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HOTS 01/2000

Issue: January 2000

By: Frank Bisbee


Featured Story


Obviously, if you're reading this column, we did not meltdown in some catastrophic Y2K scenario. January is an exciting month as it opens with two of the strongest tradeshow conferences of the year. First, we have the BICSI annual extravaganza at DisneyWorld (Orlando, FL). There are numerous must-do events including a major press conference by Anixter (revealing new network test data), the GoldMark' quality and safety assurance program coordinated by DuPont, and a major presentation by CDT (Cable Design Technologies) on some of their new breakthrough technology in cabling. Let us not forget the sidebar events of golf and tennis. Many of the attendees will be accompanied by spouses and families who will take advantage of the opportunity to visit DisneyWorld, Epcot Center, Universal Studios, MGM Studios, or Sea World.

We do not mean to imply that the BICSI conference is all play. It is not a boondoggle. There will many fine presentations in the main program as well as manufacturer or distributor hosted sessions. This event also is a great opportunity to network with other "players" in the cabling industry.

Later in the month is the COMNET event in Washington, D.C. This conference and tradeshow is all work and no play. Wear your hiking boots for this event. The exhibition hall has the hardest floors in the civilized world. Over the past decade, we have seen the creation of a show within a show. Almost the entire downstairs floor has become the "Cabling Expo". This is a must-do event for major contractors and end users in the Northeast corridor. Train, auto and plane afford easy and inexpensive access to this "opportunity".

Accu-Tech continues its impressive growth and success pattern. There have been very few changes in this veteran team of professionals. President Dan Delavie has recently retired and the captain's chair has been filled by Ed Ellis (another great first-string, long-time member of the Accu-Tech team). Hats off to Dan Delavie for a terrific career with Accu-Tech.

Datacom Textron (Everett, WA) has announced FiberMeter™ the first in Datacom's new Ra Series of Fiber Certification System for field testing of premises wiring multimode and singlemode fiber links. FiberMeter is the first portable tester to provide automated measurement of optical loss and cable length on pairs of multimode fiber, Pass/Fail certification against industry standards, detailed certification reports, and a built-in talk set. FiberMeter is available through authorized Datacom distributors at a list price of $3600.

Microtest Inc. (Phoenix, AZ), an industry leader in handheld cable certification products, has announced the OMNIScanner2. OMNIScanner2 is the powerful second-generation Category 5e/6/7 digital cable tester delivering a number of usability and productivity enhancing features. These enhancements are a direct result of Microtest's 18 months of field experience with advanced cable testing and diagnostics and are designed to improve user productivity during cable certification and diagnosis. Confident of the reliability, accuracy, and durability of OMNIScanner2, Microtest is offering an unprecedented two-year warranty on the product.

OMNIScanner2 features an enhanced, easy-to-read LCD, the industry's first backlit keypad, a NiMH battery subsystem, intelligent snap-on test cord adaptors, a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port and removable MMC (Multimedia Cards) Flash cards. Microtest is also releasing a new version of its ScanLinkä PC companion software that incorporates OMNIScanner2 support and new color graphical summary reporting capability.

Atlantic Pacific Communications, Inc. (Houston, TX), a leading telecommunications cabling installation services company, has been honored as the 61st company on The Houston 100® list, a ranking of private businesses making the greatest economic impact on the Houston area. atlanticpacific™ showed a 204% growth in sales from 1996 to 1998.

Founded in 1994 by Clayton Brazier who partnered with Tony Cordaro in 1998, atlanticpacific specializes in providing professional data and voice cable and fiber optic installations through project management services on a nationwide basis. Although they are headquartered in Houston, Texas, atlanticpacific also has regional offices in Chicago, IL; Orlando, FL; Phoenix, AZ; and Dallas, TX.

Tony Cordaro, President and COO says, "atlanticpacific'' intends to continue our growth through a planned series of acquisitions of cabling companies around the country which will broaden our installation capabilities and support our national project management service."

iNNOdata, LTD will be introducing the brand spanking new EZ Mount Secur-A-Shelf at BICSI Orlando in January 2000. It is basically the shelf you've used, inside its very own locking enclosure. This item has been requested for well over a year. We hope it receives the acceptance at the conference.

