Celebrating Engineers Week: Jay Ferchoff, MTS


Jay Ferchoff, Technology Specialist, MTS Allstream

As we continue to celebrate Engineers Week, we took some time to interview Jay Ferchoff, Technology Specialist at MTS Allstream, a telecommunications carrier in the Canadian province of Manitoba, about his inspiration to become an engineer and how he collaborates with ARRIS to solve industry challenges. Take a read below.

What inspired you to become an engineer?

  • My father is an engineer, and I always enjoyed hearing about the challenging and engaging projects on which he worked. It was easy to tell that he found his job thoroughly enjoyable, and he would often talk about how rewarding it was to see a project go from conception all the way to implementation. My older brother is also an engineer, and I was always interested to hear about his university lab projects while I was in high school. I guess you could say that engineering is the family business, but it didn’t hurt that I enjoyed math, physics, and computer science in school, and I knew I wanted to pursue a career related to those fields.

What does a day in the life of an engineer at MTS look like?

  • Engineers at MTS work on a very wide breadth of projects due to the complexity of our network. Engineers can, among other things, design configuration for core networking equipment, develop and test firmware for modems and TV set-top boxes, or build large-scale systems to automatically manage and collect data from our networks. Engineers working on these projects at MTS operate in large project teams. This allows for day-to-day collaboration with engineers working on other areas of the network to ensure that all of their solutions can operate together harmoniously, as well as collaboration with other departments in the company such as the operational staff that will support the solutions after they have been implemented.

How do you collaborate with ARRIS engineers to solve industry challenges

  • Collaboration between ARRIS and MTS engineers is valuable, because we each provide a different perspective on the industry. ARRIS can provide MTS with information on how other telecom companies are using their products and solutions, and therefore make valuable suggestions and recommendations to MTS. In turn, MTS can provide information to ARRIS on what impact their solutions ultimately have on the end consumers of telecom services and how ARRIS’s solutions could be modified and improved based upon these impacts. We’ve utilized this approach with many ARRIS solutions in the past in order to maximize the quality of service that we at MTS ultimately deliver to our customers.

What are the most common challenges that engineers in our industry face?

  • One of the most common challenges is striking a balance between keeping up with rapid changes in technology and ensuring that sufficient time and effort are dedicated to launching a quality product or service.  There is often pressure to release products quickly because of a relatively short time to obsolescence, and also because of heavy competition in the industry, so engineers must be able to walk the line between over-testing/over-engineering and rushing products to market before they’re ready.

What is one piece of advice you wish someone told you when you were pursuing a career in engineering?

  • Understanding the business and financial aspects of engineering projects is just as important as understanding the technical aspects. You need to be able to approach the work from all perspectives without having tunnel vision toward the technical side of things if you want to be a successful engineer and an effective team member.

Top 5 Tech Articles You Might’ve Missed – Week of February 16, 2015

This week, Rapid TV News covered ARRIS’s end of year results, noting that 2014 was a particularly strong year for the company thanks to the introduction of several key products, significant market share gains and important design wins scheduled for launch later in 2015.

Separately, Broadband TV News highlighted ARRIS’s role in the development of the next generation 4K DVB Video Gateway program with Liberty Global, as announced by our CEO Bob Stanzione on an investor call earlier this week.

In other industry news, the New York Post included coverage of new Nielsen figures that show that traditional TV usage among millennials (viewers ages 18 to 34) continues to decline, falling 10.6 percent between September and January.

Digital TV Europe reported that, according to Pyramid Research, streaming video on demand (SVoD) revenues will increase five-fold across emerging markets between 2014 and 2019, totaling $18.8 billion in the five-year period.

Finally, the broadcast division of the International Olympic Committee does not have plans for 4K TV broadcasting of the 2016 Rio Olympics according to a story from The Hollywood Reporter.

Check back next week for the latest industry news.

