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HOTS 12/1997

Issue: December 1997

By: Frank Bisbee

Featured Story

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! We wish you and your families a safe and wonderful Holiday Season. We thank you for your patronage and support. The vendors and readers have contributed many valuable ideas to improve the content. Today, Cabling Business Magazine is #1 and it keeps getting better. Please don't stop sending in your suggestions and new materials.

Graybar® (St. Louis, MO. ) has recently rolled out the Lucent Technologies SYSTIMAX® GigaSpeed™ Structured Connectivity Solutions (SCS). This package includes outlets, patch cords, cable, and patch panels. This product solution may offer end users the capability of operating at data rates of up to 1.0 Gbps Ethernet and 1.2 Gbps ATM. Please note that industry standards for gigabit Ethernet are not finalized at this time. We may expect more exciting high speed packages from Graybar and their respected competitors.

NECA (National Electrical Contractors Association had their annual conference at Miami Beach, FL in October. The conference and Exposition was an unqualified success. Many of the Contractors which we spoke with were focused on increasing their revenue stream from communications cabling opportunities. At the expo, the booths which focused on communications received a great deal of interest from the attendees. The bonus of the conference was the Sunday late night final game of the World Series. Miami's victory brought out immediate street festival spirit, which was continued with a huge Victory Parade on the next day. Add to that, the late Monday night NFL game; all the sports viewers were obvious by the dark circles under their eyes on Tuesday morning. We expect the communications cabling business trend at NECA to only increase in '98. You may wish to add this conference to your datebook, October 18-20, 1998 - Las Vegas Convention Center.

Training is mandatory in our rapidly changing business. The cost of travel and lodging often makes training opportunities unaffordable. In this environment, many organizations are adding interactive multimedia technical training packages (with great success). Pleiadian International Inc., (St. Augustine, FL 904-826-0509 or is an interactive multimedia software development company. We interviewed Kim Sartor, VP Technical Development, at the NECA conference. Ms. Sartor showed us some outstanding examples of their technical training materials, catalogs and promotional pieces... All on CD. Vendors and training organizations take note of this affordable opportunity to increase your coverage and capability. Catalogs on CD are easier and faster to work with.

BICC Cables Corporation has named George N. Benjamin III as president of BICC Brand-Rex Company and vice president of BICC Cables Corp. The newly aligned BICC BRand-Rex is being expanded to encompass all of the company's thousands of fiber optic and copper wire and cable products for telecommunications, as well as industrial, construction, mining, transit, military, marine, control and instrumentation markets in North America.

George Benjamin's roots in the wire and cable as well as communications industries include the previous decade (1976-1987) in senior management positions with divisions of the company that evolved from Anaconda Wire & Cable Company to Anaconda-Ericsson to Ericsson, Inc. During his tenure (1985-1987) as president in charge of three operating divisions of Ericsson, Inc., sales more than quadrupled..

With four wire and cable manufacturing facilities in four states, BICC Brand-Rex will maintain headquarters at its complex in Willimantic, Connecticut. BICC Brand-Rex is a business unit of BICC Cables Corporation, based in West Nyack, New York, wholly owned by BICC plc, a $7.5 billion international cables, engineering (Balfour Beatty), construction and infrastructure technologies company headquartered in London.

A Big Thank You to Bill Minnis, RCDD, (BICSI News October 1997) for the article "The Non-Decision Decision - Beyond CAT 5". He captured the essence of the issue and confusion facing the marketplace and our cabling industry. One thing for sure... technology marches on and no one can stop it! Anixter Levels '97 Program is the current benchmark for establishing performance requirements and purchasing specifications beyond those of the current EIA/TIA Category 5 standard.

Cabling Workshop and Cabling Installation Expo '97 (Charlotte, NC - October '97), the attendance was much lighter than earlier forecasts in spite of an excellent program. Training is high on many agendas but it's close to the end of the year and many travel and training budgets are emaciated. Look for more correspondence courses for the cost conscious. We understand that the Association of Cabling Professionals (Jacksonville, FL 904-645-6018) will be rolling out some home study courses for installers in the first quarter of 1998.

There are a great deal of questions about gigabit communications and, frankly, some of the answers are confusing even to the techno-weenies. Recently we saw a pamphlet produced by Berk-Tek which address the most frequently asked questions on this new area of high speed and powerful technology. You can call 1-800-BERK-TEK to request a copy. It will sure help you explain the technology to your staff and customers. REMEMBER: you can't sell solutions to someone who doesn't understand the challenge or the problem!

Prestolite Wire Corporation is expanding their main manufacturing facility in Sidney, NE. The demand for their high performance product, NETLink 2000™ cable has soared but so has their capability to deliver. Keep an eye on Prestolite for their new gigabit cable product. Check their website for breaking news and information requests:

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) has enhanced their LAN program and cable testing to 350 MHz and beyond. In order to meet the growing demand, UL has made several changes to its LAN cable Verification program. In addition to purchasing automated equipment to reduce testing time for this cable by 25 percent, UL will now provide testing to the first of what may be several new industry specifications for high-performance LAN cable. This type of higher speed, higher capacity cable - which is capable of operating at frequencies of 300 MHz and beyond - will be used in systems of advanced design for new computer applications.

Anicom, Inc.(Rosemont, IL) a national leader and specialist in the distribution of multimedia wiring products, announced its 11th acquisition (since July, 1995) with the purchase of Zack-Datacom, the voice and data division of Zack Electronic, Inc.

Zack-Datacom, a San Jose, CA. based company with additional locations in Sacramento and Los Angeles, is a leader in the sale and distribution of multimedia low voltage products. Zack-Datacom had net sales of approximately $10 million in fiscal 1996. The purchase price of $4.7 million included a combination of $1.5 million in cash and $3.2 million in stock. Scott C. Anixter, Anicom Chairman and CEO, commenting on the acquisition stated, "This will help amplify our efforts in the ever-important California market. We are continuing our integrated growth strategy and pursuing other acquisition opportunities as they develop."

The rapid advances in technology, speed, and new applications have challenged the very core of the testing equipment industry segment. A recent article in another publication criticized several manufacturers for their test equipment. There are some substantial gaps between solid standards and the new higher levels of performance. Some companies who are addressing the end users needs in the "gap" are not getting the proper recognition of their new capabilities. In the upcoming issues we will attempt to "test drive" various testers from such fine companies as Fluke, Wavetek, MicroTest, and Datacom Technologies.

CMA TELCOM 1997 - 20th Annual Conference and Exposition was held November 11-13th, in New York City, by the Communications Managers Association. This conference was well attended and the exhibits offered a host of new high performance cabling products. This Association still packs a heavyweight purchasing punch. 270 of the Fortune 500 Companies are located in New York City. Many other powerhouse corporations are located nearby.


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