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Wireville.com

Issue: May 2006
By: Frank Bisbee


Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces

Bisbee's Buzz

Graybar held the 13th annual Graybar Technology Showcase on April 27, 2006 at the Renaissance Orlando Resort at Sea World. This showcase included a major exposition of products from an impressive array of vendors that offer products that can be purchased at Graybar. Additionally, there were numerous educational seminars available to the attendees. The showcase included a wonderful lunch as well as refreshments in the seminars and the exhibit hall. All of this educational value was made available to our industry at no charge to the attendees.

We interviewed numerous attendees that had gone to the seminars for their reactions. Chuck Wilson, President of Wilson Technology Group and South Eastern Regional Director for BICSI, said, "these sessions are value packed with lots of new technology that we can use to increase our business". Bruce Nardone, President of Maverick Consulting Group and a former BICSI Master Instructor told us that "the new information on security systems and surveillance systems that can work over the internet will mean a significant step ahead for the contractors and their customers. All of the normal communications infrastructure offerings are here at this Graybar Technology Showcase……. And there's no charge to attend. Wow, this is a real value." Many other comments by the attendees had the same flavor. Hats off to Graybar for hosting this Technology Showcase for the industry. It is no wonder that Graybar is the most successful distributor of electrical and VDV products in the world.

As we visited the booths in the exhibition hall, we heard many repetitive comments about the soaring prices of UTP cable. If you thought the prices at the gas pump were shocking, you will be stunned by the price increases on copper based cabling. Several manufacturers explained that the petroleum cost increases were finding there way through to the cost of the resins for jackets and insulation. Adding to those additional cost burdens, the cable manufacturers are facing a rocketing set of price increases on copper. One manufacturer said that the price for copper has shot up more than 22% in the last 3 weeks. And it's not over.

For many contractors, Fiber Optic solutions have reached parity with the high-end copper based UTP alternative. This new round of major cost increases that have been dumped on UTP will have many buyers reappraising their designs and looking at the Fiber Optic cabling as the new "best answer". Each job should be evaluated individually. One message was universal; the price of copper cabling may continue to spiral upward.

Safety, security, and surveillance systems were included in a big way at this Graybar Technology Showcase. These important products are part of a new wave in the communications infrastructure marketplace. We saw a host of varied products in this area that we did not see in the BICSI exhibit hall in January 2006. We are very pleased to know these offerings are available from Graybar.

Next year, you should definitely mark your calendar to attend the 14th Annual Graybar Technology Showcase. This is the best value opportunity we have seen in the last year. www.graybar.com

Next month, we will be pleased to review the many exciting offerings we found at this showcase. In the meantime, keep a close eye on the price of copper cable and make sure your quotes reflect some language to protect you from unexpected price increases.

But that's just my opinion.


Frank Bisbee
"Heard On The Street" column
www.wireville.com
Note our NEW Address
Communication Planning Corporation
4949 Sunbeam Road, Suite 16
Jacksonville, FL 32257
(904) 645-9077
frank@wireville.com

A Change Order Program For Systems Contractors

Change orders are a fact of life for all contractors, including those working on automated building systems (datacom, security, access control, fire alarm, and systems integration work, to give some examples).

Now, McCormick Systems has created software designed to help contractors doing this low-voltage work. ABS Change Order allows a systems contractor (security dealer, datacom contractor, systems integrator, etc.) to enter a specific change order and track its progress through the project - from start to finish.

"Our experience with electrical contractors and their change order problems came in handy," said President Todd McCormick, "Contractors, their project managers, and foremen or lead technicians can track a given change order's status through the entire process. If they don't track change orders properly, they can't manage them."

"And if a project has more than one change order - often the case - the contractor and his designated key people can get daily (or more frequent) status reports on all change orders."

With 27 years of experience serving electrical contractors, McCormick Systems recently rolled out its ABS (automated building systems) software line. The change order program gives building systems contractors another powerful management tool.

"In our several years of research into the systems market, we learned that contractors who do this work confront similar problems with job management, reports, and the like - especially when it comes to change orders," McCormick noted. "ABS Change Order is the ideal solution for the systems contractor." www.mccormicksys.com

Definition of "Halogen-free" Leaves Many Materials Incorrectly Classified

The fluorine loophole

Editorial Comment by:
John M. Moritz, Jr.
President
JMME, Inc.

While chlorine and bromine are widely recognized, reported and restricted as halogens in many applications, it is noteworthy that fluorine, iodine, and astatine (other Group 17/VIIA halogens on the Periodic Table of the Elements) are not restricted in the accepted industry definitions of "halogen-free". Dependent on the industry considering the "halogen-free" designator, chlorine and bromine are the only halogens restricted and then at levels below 900-1,000 parts per million.