  1. ARRIS claims ‘outstanding’ 2014 (Feb. 19) By Staff Writer, Rapid TV News: Gaining momentum as its own entity following a spate of acquisitions a year ago, ARRIS has announced that 2014 was a particularly strong year for its range of IP, video and broadband technology.
  2. Arris secures role in Liberty 4K Gateway (Feb. 19) By Julian Clover, Broadband TV News: It’s emerged that Arris has secured a major role in the development of the successor to Liberty Global’s Horizon product.
  3. Millennials ditching their TV sets at a record rate (Feb. 16) By Claire Atkinson, New York Post: So far this season, younger viewers, the most important audience for advertisers, have ditched their TV sets at more than double the rate of previous years, new Nielsen figures show.
  4. SVoD revenues set to grow fivefold (Feb. 17) By Staff Writer, Digital TV Europe: There will be a five-fold increase in SVoD revenues across emerging markets between 2014 and 2019, according to new research.
  5. 4K Ultra HD TV Broadcasting Not on the Agenda for Rio Olympics, Says IOC (Feb. 18) By Adrian Pennington, The Hollywood Reporter: While the consumer electronics industry heavily promoted 4K Ultra HD TVs last month at CES, the broadcast division of the International Olympic Committee has “no plans for 4K TV broadcasting” during the 2016 Rio Olympics, the next major globally televised event.


ARRIS Academy Launch!

Today, our Global Knowledge Services team launched a new training portal: ARRIS Academy.ARRIS-Academy-Thumbnail

The new site offers our customers training on the full ARRIS portfolio through 150 eLearning titles and 40 instructor-led courses that will be updated regularly. The website also offers a full e-commerce experience with simple payment and checkout options, allowing users to pay via credit card or a purchase order.

And it has built-in social media features, where we share technical articles, link to news, discuss topics of interest, and engage with our online training community.

ARRIS Academy is one more way we’re investing in our customers’ education, so that we can continue to collaborate in inventing the future.

Visit ARRIS Academy to set-up a personal account and explore our courses right away. We’ll also offer a complementary web training course for the first 50 users that sign up!

Let us know what you think in the comments below!

Top 5 Tech Articles You Might’ve Missed – Week of February 2, 2015

This week, CED listed the 16 new members to be inducted into the Cable TV Pioneers 2015 class, including ARRIS’s Alex Swan.

In other industry news, Advanced Television reported the results of new Enders Analysis research which found that total daily average viewing time declined by five percent year-over-year in 2014, likely due to a number of factors including increasing connectivity, smartphone and tablet penetration and the growth of OTT platforms.

FierceCable included comments from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s annual “State of the League” pre-Super Bowl address where he announced that the league is looking to stream a regular season game for the first time. Despite this, The Motley Fool reports that a survey conducted by Consumer Electronics Association showed that only five percent of adults who planned to watch the Super Bowl intended to do so via online streaming.

Finally, Broadband TV News covered a new Digital TV Research report which found that the number of pay-TV homes in the Middle East and North Africa will reach 21.3 million by 2020, nearly doubling from 2010.

Check back next week for the latest industry news.

  1. Cable Pioneers induct 16 in 2015 class (Feb. 2) By Brian Santo, CED: The latest class of inductees to the Cable TV Pioneers will bring 16 new members. The organization will again hold its induction banquet coincident with the NCTA’s annual trade show, this year renamed INTX.
  2. Linear viewing decline continues in 2014 (Feb. 5) By Staff Writer, Advanced Television: Research from Enders Analysis on the multichannel TV squeeze found that total daily average viewing time declined by a steep 5 per cent year-on-year in 2014.
  3. Goodell says NFL will aggressively pursue OTT as Super Bowl shows limits of live streaming (Feb. 2) By Daniel Frankel, FierceCable: NFL commissioner Roger Goodell used his annual “State of the League” pre-Super Bowl address to announce that the league is looking to stream a regular season game for the first time.
  4. This Remained the Most Popular Way to Watch the Super Bowl (Feb. 5) By Daniel Kline, Motley Fool: The New England Patriots’ miracle victory over the Seattle Seahawks was the most-watched Super Bowl of all time, with an estimated 114.5 million viewers. That rating only takes people watching on regular television into account, but a survey done before the game suggests that was how the vast majority of people watched it.
  5. MENA pay TV subs climbing – despite piracy (Feb. 2) By Robert Briel, Broadband TV News: The number of pay TV homes in the Middle East and North Africa will double between 2010 and 2020 to 21.3 million, according to a new 208-page report from Digital TV Research.


Top 5 Tech Articles You Might’ve Missed – Week of January 26, 2015

This week, Multichannel News covered the FCC’s appointment of 18 members to the new Downloadable Security Technology Advisory Committee, including Bruce McClelland, ARRIS’s president of network and cloud & global services.

In other industry news, FierceCable reported that media industry analyst Craig Moffett predicts that there will be a reversal of the long-time trend of cable losing video market share to satellite, with cable companies expected to narrow their video subscriber losses significantly in 2015.

