Arlyn S. Powell, Jr.
Group Editorial Director
This past year, we`ve shone the spotlight on two important business groups in the cabling industry. Last December, we covered the cabling contractor, as presented at our first annual Structured Cabling Marketplace seminar; in July, we highlighted the voice/data distributor in a special supplement to Cabling Installation & Maintenance.
This month, the subject of our Special Report is the end user--the network or cable-plant manager responsible for installing and maintaining the communications infrastructure at a corporation or institution. Once again, the profile we present is based on original research conducted by the magazine last summer and presented this fall at a market seminar held in conjunction with Cabling Installation Expo.
There is room here for only a few of the most significant data points.
•Fully one-half (50%) of our end-user survey respondents said their organizations preferred to work with a single manufacturer`s end-to-end cabling solution, while more than two out of five (42%) indicated that they preferred to work with a single distributor`s product lines and recommendations.
•Almost two-thirds (66%) of the end users surveyed stated it was important to their organization that a major cable-plant upgrade or installation be installed by registered or certified installers.
•What is the typical life span of a cable plant? Almost two-thirds of our survey participants (63%) projected a major cable-plant upgrade or new installation within the next two years, with 26% stating that a project was currently underway, 18% forecasting a project within the next 12 months, and 20% foreseeing one within one to two years.
•And what about fiber-to-the-desk? A widely quoted survey published several years ago predicted that optical fiber would be running neck-and-neck with copper wiring in the horizontal by the millennium, but our survey said differently. The end users we polled said their next major upgrade or installation would be shielded or unshielded twisted-pair in horizontal runs in 69% of the projects, optical fiber of any type in 23%, coaxial cable in 3%, and wireless infrastructure in 3%.
These research results contain some surprises for me, personally, and in some cases they are at odds with the opinions of cabling contractors as reported last December. However, one thing is certain about them: They represent the viewpoints of the single-most-important business group in the cabling-and-components buying cycle. Wherever the buck (by which I mean the dollar, of course) may stop, it begins with the end user, with the network or cable-plant manager in corporations, retailers, schools and universities, health care facilities, industrial complexes, nonprofit organizations, and government and military facilities.
Communications & Optoelectronics Group publishes millennium supplement
PennWell`s Communications & Optoelectronics Group (Nashua, NH) has announced it will publish a supplement, "Technology for the New Millennium," which will be mailed with all of the group`s major U.S. publications in the winter of 2000. The supplement will include forecasts of high-technology trends by the chief editors of eight of the group`s publications: Cabling Installation & Maintenance, Industrial Laser Solutions for Manufacturers, Integrated Communications Design, Laser Focus World, Lightwave, OSP Engineering & Construction, Vision Systems Design, and Wireless Integration. According to senior vice president and group publisher David Janoff, the supplement will be mailed to more than 180,000 different readers, along with copies of their regular winter issues.