In the case of fluorine used in plastics, many anti-drip agents employed in "halogen-free" plastic compounds including polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), better known as Teflon®, contain fluorine and the anti-drip agents have been reported to be used in the 0.1-1.4 wt% range. Some of these products can contain significant quantities of fluorine exceeding the level typically accepted under IEC 61249-2-21 as content limits established for other halogens (0.09% or 900 parts per million). In other cases, fluorinated salts may be formulated into plastic products at typical levels of 800 parts per million, especially plastic parts produced from polycarbonate, to impart flame retardant properties while the product is labeled "halogen-free."

Additionally, it is noteworthy to consider that fluorinated polymeric resins incorporated or alloyed into a plastic compound also do not contribute to the "halogen-free" standing of a finished polymer because of the omission of fluorine from the list of considered halogens. Such fluorinated resins that could be incorporated or alloyed to impart improved electrical, flammability and processing properties include:

  • polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF),
  • ethylenetrifluoroethylene (ETFE)
  • copolymers of ethylene and chlorotrifluoroethylene (ECTFE)
  • polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)
  • fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP)

The apparent omission of fluorine, a halogen used in polymeric additives and plastics that are subsequently compounded into other plastics regularly to impart flame resistance and other properties, is due primarily to test methodology and limitations in detecting fluorine. The test methods employed to detect bromine and chlorine do not have the capability to detect fluorine and as such fluorine is left undetected and unreported although it too is a halogen. Without significant address in test methodology, it is unlikely that total halogen content will be considered by regulators in the near future; however, environmentalists have become aware of fluorine toxicology and the potential human effects in recent developments related to groundwater contamination by fluorinated compounds and potential effects of thermal decomposition of PTFE.

Recent concerns over the potential toxicological effects of groundwater contamination by some fluorinated precursors and by-products including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in the United States as well as potential human toxicological effects caused through contact with products containing PTFE produced by DuPont, better known as Teflon®, could cause a review of this apparent dual status for halogen materials used throughout industry. According to the environmental investigative organization Environmental Working Group:

"…in the past five years, the multi-billion dollar "perfluorochemical" (PFC) industry, which underpins such world-famous brands as Teflon®, Stainmaster®, Scotchgard® and Gore-Tex®, has emerged as a regulatory priority for scientists and officials at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The PFC family is characterized by chains of carbon atoms of varying lengths, to which fluorine atoms are strongly bonded, yielding essentially indestructible chemicals that until recently were thought to be biologically inert. No one thinks so now."

Since 2000, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) has undertaken a significant review of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). [US EPA PFOA Factsheet] In 2000, the US EPA peremptorily forced the elimination of PFOS, the chemical used for decades as the active ingredient in the popular Scotchgard® stain and water repellant from 3M. At about the same time, 3M ceased manufacture of the related perfluorochemical PFOA.

Throughout 2005, the United States Environmental Protection Agency has had PFOA under intense regulatory scrutiny due to reports of groundwater contamination. PFOA is most widely used in the manufacture of PTFE. One significant brand of PTFE under scrutiny is Dupont Teflon®. Due to findings from toxicity studies and by the presence of PFOA in the blood of more than 90 percent of the United States population, the United States Environmental Protection Agency continues its review of human toxicity studies and potential health effects.

In December 2005, Dupont reached a US$16.5 million settlement agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in an enforcement action related to the chemical compound PFOA; this settlement follows a civil settlement of US$107 million in March 2005 on related matters concerning alleged PFOA contamination of local drinking water by Dupont in West Virginia, USA.

In 2006, the issue of PFOA and PFOS content in plastics and other materials will be considered by many states. In California (USA), a coalition consisting of the United Steelworkers (USW), Sierra Club, Environmental Law Foundation, Environment California, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG), Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and Environmental Working Group (EWG) filed a petition to have PFOA listed as "a chemical that is known to the state to cause cancer" under California's Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986, commonly referred to as Proposition 65. If adopted, the finding would require information labels on products based on specific toxicological findings under California Right to Know requirements. Additionally, a preliminary report on perfluorochemical contamination in Minnesota was considered by the Senate Environmental Committee in February 2006.

In April 2006, sixteen lawsuits filed in a US$5 billion class-action suit have been transferred to a Federal Court in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. Court papers allege Teflon® makers withheld information about chemicals used to make Teflon® chemicals that are allegedly released when the pans are heated. Dupont, the manufacturer of Teflon® says the material is safe.

With the settlements in recent cases, pending class actions in Iowa (USA) related to potential human poisoning from fluorinated stick-free cooking surfaces and the information that has now been developed and exchanged during peer review, environmental watchdog groups and regulatory officials alike are continuing their reviews and investigations into the widespread use of perfluorochemicals in many industries with no immediate indication of potential outcome. It should be noted that the use of perfluorochemicals as anti-drip agents and flame retardants or the use of fluorinated polymers like PVDF or FEP has not been affected by any of the investigations to this point. However, because the use of perfluorochemicals is allowed within the guidelines of "halogen-free" materials, the reformulation of polymeric materials to eliminate the use of these scrutinized materials provides for significant opportunity from a technological development standpoint in providing truly "non-halogen" materials for the marketplace.

