Trends to watch in 1997

New Year`s is traditionally a time to look to the future, so this month we at Cabling Installation & Maintenance will identify some trends that we think you should watch in 1997:

Arlin S. Powell, Jr.

Chief Editor

New Year`s is traditionally a time to look to the future, so this month we at Cabling Installation & Maintenance will identify some trends that we think you should watch in 1997:

- The residential market is going to grow--and commercial cabling installers should be prepared to address it when it does. Last year, for example, both Lucent Technologies and Mod-Tap introduced residential networking product lines, and a term heard more and more often in the industry is soho, an acronym for "small office/home office."

- The Internet is going to become a vital part of your business--Already most manufacturers you deal with have home pages on the Internet. Through these Web sites or the software and cd-roms that vendors are supplying, you can now review catalogs and technical literature, do take-offs and place orders electronically.

- Other low-voltage cabling disciplines--such as security/surveillance, fire/life safety, and building/home automation--are going to converge with voice, data, and video cabling--Recent intelligence suggests that both electricians and audio and video contractors have taken an interest in our market, and other disciplines will surely follow. In the near future, every building will be a "smart" or "intelligent" building, with all its wiring systems integrated into the same infrastructure.

- Accurate, up-to-date information is becoming increasingly important in our industry, and at the same time more difficult to keep up with--In the future, the single most vital factor contributing to your business success is going to be information. This means you will have to invest in staying on top of the "infoglut."

The cabling industry is in a period of rapid economic growth and technological change. To remain successful in it, each of us must stay nimble. Our motto should be: "Convert new information and ideas into new business, every day."

Some of the more successful attempts to do this that we have reported over the last year have involved installers who learned to turn necessities, such as firestopping and cable management, into new business opportunities.

We hope that each of you will be able to do the same in the coming year, and that you will have a happy and, above all, a prosperous New Year.

Editor`s Note: The trends discussed in this editorial are covered in more detail in "Trends in Cabling," a presentation given at last fall`s Cabling Installation Expo. For a copy of the full presentation, e-mail Kathy Greaves at greaves@pennwell.com with your name and address.

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