Belden Electronics Division (Richmond, IN) has announced the formal acceptance and signing of a contract with the Sydney Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games through its commission Sydney Olympics Broadcasting Organization (SOBO), the Host Broadcaster of Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. The contract stipulates that the vast majority of backbone and horizontal cables used in the transmission of voice, video and data - in association with the broadcast of the Sydney 2000 Games - be supplied by Belden. These cables will service over 120 broadcast sites within SOBO's state-of-the-art International Broadcast Centre (IBC). The IBC will for the duration of the Games, become the largest, most advanced broadcast site in the world - accommodating signals from nearly 40 distinct sports venues which are then distributed by SOBO to a worldwide audience of over a billion people.

Belden, a long-time supplier of cables to the Olympics, has each time met the leading-edge technical requirements of various Olympic sites. The Sydney Olympics is certainly no exception to this rule, requiring a partial digital installation and use of the electronics industry's most advanced hardware and software.

Cable Design Technologies (Pittsburgh, PA), a leading worldwide provider of high-speed network connectivity products, has reported record sales for the first quarter ended October 31, 1999 of $187.6 million, led by 14% growth in the Network Communication Segment over the prior year, including 33% growth in wireless products and 30% growth in fiber optic products.

Net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2000 was $13.0 million, or $0.45 per diluted share, versus $12.4 million, or $0.41 per diluted share, a year ago. Sales for the Network Communication Segment were $126.0 million, up 14% over last year and representing 67% of total company revenues. Sales of enhanced gigabit network cables (Category 5e) were up 115% year over year.

"We are extremely pleased that the momentum we experienced in the fourth quarter continued into the first quarter of this fiscal year, leading us to yet another record in company sales," said Paul M. Olson, President and CEO. "Increased demand for higher bandwidth gigabit network infrastructure systems is driving our growth and this marketplace is in the early stages of a massive global expansion. The competitive local exchange carriers (CLECs) and Internet service providers (ISPs) are at the leading edge of this expansion. CDT can deliver a complete selection of high bandwidth infrastructure products for gigabit premise connectivity and supplies high-speed interconnect products utilized in the central office."

Olson continued, "During the quarter we made a number of strategic moves that will enhance CDT's strong position in the engineered connectivity cable and connector field. We launched a strategic alliance with 3Com Corporation designed to assist large and medium size enterprises to ascertain the feasibility of utilizing their present systems for gigabit transmission speeds. 3Com is a leader in Ethernet technology, and has the largest installed base of Ethernet and Fast Ethernet connections in the world. In addition, we introduced a new end-to-end gigabit connector system that can deliver up to 4.8 Gb/s, which we believe is a leadership position in the world. CDT is one of only three manufacturers in North America that offers a complete end-to-end wiring infrastructure system for local area networks."

"We are confident that CDT has one of the best and most complete offerings in the marketplace and our continued commitment to quality will result in worldwide brand name recognition," Olson said. "From a financial results perspective, we are very pleased with our ability to exceed expectations in the fourth quarter of last year and the first quarter of this year. As we enter a new calendar year and get past the global Y2K phenomenon, we feel that pent up industry demand and the necessity for increased bandwidth will result in businesses upgrading their current infrastructures. However, as most of the industry has cautioned on expectations for the last few months of 1999, we want to be careful on forecasts for our historically difficult second quarter, which is seasonally slow due to the many domestic and international holidays and extreme weather conditions in the Canadian marketplace. Presently, we estimate that revenues will be in a range of $170 to $178 million and earnings per share will be in the low to mid thirty cents range for our second quarter ending January 31, 2000. According to our market intelligence and the underlying strength we are expecting for our gigabit and networking systems, calendar year 2000 should be a very exciting year for CDT."

Former Pinacor Director of Sales & Finance Mike Lima has joined Cablesoft (Tempe, AZ) as Chief Operating Officer, to assist the company with its continued expansion and new product strategy.

Lima will oversee the running of Cablesoft's day-to-day business. He brings 15 years of management experience in finance, operations, sales and marketing. Lima's achievements at Pinacor include developing a Total Cost of Ownership offering and launching a sales initiative for small and medium sized businesses.

Cablesoft sought extra senior experience for the launch of its new cabling infrastructure management product, "CDMS", which is expected to ship in April 2000. The newly created position will also free Cablesoft's President and CEO, Pete Pela, to focus on the company's future development.

"Mike brings vital experience for the management of a fast growing business. His arrival at Cablesoft is good news for customers, partners and staff," said Pete Pela, CEO and President of Cablesoft, Inc. "Mike will be a key figure in making sure we continue to exceed client expectations."