John Moritz is President of JMME, Inc., (http://www.jmme.com) a consulting firm providing manufacturers, end users and regulators with advice and strategic guidance on the important role plastics play in today's corporate and personal worlds. Since its inception, JMME has been dedicated to corporate responsibility for developing safe products, effective protections provided by codes and standards for the safe use of plastic products and the overall protection of sports participants and spectators through effective testing and development of plastic sports equipment. John has written numerous articles and presentations on issues related to the selection of plastics in various industries and their potential effects on the marketplace, environment and regulatory processes. John serves on numerous codes and standards technical committees where he has fought diligently to preserve the consensus process and the integrity of the documents. Inquiries are encouraged and welcomed.

Copyright 2006, JMME, Inc., All rights reserved

Top Business Journalism Award Goes to Buildings Editor

Leah B. Garris, senior associate editor of Buildings, a Stamats Business Media publication, received the coveted Jesse H. Neal National Business Journalism Award, at a luncheon held March 23 at New York's Waldorf=Astoria hotel.

Often referred to as the Pulitzer Prize for business journalism, the Neal Award is the business publishing industry's salute to outstanding editorial excellence. Winning entries are selected for contribution to the field the publication serves, as well as for journalistic enterprise and editorial craftsmanship.

Buildings and Garris were recognized in the category "Best How-to Article" for "Disaster Preparation: Make-or-Break Steps," published in the February 2005 issue. The article was written by Leah B. Garris, and designed by Art Director Elisa Geneser and Senior Designer Scott Easton.

"A Jesse H. Neal Award is the pinnacle for business journalists and publishers. This award confirms that Buildings and Stamats Business Media produce one of the highest quality publications in the business publications field. Each month the editors and design team of Buildings work hard to insure that their publication connects with their readers and is representative of the finest in business journalism. Receiving this award honors their hard work," said Tony Dellamaria, publisher, Buildings.

According to Buildings Editorial Director Linda K. Monroe, "Buildings is as much an educational tool for the commercial/institutional buildings industry as it is a marketplace of ideas. Our creative staff is committed to being our 72,000-plus readers' No. 1 resource by focusing on quality, unbiased content. We offer insightful, practical information on the best practices and critical issues most relevant to their positions of responsibility. We are delighted to be recognized for our work with this prestigious award."

About Buildings
Buildings is a publication which serves 72,000 building owners and professional facilities managers in North America. The monthly publication offers readers information on the development, construction, modernization, management and operation of buildings, as well as the products and services needed to support such facilities. www.buildings.com

Electric Supply, Inc. Pledges $50,000 To NAED Foundation

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces a $50,000 commitment by Electric Supply, Inc. in Phoenix, Ariz. to the NAED Education & Research Foundation. Jim Morlan, president of Electric Supply, has also been named the chair of a new advisory group of endowment contributors, the Channel Advantage Partnership (CAP) Associates.

"NAED and the Foundation have been of immeasurable value to Electric Supply, Inc.," said Morlan. "It is a real pleasure to commit this money and to be part of the Channel Advantage Partnership, which assures the future strength and growth of the education and research activities of the association."

For more than 50 years, Electric Supply, Incorporated, has served the electrical needs of Arizona's industrial, institutional, OEM and MRO markets. Electric Supply opened in downtown Phoenix in 1952. Since then, both the city and the company have grown. Electric Supply, an independent distributor, expanded its service area by opening a branch in Tucson and increasing its product offerings. Electric Supply sells a broad spectrum of electrical products, from Programmable Logic Controllers to pipe and wire.

"We appreciate Jim Morlan and Electric Supply's dedication to the NAED Foundation, and we are confident that he will bring a fresh voice to the Foundation as chair of this new group. We also look forward to gaining more participation and feedback from more small-to-midsize distributors about the education programs and research that the Foundation commissions," said Robert Reynolds, Jr., chairman of the Channel Advantage Partnership Council and chairman, president & CEO of Graybar.

The company's donation is part of an endowment fund for the NAED Education & Research Foundation. The principal amount of the endowment will remain untouched, while the interest will be used to commission future projects and studies. As a $50,000 Ambassador level contributor, Electric Supply, Inc. will have a permanent position on the Partnership Associates advisory group, which provides small-to-medium size distributors a meaningful voice in the selection and implementation of the Foundation's research and education agenda.

As Channel Advantage Partnership Associates, members meet annually to discuss industry issues and work together to develop research topics. The Ambassador's Chair leads this new advisory group and serves as the liaison between the CAP Associates and Council. Each project selected by the CAP Council will be assigned a Partnership Task Force made up of both CAP Council and Associate members. This task force will monitor and help shape the project - calling on the advice, experiences and suggestions of all industry members. www.naed.org

Rexel Adds Coretta Turner To Dallas Marketing Staff

Rexel's marketing department has added Coretta Turner, marketing specialist, to the company's Dallas headquarters staff.

