CableLabs eyes classrooms of the future

Aug. 23, 2018
CableLabs' third annual Near Future film debuted during the summer meetings in August. The goal of the productions is to turn the conversation from bits and bytes to one that conveys the impact of tech ...

CableLabs' third annual Near Future film debuted during the summer meetings in August. The goal of the productions is to turn the conversation from bits and bytes to one that conveys the impact of tech on daily life. This year's iteration delved into the topic of education and how students can be prepared to use technology to solve problems that might not even exist today.

"(There is a) struggle to match learning styles to the way (kids) best retain (information)," said Phil McKinney, CableLabs CEO. "Part of what we show (in the films) is the flexibility to experience and learn and be curious in whatever mode or method is best for them …. All the technologies (in the film) are under research at CableLabs or university partners or with companies we are doing co-innovation with."

In the film, an elementary school interacts with a variety of technology, including a personal assistant, Dot, virtual reality apps that allow her to interact not only with the subject at hand, but also with kids all over the world, and video displays that show experiments with color.

"(Technology) allows for social interaction. This is education from a global role, not just what you can throw into a classroom," McKinney said. "It allows kids all over the world to be classmates even though they are in completely different time zones."

As for bandwidth, McKinney said the pieces of technology in the movie can all be delivered over a DOCSIS 3.1 network with full duplex as symmetrical throughput is needed for video walls and lightfield displays, for example. He noted that the light-field holodeck would be the only thing that would "push" the bandwidth. For 18-24 inches in size, there would need for sustained network speed of 800 Mbps.

"(But) you should be able to do everything on a 10 Gbps symmetrical link," McKinney said.

The near future also promises new extensions for DOCSIS 3.1, like low latency 5G, that will enable very high speed 5G wireless.

"That is a technology for the future," McKinney said.

Last year's film highlighted the health industry and how an aging population can live a longer, independent life at home. "It has triggered a lot of conversation across the industry," McKinney said.

The first film, which premiered in 2016, dealt with the consumer home and how consumers will utilize 1 Gbps Internet service if they had access to it.