Separately, Broadband TV News included the findings of a new Pyramid Research report that predicts that paid over-the-top (OTT) revenue will expand in emerging markets over the next four years, driven largely by the growing popularity of subscription video on demand (SVoD) services.

Digital TV Europe reported that streaming media players are expected to be found in some 39 million U.S. households by 2017, according to research by NPD Group.

Finally, TechHive covered the growing trend toward 4K adoption and highlighted that this year’s Super Bowl is likely to coincide with a spike in 4K TV sales, despite the fact that the game won’t be broadcast in 4K.

Check back next week for the latest industry news.

  1. FCC Appoints Downloadable-Security Committee (Jan. 28) By Jeff Baumgartner, Multichannel News: The Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday announced the appointment of 18 members to a new committee that will help the agency pursue a successor the CableCARD.
  2. Cable will begin to reclaim video share from satellite in 2015, analyst predicts (Jan. 26) By Daniel Frankel, FierceCable: Media analyst Craig Moffett predicts that starting this year, cable will reverse a decade-long trend of losing video market share to satellite.
  3. OTT video picks up in emerging markets (Jan. 28) By Staff Writer, Broadband TV News: A new Pyramid Research report expects paid OTT revenue in emerging markets to expand from US$1.9 billion in 2014 to US$6.0 billion in 2019.
  4. Streaming media player ownership to hit 40% in US (Jan. 27) By Staff Writer, Digital TV Europe: Streaming media player penetration is set to reach 40% of US broadband homes by 2017, with these devices to be found in some 39 million households, according to research by NPD Group.
  5. Statistics suggest Super Bowl 49 has kicked off a boom in 4K TV sales (Jan. 27) By Pulkit Chandna, TechHive: When we look back on this year’s Super Bowl, we might see the spark that ignited a boom in sales of 4K TVs—at least in the U.S. market.

Top 5 Tech Articles You Might’ve Missed – Week of January 12, 2015

This week, Multichannel News included comments from ARRIS CEO Bob Stanzione on Charter’s new Worldbox. At a recent Needham & Company investor conference in New York, Stanzione said he believes Worldbox will level the playing field for set-tops and that he expects ARRIS to have equal opportunity to bid to be a Worldbox supplier.

Separately, CED Magazine covered the expansion of WOW! Business’ 110 Mbps downstream/15 Mbps upstream broadband tier, which uses ARRIS cable modems, to Detroit and Evansville, Ind.

In other news, GigaOM noted that, as Ultra HD becomes more mainstream, the lack of standards for 4K and HDR has led to the forming of the UHD Alliance, a new industry consortium unveiled at CES last week.

Advanced Television reported newly released data from SNL Kagan that estimates that Americans spent more than $9 billion on mobile entertainment in 2014, nearly as much as was spent at the box office.

Finally, Digital TV Europe covered new figures from Digital TV Research that indicate pay-TV revenues in Sub-Saharan Africa are expected to reach $6.22 billion by 2020.

Check back next week for the latest industry news.

  1. Arris Not Boxed Out Of ‘Worldbox’ Opportunity (Jan. 14) By Jeff Baumgartner, Multichannel News: While Cisco Systems was identified as a “key” supplier of Charter Communications’ new Worldbox” through 2015 at last week’s International CES, the market “overreacted” to the news, according to Bob Stanzione, Arris’s chairman and CEO.
  2. WOW! Business unleashes 110 Mbps tier in Detroit, Evansville (Jan. 13) By Mike Robuck, CED Magazine: WOW! Business announced the availability of its 110 Mbps downstream/15 Mbps upstream broadband tier in Detroit and Evansville, Ind.The 110/15 business offering, which uses Arris’ cable modems, was previously deployed in Chicago, Cleveland and Columbus.
  3. UHD is TV’s next big thing. So why is the industry divided? (Jan. 13) By Janko Roettgers, GigaOM: We’ve had gigantic TVs, curved TVs, 3D TVs, even TVs that can bend with the press of a button. TV makers tend to bring all their latest gimmicks to one-up each other at the annual CES show in Las Vegas.
  4. US mobile entertainment tops $9bn in 2014 (Jan. 14) By Staff Writer, Advanced Television: Americans are now spending almost as much on smartphone and tablet entertainment as at the box office.
  5. Pay TV revenues in Sub-Saharan Africa to hit US$6.22 billion (Jan. 14) By Staff Writer, Digital TV Europe: Pay TV revenues in Sub-Saharan Africa will more than triple in the decade starting 2010, reaching US$6.22 billion (€5.27 billion) in 2020, according to Digital TV Research.
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