With responsibility for vendor co-op and marketing funds, Turner will work with the electrical and datacom manufacturers who supply the distributor. She'll coordinate her efforts with Rexel's Dallas-based product management team and marketing managers in Rexel's six geographic divisions.

"Coretta has worked at a variety of marketing tasks before coming to us," said John Kudlacek, vice president of marketing and purchasing. "Her hiring brings our marketing department back up to full strength, and also gives us some depth and breadth."

Turner comes to Rexel with 10 years of advertising and marketing experience in the retail and communication industries. She will report to and assume responsibilities formerly assigned to Doris Chumley, who now is Promotions & Advertising Director. (www.rexelusa.com)

Capable Networks launches insideCE.com

First vertical search engine for the CE professional marketplace

Capable Networks LLC which owns and operates online communities and web properties focusing on the consumer electronics industry announces the launch of the first vertical search engine for the consumer electronics professional at www.insideCE.com. The new insideCE.com search engine offers CE professionals a valuable Internet resource to find critical business-oriented consumer electronics information.

"This is a significant addition to our growing web portfolio within the consumer electronics industry," Ron Repking, CEO, Capable Networks said. "Many consumer electronics professionals have expressed their frustration trying to find very specific and business-oriented CE industry information on the Internet," he said.

Capable Networks' own portfolio of consumer electronics properties includes TechLore.com, DVRplayground.com and SlingCommunity.com. The company intends to launch a variety of other user communities and b2b media offerings within the next year.

"The addition of industry-specific search greatly enhances insideCE.com's presence in these highly defined markets," Repking said "Not only will our website visitors be able to explore the archives of every industry company, they will be able to search the web for relevant b2b content from the vendors and institutions that relate specifically to the professional CE market," he added.

insideCE.com's content includes every association and news provider in the segment and it will be refreshed and updated regularly. Additionally, its editors have identified the industry's vendor, distributor and installer sites to create an integrated online trade directory.

"We've built a comprehensive database by carefully handpicking several thousand consumer electronics websites. Everything is fully relevant to the professional side of the CE industry," Steven Jones, Capable Networks Founder said. "We believe insideCE.com will rapidly become the consumer electronics industry destination for finding information to meet specific CE professional needs. It's fast, familiar and accurate, which saves time and energy in the often tedious task of on-the-job research," Jones said.

"We've made it possible for our users to contribute new sites to include in our search engine. Users can also find the insideCE.com search engine on Capable's partner sites (including high profile industry locations like CEPro.com), and use it to search either those partners' archives or the CE industry at large," Jones added. Advertisers can use insideCE.com as part of their Search Engine Marketing (SEM) strategy by purchasing keyword-based text or banner ads much like other major search engines. insideCE.com's design will provide for both branding and lead generation advertising.

"Industry research reports up to 15% of searches result in an advertisement click, making search one of marketers' most powerful lead generation tools for finding information on the Internet to help them do their job better," Repking said. "For our advertising clients, we believe insideCE.com will become their most effective SEM tactic," he said. To learn more about insideCE.com, go to www.insideCE.com.

About Capable Networks LLC
Capable Networks LLC (www.capablenetworks.com) owns and operates online communities and other web properties focusing on the consumer electronics industry. The Company provides a valuable link between consumers and manufacturers of consumer electronic devices, with websites that allow both expert and novice users to share knowledge, discuss experiences, and voice opinions about consumer electronics. Through partnerships with product companies, Capable Networks provides valuable marketing and customer support data to improve profitability and reach of product lines.

Industry Confidence Still Robust, According To NEMA's April Electroindustry Business Confidence Index

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association's (NEMA) Electroindustry Business Confidence Index (EBCI) for current North American business conditions measured in the high 60s for the third straight month in April, indicating that industry sentiment has remained at a robust level for much of the first third of the year. Indeed, with April's reading of 66.7 points, the monthly index has now topped the 50-point threshold without exception for three full years, a prolonged period of favorable conditions.

Business conditions in each of the other three world regions included in the survey also surpassed 50 points once again, though current conditions indices were down from a month ago in Europe and the Asia/Pacific region. Current Latin American conditions were essentially unchanged.

For a complete summary of the April 2006 index, including charts and a list of participating companies, visit http://www.nema.org/econ/ebci/upload/04_2006_EBCI.pdf.

The Electroindustry Business Confidence Index gauges the business confidence of the electroindustry in Asia, Europe, North America, and Latin America, and are based on the results of a monthly survey of senior managers at NEMA member companies. Those companies represent more than 80 percent of the electroindustry.

NEMA is the leading trade association in the United States representing the interests of electroindustry manufacturers. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its 430 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity. Domestic shipments of electrical products within the NEMA scope exceed $100 billion. www.nema.org

Corning Cable Systems Granted RUS Acceptance On Optical Drop Cables

Corning Cable Systems, part of Corning Incorporated's (NYSE: GLW) Telecommunications segment, has been granted Rural Utilities Service (RUS) acceptance for SST-Drop™ Dielectric, Toneable and Armored Cables. The cable family is intended primarily for operation in the last portion of an all-optical network (such as fiber to the home (FTTH)), bridging the space between the distribution network and the subscriber premises.

