No crystal ball needed

Dec. 10, 2019
Survey results tell us what's ahead for the ICT industry.

The article that leads off this issue takes an overview look at results from a survey we conducted across the information and communications technology (ICT) industry this fall. I'm pleased to share some results with you here.

In the survey we gathered information from your professional peers who are design and installation contractors, consultants, or professionals responsible for cabling-plant management within end-user organizations. From that pool of professionals, we got confirmation of one notion we have suspected to be true for some time: the installation of cabling for the purpose of supporting remote-powering applications, specifically including Power over Ethernet, is widespread. Only 1 in 20 contractors told us that they do not install cables for remote-powering applications.

If you're tempted to ask, "So what?" then read the article in full beginning on page 4, where we report that in 2019, at least 35 U.S. states considered legislation that in some way related to the installation of cables for remote powering. In many of those states, the proposed legislation sought to require an electrician's license for those installations. Some believe that licensing of low-voltage contractors is the biggest business issue facing our industry today and into the future. I'll do some funny math and say that 95% of contractors installing PoE/remote-power cabling + 35 states with proposed legislation = a 100% chance that this issue will hit close to home for you very soon, no matter what your job description. No crystal ball needed.

Another snippet of information from our survey relates to 5G. We asked contractors, consultants, and end-users what they expect once 5G rolls out and, in the cases of end-users, once users on their networks have 5G-compatible devices. Forty-six percent of contractors say they expect to get some business opportunities from 5G, while another 35% are hopeful for such opportunities. Consultants are less sure, with 33% anticipating business opportunities and 48% hopeful for it. From end-users, 58% said they anticipate having to upgrade their networks to support 5G devices, including 27% of all end-users who told us they expect to be upgrading both their wireless equipment and its supporting cabling once BYOD 5G devices become common.

Thanks to all of you who participated in our survey. We value and appreciate your insight, and wish you all the best of fortunes in 2020.

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