There’s great material, you’re bringing a lot of information about RDK to the community. So you can get all that information that RDK central versus conversing and GCS are great partners for us. They’re promoting RDK and they’re also an RDK central servers, lots of ways to find information and get more but already K Betsy starting with, with your podcasts have already case Central. That’s probably the easiest way to learn what we have coming next year. But since you gave me that tee off, I’d like to just take it a little bit further and put a small plugin for our roadmap for 2020. To look a little further ahead. Some of this, we talked about at our global summit that bet in 2022, where we’re working on a kernel alignment with the Android common kernel. And there are a lot of benefits to that, that’ll give our SOC and our OEM partners the opportunity to integrate with the kernel once and have it available for RDK. And for other Oh, SS. And then within our UK, it’ll unify. So we’ll have a common kernel across all of our devices. And that really will reduce the duplication of effort that we’re doing in each of these integrations. And it’ll free up those 1000s of engineers that work for that 500 companies, I love going back to that, it’ll free them up to do more innovative stuff, instead of working on the basic integration work that has to happen every time you want to upgrade the kernel. And that gives us a more predictable roadmap. So I think that is one of the key roadmap items for this year. Another one would be again, on the video side would be containerization. So a lot of work was done by our key partners by console Red Sky, Comcast Liberty global in developing a containerized execution environment for apps. And that is now way beyond the proof of concept. And I expect to see that being used this year a lot for deploying apps. And also it can be used for just securing RDK components inside of containers. So a lot of benefits to that. The RDK team, I’ll again point out that ugly Abraham is working with our other premium app providers to keep the latest versions of or have the latest versions of those apps pre-integrated and RDK. And ready to launch when they’re ready to go. So lots of good stuff there. And the broadband side, we have this project, it’s called one Wi-Fi. And we’re unifying RDK architecture for Wi-Fi on the RDK residential gateways and on the Wi-Fi extenders. So you’ll have a common implementation for both those devices. So that will make it a little bit easier. And again, it frees you up to concentrate on things that really add value and get the basic blocking and tackling type stuff done for you. We’re also going to bring in matter support via the existing Zilker component, Mary Kay broadband. So again, new technologies are coming in, just for the price of admission. It’s really, really exciting. And I got three more things I want to talk about and then I’ll go Give the floor back to you, Jamie. We talked about on the broadband side, we have three access networks. Those were Pon, DSL and DOCSIS. This year, we’re adding a fourth one, we’re introducing the concept of a cellular Manager, which will provide integration with either LTE or 5g depending on which wireless technology you want to use. So it’ll be a whole new access network for adequate broadband. And with that, we’re modifying our LAN or wide area network manager to support fixed wireless, and also for DOCSIS. And then there’s one other thing and I’ll do a little bit of introduction here. And that’s probably some people are I’m sure some people don’t know. But RDK broadband and RDK video, share a common device management layer. So we really reuse as much software as possible. If you integrate with 40k. For any device, you can do it for all the devices. And one of the things that I mentioned earlier that were done on the video side is the concept of downloadable applications into a containerized execution environment. And the broadband side is borrowing from that. So that we’ll be able to do that same feature. On the broadband side, we’ll be able to download applications or components into these containers, secure containers, and execute them they’re separate from the image. And where we’re innovating is we’re adding a lifecycle management component with updates to the tier one or extensions of a tier 181 data model. So that you’ll be able to control those from the cloud as well. And that lets you bring in on-demand basis features like multicast ABR or speed test or whatever it is you want to put in that container. So really exciting stuff is planned for 2022. So thanks for asking.
I think, everybody buckle up and enjoy the ride for 2022. Right? Because it sounds like it sounds incredible, you know, to be part of this journey as well. Informing the community about what’s happening is really enjoyable. And let anger, as you said is a matter of months away now it’d be great to come to see you guys. There. Sure. But, Rob, it’s been fantastic having you on the show today. really is a pleasure to have you just for our listeners. I’m sure they’ve heard it before, but can just reiterate where they can find you online again.
Rob Suero 22:25
Absolutely. I’m on LinkedIn, of course. And you can also go to RDK Central. There’s, there are a million ways to get me probably LinkedIn is the easiest one to find me.
Perfect. But well, thank you very much for your time today. It was a pleasure to have you on the show.
Rob Suero 22:42
Thank you, Jamie. Thank you for having me.