Welcome to all members in this our 68th year. We would like to extend a special welcome to new members, especially those from outside our traditional UK base. As you will be aware, we have tried to become far less insular in our appeal and it is significant that nearly a third of our members now reside outside the UK. Our Benelux Group continues to be a success and we have a growing nucleus of members as a result of our training activities, conferences and exhibitions in the Balkans. Our Journal now carries a regular Balkan Report as well as a separate section with papers published in either German or English; a result of our growing relationship with ANGA, the German trade association and organiser of the most important cable show in Europe. We have also grown our relationship with Cable Europe as well as being involved with other pan-European and World event organisers.
Last year, 2012 saw the implementation of our agreement with BECIL for the training of technicians in India. At Convergence India 2013 we announced the formation of a new society, SCTE India, which will operate as an independent society moulded on the traditional values of our own Society.
In the last few years, we have also changed the direction and appeal of the Society. We have always been fairly agnostic on the range of technologies we cover, both in the Journal and at our Lecture Meetings, but we felt that the message that we cover all communications channels was still not coming through. We therefore changed the name of our Journal from CTE to Broadband and at the same time added a strapline “The Journal of the Society for Broadband Professionals”. Our logo too has had a strapline added: “Excellence in Broadband”. Whilst keeping the very strong brand image “SCTE” it is our intent to eventually drop the actual word description “The Society of Cable Telecommunication Engineers” which is a bit of a mouthful and often confuses; we will just become “The SCTE, The Society for Broadband Professionals”. Both our logo and the name 'SCTE' are now registered within the European Union as trademarks and we continue expand our activities throughout the world.
Our Lecture meetings continue to be successful and well attended. To increase the audience, we now provide off-line webcasts on all London based meetings. These are hosted on the IET.TV website and typically attract some 1200 downloads giving potential for better communication with those members not able to get to the physical meetings. Regular meeting are organised by our Benelux group and we now have both annual exhibitions and lecture days in the Balkans.
The annual Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony is even more popular than ever with the event always being oversubscribed with many members not being able to obtain tickets. The re-introduction of the SCTE Awards for Excellence is proving popular and will continue to be a feature of the event. This year we vist Drapers' Hall in the City of London, a fantastic venue which formed the backdrop for scenes in 'The King's Speech'. Our Social programme is enhanced by an annual Golf tournament organised in conjunction with Informa together with a 'Society Only' golf tournament and Thames River Cruise in summer.
Our Partnership in IBC Amsterdam continues to provide the Society with additional funding and allows us to invest in marketing, promotional and other activities that would otherwise be impossible. In particular we have introduced and expanded our Bursary programme for European exhibitions and conferences. We currently offer two bursaries for the FttH event (this year in London), twenty bursaries for ANGA COM in Cologne and three bursaries for IBC in Amsterdam. All the bursaries include flights within Europe, accomodation and entrance to the exhibition and conference.
In thelast few years we have seen some amazing changes both within the Society and the industry that we love. The Society is thriving but, as always in closing, I would just like to remind you that in a consolidating European-wide Cable Industry, membership numbers are still difficult to maintain. Our promotional activities are successfully ‘building the brand’ but the sales process for membership is extremely difficult. The most successful recruitment method is always by recommendation (and a little arm-twisting, they will thank you in the end!). This is YOUR society and I implore every one of you to encourage your colleagues and associates to join the Society and ensure its continued success. Joining is easy via the website www.the SCTE.eu or, as an alternative just provide the Society Office with names and contact details of prospective candidates and we will do the chasing.
DR ROGER BLAKEWAY