"Cablesoft is a clear leader in its technology field and I am looking forward to making a significant contribution to the continued success of the company," said Mike Lima, COO at Cablesoft. "Pete Pela will now concentrate on strategic vision, new products and fostering new relationships. My task is to continue building the right team and to ensure that the proper procedures and accountabilities are in for the organization to meet the challenges of the 21st century."

Before Pinacor, Lima was the CFO of American Beverage Corporation, a $100 million organization based in Pennsylvania. Lima is CPA (Certified Public Accountant) qualified, with five years experience at Arthur Andersen & Co.

Corning Incorporated (Corning, NY) has announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Siemens AG's worldwide optical cable and hardware businesses, and the remaining 50% of its two co-investments with Siemens - Siecor Corporation and Siecor GmbH - for $1.4 billion, including assumed debt.

Corning expects the transaction to close in early 2000 after customary regulatory approvals. The company plans to fund the transaction with proceeds from both a common stock offering and debt issuance. Corning expects that the acquisition will cause dilution of less than 5% in 2000 earnings per share, and to be accretive thereafter.

In announcing the agreement, Roger G. Ackerman, Corning's chairman and CEO, stated, "One of Corning's great strengths, exhibited consistently since our founding, is our ability to look to the future and reinvent ourselves to seize market opportunities. This announcement is a logical extension of that strategy."

Cable Design Technologies Corporation (Pittsburgh, PA) announced that it has executed an agreement to acquire an Italian manufacturer of coaxial cables. The closing is expected to take place in January 2000, subject to customary conditions. Neither the name of the company nor any financial data has been released. The acquisition is expected to be accretive.

In commenting on the announcement, Paul M. Olson, President and CEO, stated, "We are very pleased about this opportunity to enter the Italian market. This acquisition will give us a base in southern Europe to manufacture and sell coaxial and network cables. While the sales of this company are currently under $20 million, there are strong synergies and we expect it to become a meaningful part of CDT."

Berk-Tek (New Holland, PA), an Alcatel company, and Ortronics (New London, CT) have announced that they have formed a global technology and marketing alliance to further advance their enhanced copper and fiber cabling solutions through an innovative, high-capacity, clear data transmission system called NetClear.

NetClear is designed to deliver optimized enhanced copper and fiber cabling solutions to the global market. This ultimate end-to-end structured cabling solution is engineered to emphasize maximum channel capacity.

NetClear comprehensive bandwidth solutions incorporate all horizontal and backbone products, including high performance interface cords, work station outlets, cross-connect panels and enhanced frequency horizontal and backbone cables. All components are precision-matched to work in unison for a clear and balanced transmission signal.

Berk-Tek President Kevin St. Cyr said the information technology marketplace is demanding higher performing cabling systems that are capable of supporting sophisticated applications that are bandwidth intensive.

"We are excited about this technology and marketing alliance. Berk-Tek and Ortronics both have strong leadership positions in the market. Through this alliance our customers will benefit from the advantages of having the leading cable manufacturer's products engineered to optimize the leading connectivity manufacturer's product line. NetClear will set the standard for horizontal and backbone structured cabling solution performance," St. Cyr said.

He also noted that when industry leaders join forces, they establish a winning team to offer customers not only cutting-edge technology in enhanced frequency structured cabling solutions, but also superior product development, quality and customer service.

"Ortronics has always demonstrated superior performance and flexibility with their connectivity products. Combined with Berk-Tek's enhanced cabling solutions, along with extensive engineering, solution development and testing done over the years by both companies, network designers will have the ability to offer, with NetClear, the highest performing enhanced frequency structured cabling solutions on the market today," St. Cyr added.

Allied Telesyn International (Bothell, WA) announced that the company has been awarded a contract with the Trustees of the California State University, University of California and California Community Colleges statewide.

This contract award, granted to only two suppliers, highlights the market-proven capabilities, breadth of product line and reputation for quality and service that Allied Telesyn has developed and nurtured. Under the contract, Allied Telesyn will supply a full range of Ethernet, Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet managed switches, including stackable and fiber switches, for use in campus networks all over the state of California.

The French telecom equipment group Alcatel (Colombes, France) has announced that it has won a contract to supply all the Internet equipment for SBC Communications' new $6 billion high-speed Internet access initiative. "It's not exclusive, but we are, for the moment, the sole supplier for this project," said an Alcatel spokesman.