The RUS, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, offers loans and grants in order to increase the rate of deployment of technology to small towns in rural areas. Service providers can utilize RUS funding to upgrade existing networks or build new systems that carry at least 200 kb/s symmetrical data, as well as enhanced voice and video services that would further contribute to the strength of the overall business plan.

RUS acceptance allows service providers to purchase Corning Cable Systems products with these funds.

In addition to the SST-Drop Cable family, the RUS has approved Corning Cable Systems' OptiSheath Classic and Advantage Terminals and OptiDrop Pedestals. Corning Cable Systems' SOLO® and ALTOS® Cables are also included in the accepted products list.

The products are listed in the "List of Materials Acceptable for Use on Telecommunications Systems of RUS Borrowers." The complete list of products can be found at www.usda.gov/rus/telecom/index.htm.

These RUS-accepted products are part of Corning Cable Systems Evolant® Solutions. Through its Evolant Solutions for Access Networks, Corning Cable Systems offers specialized portfolios of innovative products and services that enable customers to cost-effectively deploy fiber in the last mile. Evolant Solutions for Access Networks encompasses state-of-the-art products that reduce the cost of deployment and increase the networks efficiency and reliability.

For additional information on Corning Cable Systems products or services, contact a customer service representative at 1-800-743-2675, toll free in the United States, or (+1) 828-901-5000, international, or visit the Web site at www.corning.com/cablesystems.

Preformed Line Products Announces Financial Results For The Quarter Ended March 31, 2006

Preformed Line Products Company (Nasdaq: PLPC - News) today reported financial results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2006.

Net income for the first quarter ended March 31, 2006 was $2,484,000, or $.43 per diluted share, compared to $3,228,000, or $.56 per diluted share, for the comparable period in 2005.

Sales for the quarter of $52,635,000 were 4% higher than sales of $50,772,000 in the first quarter of 2005. International sales increased 14% excluding a $463,000 favorable impact from currency and domestic sales were down 5% from the prior year.

Rob Ruhlman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said, "Our international sales were strong in those countries that are investing in their energy infrastructure. We also experienced a 20% increase in our domestic sales to the energy market. However, we have yet to see a resumption of the level of Fiber-To-The-Premise sales that we experienced in the first quarter of last year and were expecting in the first quarter of 2006. Orders in this product line are beginning to pick up in the second quarter and we expect our FTTP business to continue growing during the remainder of the year. We have not yet been able to pass on the rising costs for transportation, energy and raw materials because of stiff price competition. We expect to make some gains in our gross profit percentage in the second half of the year as a new production process and alternative raw materials come on stream. The increase in costs and expenses is in line with our expectations as we continue to incur higher compliance costs, commit additional resources to testing of new FTTP products and alternative materials as well as investments in personnel for the future. I am confident we are headed in the right direction as I see our first quarter 2006 results improve significantly from the results of the previous quarter."

Founded in 1947, Preformed Line Products is an international designer and manufacturer of products and systems employed in the construction and maintenance of overhead and underground networks for energy, communications and broadband network companies.

Preformed's world headquarters are in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Company operates three domestic manufacturing centers located in Rogers, Arkansas, Albemarle, North Carolina, and Asheville, North Carolina. The Company serves its worldwide market through international operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain and Thailand.

This news release contains "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 regarding the Company, including those statements regarding the Company's and management's beliefs and expectations concerning the Company's future performance or anticipated financial results, among others. Except for historical information, the matters discussed in this release are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties which may cause results to differ materially from those set forth in those statements. Among other things, factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements include the strength of the economy and demand for the Company's products, increases in raw material prices, the Company's ability to identify, complete and integrate acquisitions for profitable growth, and other factors described under the heading "Forward-Looking Statements" in the Company's Form 10-K filed with the SEC on March 15, 2006. The Form 10-K and the Company's other filings with the SEC can be found on the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov. The Company assumes no obligation to update or supplement forward-looking statements that become untrue because of subsequent events.

BOMA Conference Addresses Key Commercial Real Estate Challenges

Considered commercial real estate's best source for industry knowledge and education, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International released details of the impressive education seminars and sessions being presented at the North American Commercial Real Estate Congress®, June 24-27 at the Dallas Convention Center.

BOMA International's extensive network attracts speakers from the highest levels of commercial real estate. More than 40 sessions cover topics in nine different subject tracks, including asset & portfolio management; building/property operations & management; corporate facilities management; mixed use buildings; leadership, communication & professional development; leasing, marketing & sales; technology; tenant retention & relations; and green buildings. Program highlights include...

  • Escalations Explained: A Practical Guide to Escalations, Expense Caps and Capital Amortizations-In the wake of Sarbanes Oxley regulations, correctly and consistently calculating escalations income is critical for commercial real estate professionals. This session has it covered.

