Arlyn S. Powell, Jr.
Although my electronic-mail address has been plastered all over Cabling Installation & Maintenance for almost two and a half years, it is only within the last couple of months that I`ve begun to receive much e-mail from our readers. This suggests to me that you are starting to feel comfortable with this new communications medium--and if that`s the case, your timing couldn`t be better.
In our July 1997 issue, we announced a new Internet venture that is already providing services that can benefit cabling installers and cabling-plant managers (see "PennWell launches online media company," page 52). These online services include:
- Broadband Guide--Located at www.broadband-guide.com, this Web site is primarily a buyer`s guide for a wide range of voice, data, and video equipment and services. It offers more, however, than the directory listings, new-product announcements, and other business information you might expect to find at such a site. Visitors can, for example, e-mail questions to technical experts working for the manufacturers represented in the buyer`s guide. The guide is already attracting 40,000 visitors a month, according to PennWell Media Online (pmo) chief operating officer Ellen Caravello.
- Cabling Installation & Maintenance Xtra!--In addition to maintaining its existing buyer`s guide, pmo has developed a "supersite" to host the Web sites of three PennWell communications magazines--Lightwave, Cabling Installation & Maintenance, and Wireless Integration. The sites have been relaunched--and relabeled "Xtra!"--because they go beyond the magazines` current program of using their Web sites strictly as repositories of published information. The new sites include articles and other information not published in the magazine. Also, like the Broadband Guide, they attempt to draw visitors into interchanges by offering live events, discussion groups, and opportunities to question technical experts. The new Web site for Cabling Installation & Maintenance maintains its current address of www.cable-install.com.
- Contractor`s Directory--The third component of the new supersite is a contractor`s directory listing cabling contractors throughout the country. Network managers and others interested in locating a cabling contractor can search for one by geographic coverage, area of specialization, and systems that the contractor is certified to install. The address is www.cabling-contractors.com.
These online resources are just the first of many that Caravello expects pmo to offer. For example, this fall, there will be live coverage of the Cabling Installation Expo trade show and conference from the Web site.
Like so many Internet surfers, I have been frustrated by my early experiences with the World Wide Web. Informed by colleagues that it is possible to find anything on the Web, I have searched for hours for information on, say, fiber-optic installation standards, only to wind up in a special-interest discussion group that had very little useful information to offer me. I am hoping that this supersite, offering as it does "one-stop shopping," will save me time and effort--and will reward your patronage as well.