Pepsi-Cola Canada, which prides itself on next generation products, is benefiting from a next generation network. The new system includes a 100 Base-T Fast Ethernet LAN at the company's new two-story, 65,000 sq. ft. headquarters building at 5205 Satellite Drive in Mississauga and a WAN network linking branch offices in all the provinces except Newfoundland.

inston Balchand, Communication Specialist for Pepsi-Cola Canada, said the LAN designed in conjunction with Delphi Solutions (London) has been performing beyond expectations since start-up in April 1998. "We use it primarily to process financial and sale information," noted Balchand.

He said the structured cabling solution using products from Alcatel and Hubbell and installation by Delphi is a "very reliable, flexible and adaptable wiring infrastructure capable of supporting our various technologies." Delphi is currently wiring Pepsi locations at Ottawa, British Columbia, Montreal and Prairies.

Anicom, Inc. (Rosemont, IL), a North American specialist in the distribution of multimedia technology products, has announced that its Board of Directors has granted a request from The State of Wisconsin Investment Board to be able to acquire up to 20% of Anicom's outstanding Common Stock without triggering Anicom's stockholder rights plan. The State of Wisconsin Investment Board currently owns 2,489,111 shares of Common Stock, representing approximately 9.9% of Anicom's outstanding stock.

BICSI (Building Industry Consulting Services International - Tampa, FL), the international telecommunications association, has announced a new cabling installation course designed for the cabling contractor providing installation in single or multifamily residences.

The course, RES100: Residential Cabling, is based on ANSI/EIA/TIA-570-A and other applicable ANSI/EIA/TIA telecommunications standards, the National Electric Code® IEEE and ANSI/EIA documents.

BICSI (Building Industry Consulting Services International - Tampa, FL), the international telecommunications association, has announced higher than expected student enrollment and licensed vendor figures for its Telecommunications Cabling Installation Training and Registration program.

"We have already doubled our 1999 course enrollment goals," said Richard Dunfee, RCDD, Installation Manger at BICSI. "The BICSI Installation Program has trained 2,500 students in the first 3 quarters of 1999, through our Master Instructors and licensed training center."

Panduit Corp. (Tinley Park, IL) has announced that over 1,000,000 fibers have been terminated worldwide by customers using products within its Opti-Jack fiber optic connector product family. The Opti-Jack connector, the first small form factor fiber connector, was the model for the TIA FOCIS-6 "Fiber Jack" connector standard and complies with all proposed TIA-568B3 connector standards for both singlemode and multimode fiber applications.

Textron, Inc (Providence, RI), a multi-industry company, has acquired Progressive Electronics, Inc. and Progressive Manufacturing, Inc. (collectively Progressive), a manufacturer of equipment for telecommunications technicians in the fields of wire and cable identification and testing. Progressive's 1998 sales were approximately $23 million.

The acquisition will become part of Greenlee Textron, adding to its current capabilities in wire and cable installation, maintenance and testing to residential, commercial and industrial markets.

Ortronics Inc. has moved their global headquarters to 125 Eugene O'Neill Drive, New London, CT 06320. Ortronics is part of the Pass & Seymour/Legrand group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Legrand (Limoges, France), a leading producer of electrical wiring devices with sales of more than $2.4 billion in 1998, operations in 51 countries and 28,000 employees worldwide.

The Fiber Optic Association (FOA - Boston, MA) recently elected a new president and four new members to its board of directors. On June 1, F. Douglas Elliott of Elliott Technical Services (Hamilton, ON, Canada) succeeded Paul Rosenberg as FOA President after Rosenberg served a two-year term. Elliott Technical Services is an installation, design, and consulting firm. Elliott is an electrical and communications-cabling contractor who has also served as a trainer for a number of years.

The four new members of the FOA Board are Tony Beam of AMP Inc. (Harrisburg, PA), Bob Mason of Panduit Corp. (Tinley Park, IL), Eric Loytty of Siecor (Hickory, NC), and Dan Silver of 3M Telecom Systems Division (Austin, TX).

Since its inception in 1995, the FOA has represented a cross section of the fiber-optic industry, including installers, users, and manufacturers of equipment.

Be sure and check the class schedule for Cabling Business Institute in Dallas. CBI has also added the ACP certified 200 course to their offering. The have a world-class training facility with regular classes on installation, structured wiring with Category 5 certification, LANs, fiber optics and design.

Cabling Business Magazine is ALMOST FREE. You have to fill out a subscription renewal every 6 months. If you haven't been doing this, start NOW. Subscription forms are in the magazine and on the website or call (214) 328-1717. This is a small sacrifice for such a big value.


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