  • Accelerating Individual and Organizational Performance-Led by Frank Cespedes and Jon Younger, both faculty of the BOMA/Harvard Emerging Leaders in Real Estate Program, this session offers a taste of one of BOMA's most popular and prestigious continuing education programs.

  • Low- and No-Cost Energy Efficiency Improvements-Sponsored by the BOMA Energy Efficiency Program, this is one of several sessions designed to help the industry fight rising energy costs.

  • The Energy Bill-Tax Deductions for Energy Efficiency Construction and Renovation-BOMA International is continuing to play a leading role in the design and implementation of this important piece of legislation. This session will cover all the latest developments.

  • Emerging Building Technologies and the Impact on Property Managers-This joint session with Realcomm, the industry's leading technology event, presents the cutting edge technologies that are changing today's buildings, including WIMAX, VOIP, and Building Automation.

  • Female Leadership: How to Get It, Keep It, and Benefit from It-Over the last decade, the face of commercial real estate has changed. Today, more than 40% of attendees at The BOMA Congress are women. This session, sponsored by CREW Network, addresses the change and why it's important.

Two other impressive programs are slated to run in conjunction with The BOMA Congress. BOMA's Asset Management Day, sponsored by Colliers International, includes a luncheon presentation and special sessions for asset and portfolio managers. Plus, the Medical Office Buildings and Healthcare Facilities Seminar-the industry's only seminar dedicated exclusively to healthcare real estate-is scheduled for Thursday, June 22 to Friday, June 23…just prior to The BOMA Congress.

Conference Offers Continuing Education Credit

The entire industry recognizes the quality of BOMA education-sessions qualify for RPA, FMA, SMA, SMT, CPM, ARM, and SIOR renewal and CPD credits. Several extended sessions also qualify for continuing education credits required for real estate license renewal in many U.S. states and Canada.

"The breadth of topics and the preeminent expert presenters make The BOMA Congress education program world-class," said BOMA International Chairman and Chief Elected Officer David W. Hewett, RPA, CPM, CCIM, FMA, CFM, principal for Trammell Crow Company, Auburn Hills, Michigan. "From emergency preparedness and energy efficiency to emerging business models and competing in the new global landscape, this is the one program that truly equips attendees for the future of commercial real estate."

The BOMA Congress and The Office Building Show, the commercial real estate industry's premier annual conference and exhibition, will take place June 24-27, 2006, at the Dallas Convention Center. BOMA is co-locating with Realcomm, the industry's leading technology event. Offering in-depth education and two exhibit areas featuring the industry's most innovative products and services, the two events attract more than 6,000 top commercial real estate professionals.

Founded in 1907, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is a dynamic international federation of more than 90 local associations and affiliated organizations. The 19,000-plus members own or manage more than 9 billion square feet of commercial properties in North America and abroad. BOMA's mission is to enhance the human, intellectual and physical assets of the commercial real estate industry through advocacy, education, research, standards and information.

For more about The BOMA Congress, visit www.bomaconvention.org.
For more about BOMA International, visit www.boma.org.

CADDY® PYRAMID Pipe & Equipment Supports Dramatically Reduce Installation Time

The new CADDY® PYRAMID Pipe & Equipment Supports from ERICO® provide an easy method for supporting pipes, conduit and equipment on roofs and below raised floors. They dramatically reduce installation time by replacing other labor-intensive support methods, such as wood blocks, straps and clips. They also replace steel foot plates, which can seriously damage roof membranes.

The CADDY PYRAMID 50, 150, 300 and 600 consist of a foam block with a metal top. The polyethylene foam block absorbs shock and vibration but will not absorb water. The metal cover on top of the support offers protection from weather and other environmental conditions. The electro-galvanized finish on the cover offers corrosion protection.

The new Pipe & Equipment Supports provide for numerous mounting options and clamping positions. The CADDY PYRAMID 50 support holds up to 50-lb loads and works in conjunction with a variety of pipe and conduit clamps. It is available in both rooftop and below-raised-floor models. The CADDY PYRAMID 150 and 300 supports hold up to 150-lb and 300-lb loads, respectively. The CADDY PYRAMID 600 support consists of two Model 300s linked together with a strut bridge. The Model 600 support holds up to 600-lb loads. All three of the larger models have threaded inserts with captive nuts for maximum versatility and contact. Optional strut lengths are available for the CADDY PYRAMID 150 and 300. Optional CADDY PYRAMID Column Supports attach either to the strut or directly onto the base support and help hold large equipment.

The CADDY PYRAMID 25 is an all-plastic, UV-resistant support for completing low-pipe-count runs. The pipe and conduit support has an extremely small footprint of 4-in. by 5-in. The sled design of the support distributes the load evenly and protects the roof membrane. It can either be bonded to the roof or float with pipe expansion and contraction. It holds up to three ½-in. or two ¾-in or 1-in. pipes or conduit. www.erico.com

Arizona Adopts Telecommunications Access Legislation

Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano signed into law on March 29, 2006, telecommunications access legislation following a successful campaign spearheaded by the Arizona state coalition of the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International. Specifically, the new law upholds the constitutionally protected private property rights of the state's commercial real estate owners and their tenants.

