Cabling Installation Expo grows in second year

The second annual Cabling Installation Expo, held October 13 to 15 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC, grew in almost every facet over last year`s event, and organizers expect that growth trend to continue in 1998. Early estimates indicate that attendance was up approximately 20% over last year`s figure, and the number of companies exhibiting approached 150, also up about 20% from last year`s total of 123.

Dec 1st, 1997

Patrick McLaughlin

The second annual Cabling Installation Expo, held October 13 to 15 at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, NC, grew in almost every facet over last year`s event, and organizers expect that growth trend to continue in 1998. Early estimates indicate that attendance was up approximately 20% over last year`s figure, and the number of companies exhibiting approached 150, also up about 20% from last year`s total of 123.

Lauded as the ultimate "how to/what with" event when it debuted last year, Cabling Installation Expo--cosponsored by bicsi (Tampa, FL) and PennWell Publishing Co.`s Cabling Installation & Maintenance magazine (Nashua, NH)--used the feedback of last year`s attendees to incorporate changes into this year`s event. For example, exhibits and educational sessions ran concurrently in 1996, but separately this year. Also, workshop sessions included more hours this year than they did last year, and attendance at the workshops counted toward renewal of bicsi`s registered communications distribution designer (rcdd) designation.

"The changes in format increased the volume of attendees on the show floor," says Dave Janoff, vice president and group publisher of PennWell`s Communications and Optoelectronics Group. "Because the exhibits ran separately from the workshops and seminars, attendees did not miss out on any opportunities."

The Product Forum gave exhibitors an opportunity to display their products--some of them for the first time. bicc Brand-Rex Co. (Willimantic, CT) used the Product Forum to introduce observers to its new Blolite system, which uses a pneumatic method to install fiber-optic cabling in local area networks. Other companies used the Product Forum to speak about more technical, less product-oriented topics. For example, the presentation from Alcatel Cabling Systems (Brussels) focused on characteristics of shielded cabling, and Scope Communications (Marlborough, MA) presented information on the performance of Category 5 cabling versus enhanced Category 5 cabling, and the media`s respective abilities to carry data at gigabit speeds.

"The Product Forum allowed exhibitors an opportunity outside the typical trade-show paradigm," Janoff continues. "It provides a different avenue for companies to exhibit their products and gives attendees a different learning experience."

Contest draws interest

The show`s Installer Tips Contest was also a success. In hopes of being chosen the winner of a trip for two to a resort in the Colorado Rockies, attendees submitted cabling tips that save time and money. The winning tip, submitted by Ted Todd of Todd Communications Inc. (Winston-Salem, NC), explains how the use of an industrial-strength vacuum cleaner and a plastic grocery bag can ease installation of cable through old conduit (see "Vacuum cleaner helps pull cable," page 75).

Runners-up Steve Taylor of Precision Network Cabling Inc. (Culver City, CA) and Michael Zaeske of Big-Z Cable & Networking Services (Kalamazoo, MI) received tool cases in recognition of their ideas. Taylor`s tip advises installers to save the round caps from cable boxes and use them as grommets during future pulls. Zaeske`s tip explains how to free 25- and 50-pair cables from conduit by using a carpenter`s brace and channel locks. (Look for these tips and other contest entries in upcoming issues of Cabling Installation & Maintenance.--Ed.)

All entries were reviewed by a panel of five cabling-industry professionals: Dennis Mazaris, rcdd, PerfectSite Inc. (Sterling, VA); Daniel Coman, rcdd, Digital Equipment Corp. (Greenbelt, MD); Robert Lowden, foti (Denver, CO); Joseph Romanelli, General Service Administration (McLean,VA); and Mark Kenney, US West (Minneapolis, MN).

Valuable training offered

bicsi offered a review course for the rcdd examination, cabling installation training and registration program classes, and the Cabling Workshops. The rcdd exam preparation course was held at the show, with the exam following. The cabling installation training and registration program classes were held following Expo, and culminated in hands-on and written exams for bicsi`s installer and technician certification levels.

The Cabling Workshops covered three days and included topics such as standards, system furniture, testing, codes and rules, firestopping, fiber optics, residential design, and campus design.

Show moving to Atlanta

Cabling Installation Expo `98 will be held October 12 to 14 at the Georgia Inter- national Convention Center in Atlanta, GA. According to Janoff, the change of venue is likely to spawn continued growth for the event.

"Exhibitors suggested that we take the show on the road," he says, adding that Atlanta was selected because the city is "a hub of networking technology, research, and design." He also points out that most exhibitors and attendees will probably be able to get direct flights to Atlanta, easing what can be burdensome travel to conferences and trade shows.

Of the 152 booth spaces booked for Expo `97, 147 of them were rebooked for Expo `98. Booths for next year`s event can be booked by calling Marianne Lewis at (603) 891-9241, or e-mailing mlewis@pennwell.com.

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