Last month, I used this space to bemoan my experience with global positioning system (GPS) navigation during the recent BICSI Winter Conference. Having gotten so wrapped up in myself, as usual, I almost forgot that a lot of real business activity and intelligence gathering took place there as well.
At the event, our senior editor Matt Vincent engaged in meaningful conversation with several industry figures about whether we will see any silver linings in what looks like will be a rough 2009. He and I were mildly surprised that it was not too difficult to find people willing to point to what those silver linings could be.
First and foremost, as seems to have been the case for several years now in the cabling industry, data centers dominated the conversation. The line of the week came from Graybar's Karl Griffith, who commented about recent reports that 39% of data centers have smaller budgets in 2009 than they had in 2008. Griffith pointed out that the “Negative Nellies” (my colloquial phrase, not his) citing this number do not point out the rather obvious—the other 61% of data centers have budgets equal to or greater than last year's.
Similarly, management of network gear and, of course, thermal management will remain areas of interest within data centers this year. As Vincent points out, data centers are still in operation and really, by definition, they're packed and they're hot. Demand will continue for cable- and thermal-management equipment within data center environments.
Additionally, Power over Ethernet (PoE) technology is likely to be a lively topic of discussion in the months ahead, as it looks like this will be the year the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) finalizes specifications for PoE Plus. That standard has been in the works for a few years, and the IEEE's 802.3at group working on the specs is in the home stretch of the standard-creation process. Vincent spoke to a number of people at BICSI who are expecting PoE Plus to stake a claim and gain market share in 2009.
If you're tired of hearing me talk about these topics and others' thoughts on them, listen for yourself what people have to say. Fortunately for us, our Matt Vincent had a camera trailing him as he journeyed through the BICSI Winter Conference gathering others' perspectives on what's in store for us this year. You can find the series of videos on our Web site (www.cablinginstall.com).
Let's hope data centers, PoE Plus, and some others turn into can't-miss technologies for this year.