House Bill 2079 prohibits the state from mandating telecommunications access to commercial buildings. It also requires landlords to provide the names of the available telecommunications providers to any prospective tenant upon request.

"BOMA International has long advocated that telecommunications legislation and regulation at the federal, state and local levels must preserve the viability of a free and effective marketplace that respects private property," stated BOMA International Chairman David W. Hewett, RPA, CPM, CCIM, FMA, CFM, principal of Trammell Crow Company of Auburn Hills, Mich. "Forced building entry privileges for telecommunications service providers are unnecessary, unmanageable and unconstitutional."

BOMA Arizona also worked with the local chapter of the National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP), as well as the local real estate development group, Valley Partnership.

Founded in 1907, the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International is an international federation of more than 90 local associations and affiliated organizations. BOMA's 19,000-plus members own or manage more than 9 billion square feet of commercial properties in North America and abroad. The mission of BOMA International is to enhance the human, intellectual and physical assets of the commercial real estate industry through advocacy, education, research, standards and information. www.boma.org

MILLER To Lead NAED As Chair In 2007-2008

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) has named Tammy Miller, CEO of Border States Electric Supply, in Fargo, N.D., as the incoming chair-elect of the NAED Board of Directors.

"It is an honor to be asked to serve as the chair of our industry association," said Miller. "My affiliation with NAED began in the mid-90s when I was asked to represent our market area at the regional council meetings. Over the last 10 years, I have enjoyed networking with the best distributors and manufacturers at NAED events and have taken full advantage of the resources and tools NAED offers. NAED is an essential link in our channel - the channel of choice. I hope to continue to enhance the value of the association by bringing the industry together to address issues and provide solutions to issues that none of us can address individually."

Miller will serve as chair-elect in 2006-2007, preparing to lead the NAED Board of Directors in 2007-2008. Miller will be the first woman to serve as NAED Board Chair.

Miller joined Border States Electric in 1991 and has served as a member of the NAED Board of Directors for the past seven years. Miller has also participated as the association's Finance Committee Chair, the Special Pricing Authorization (SPA) Distributor Task Force Chair, and the Western Region Vice President. She also serves on the Channel Advantage Partnership Council.

Miller's contributions extend outside of the industry. She has served as the president of the YWCA of Fargo-Moorhead and the North Dakota State Society of Certified Public Accountants and has helped organize successful fund raising campaigns for several community outreach programs, including the United Way and YWCA.

NAED is currently led by Bill Elliott, president of Elliott Electric Supply, in Nacogdoches, Texas. At NAED's Annual Meeting on April 22 - 26, John Duda, chairman and CEO of Butler Supply, Inc., in St. Louis, Mo., will become NAED Chairman of the Board for the 2006-2007 year.

NAED is the trade association for the $70+ billion electrical distribution industry. Through networking, education, research, and benchmarking, NAED helps electrical distributors increase profitability and improve the channel. NAED's membership represents approximately 4,100 locations internationally. www.naed.org

Corning And Lightwave To Recognize Individual Excellence In FTTx Deployment

Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) and Lightwave magazine are honoring an individual for his or her contributions to the deployment of optical access networks in North America with the third annual FTTXcellence Award. The award will be presented on Oct. 4 at the 2006 FTTH Conference in Las Vegas.

"The FTTXcellence Award has recognized two outstanding and deserving winners in the past two years, and we expect the same quality of nominations for the third annual award," said Larry Aiello, president and CEO of Corning Cable Systems. "As the leader in passive solutions for FTTx, it is fitting that Corning recognizes those individuals contributing to the success of FTTx."

To be eligible to win the award, candidates must be nominated by a peer. Nominees may include individuals at carriers, home developers, utilities, municipalities or other organizations that have launched a fiber-to-the-x (FTTx) project; individuals at vendors or research organizations whose work has benefited FTTx technology development; politicians or other policymakers who have made a significant impact in the regulatory or legal arena; and other deserving individuals.

Nominations are accepted online at www.lightwaveonline.com, and must be received by Aug. 15, 2006. A panel of judges from Corning and Lightwave will select the winner from the submitted nominations. In addition to an awards ceremony at the FTTH Conference, the winner will be honored with a donation in his or her name to a charitable organization. The winner will also receive an award of Steuben glass, crafted by the world-renowned glass artists of the Steuben Glass studios in Corning, N.Y., and will be profiled in an issue of Lightwave magazine.

George Bell of Verizon was the winner of the 2004 FTTXcellence Award. In his nomination form, Bell was praised for his leadership and spirit to deploy innovative solutions that make FTTx a reality. James Hettrick with the City of Loma Linda, Calif., received last year's award. As director of information systems for the city, Hettrick led Loma Linda to become the first city in America to pass an ordinance requiring fiber-to-the-home and structured-wiring infrastructure in all new home and business developments.

