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CableLabs forms security subsidiary

Mon, 11/05/2012 - 2:25pm
Brian Santo

CableLabs has video security expertise, and other people want it, so CableLabs is going to sell it to them.

The cable industry’s research consortium has formed its first subsidiary, called NetworkFX, to provide companies outside of the cable industry with public key infrastructure (PKI) technology. PKI uses digital certificates to secure broadband connections for networked devices.

Longtime CableLabs vice president of security Oscar Marcia was named to head the unit as its president.

CableLabs CEO Phil McKinney said that other industries have been knocking on CableLabs’ door for years to find out how cable manages content security. Since the organization was looking for new forms of revenue, it made obvious sense to see if the company could commercialize what it knows.

Marcia said: “The interest has surpassed our expectations. We put it out just as word of mouth, and we have about 15 industry groups interested. We think that’s just the tip of the iceberg.”

A lot of other industries are now moving to a model of security based on digital certificates, McKinney explained, and with its PKI, CableLabs is fully versed in the technology, the operations and the management of digital certificates.

Neither McKinney nor Marcia would comment on what companies NetworkFX is talking to, but in its corporate materials, the company said its capabilities “are crucial in providing online security for banking, consumer electronics, healthcare, utilities and other industries.”

NetworkFX is intended to bring in a solid revenue stream, supplementing the dues that CableLabs’ members pay, and the revenue stream the organization brings in from its role in helping to establish the MPEG patent pool, called the MPEG Licensing Authority (MPEG LA).

With the rapid adoption of networked devices, including laptops, smartphones, tablets, Blu-ray players, game consoles, connected TVs, alarm systems, medical devices, etc., NetworkFX addresses the growing need for businesses to provide consumers with a more secure online experience. The company said it can assist in the setup, governance, operation and upgrade of the digital security infrastructure for a variety of platforms.

CableLabs intends to expand in Silicon Valley, but NetworkFX, a privately held company, will be headquartered in Louisville, Colo., where CableLabs has done business since its inception in 1988.

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