For more information on the FTTXcellence Award or Corning's portfolio of FTTx products, visit the Corning's Web site at www.corning.com/broadband. (www.corning.com)

Interactive Intelligence Launches Channel-Ready Program For Unified Communications System

Interactive Intelligence Inc. (Nasdaq: ININ), a global developer of business communications software, has launched a channel-ready program designed to simplify installation of the company's unified communications system, Communité®.

The Interactive Intelligence channel-ready program offers resellers and direct customers single-SKU/single-price ordering, port-based sizing options, and a complete, pre-packaged system.

The system combines Communité's voice over IP-ready software, with Windows® 2003 servers powered by Intel® Xeon® processors, Intel Netstructure® Host Media Processing (HMP) software, and Intel Netstructure PBX-IP media gateways for PBX connectivity. The system also includes integrated back-up and recovery tools, a recovery DVD, and change management controls.

"Our goal for the channel-ready program was to squeeze out delivery costs by simplifying the purchase, installation, and support of Communité," said Interactive Intelligence senior vice president of worldwide marketing, Joseph A. Staples. "By offering private-labeled servers imaged and pre-loaded with our software, installation time can be cut from hours to minutes. In addition, by offering Intel-based components that have been tested and certified by Interactive Intelligence, we've further reduced costs associated with ongoing maintenance, and given customers the assurance of long-term reliability and investment protection."

"Interactive Intelligence has fulfilled our vision of combining applications expertise, with our proven infrastructure components, to offer the channel a complete unified communications solution that's also cost-effective and easy-to-install," said Intel's director of marketing for its modular communications platform division, Tim Moynihan.

Communité, originally released in December 2001, offers standards-based voice mail, unified messaging, and real-time communications services, including multi-modal message access by phone, desktop, Web browser or PDA device, presence management, find-me/follow-me functions, auto-attendant, conferencing and faxing.

Communité integrates with traditional PBX and IP-based communications systems, and can be deployed as a voice mail replacement system operating independent of existing LDAP and e-mail systems. This enables organizations to deploy Communité for voice mail replacement initially, and migrate users to unified messaging and real-time communications as needed.

Communité is backed by numerous industry accolades, including Frost & Sullivan's 2004 Product Innovation Award, and Network Computing Magazine's 2005 Editor's Choice Award. Communité has been deployed in a number of vertical industry segments, distinguished most notably by its strong success rate in the higher education market.

The Interactive Intelligence channel-ready program is ideal for small to medium-sized organizations with Microsoft-based network environments. For very large organizations, or those with complex application needs, Interactive Intelligence offers a complete "build-to-order" catalog of Communité options.

As an Intel® Communications Alliance member, Interactive Intelligence is offering Communité as part of its channel-ready program through Intel integration members throughout North America. http://www.inin.com

Project Lightspeed: AT&T Should Set Sights Higher Than Repackaging DSL

Are cable franchise agreements needed for AT&T to move forward on its deployment of Project Lightspeed?

If you're going to go through all this redeployment, AT&T should be setting its sights higher on real broadband and long-term capabilities. Providing another flavor of DSL is shortsighted.

The marketing strategy of Project Lightspeed should be to get fiber to the premises in order to provide more services in a true broadband package. Instead, it is a way to further utilize a hybrid transmission medium of fiber and copper to offer DSL. In addition to "high-speed" data, video services will also be provided through what AT&T and Lucent (the manufacturer of the platform) calls its IP multimedia platform (IMS).

There are some people questioning the deployment of this technology in various municipalities as they argue that it should only be granted through a cable franchise agreement. Does Project Lightspeed fit the definition of a "cable service" or is it something different that should not be viewed as a cable service? This is a huge question that is creating some friction across the country in some municipalities.

Marketing to the Subscriber Base
"IMS-based services allow for enhanced, customized and personalized services that offer compelling value to consumers. IMS is truly a transformational step in network development with the potential to reshape and radically improve the customer experience," said David Heeren, vice president of sales for Lucent Technologies, in an AT&T press release in 2005. "We are excited to work with SBC to help bring product and service integration from conception to reality."

According to a press release from AT&T this year, Kiley Ranch in Nevada is one of the first new-home developments that will benefit from AT&T's Project Lightspeed:

This will be a multibillion-dollar deployment of fiber that will reach approximately 18 million households as part of the initial rollout. As a result, AT&T is making plans to deliver AT&T U-verse products and services to homeowners as they become available, including:

  1. High-quality video experience (featuring more than 200 channels) and set-top boxes (each with an internal DVR).

  2. Video-on-demand (VOD) library featuring hundreds of hours of a variety of programming.

  3. Picture-in-picture technology that allows subscribers to channel surf without leaving the program they're watching.

  4. Fast channel changing to eliminate the delay experienced with other digital broadcast services whether you are surfing channels or recalling the last channel viewed.

In addition, the network will deliver [a service to offer] subscribers a leading combination of broadband access, services and content that provides a unique high-speed Internet access experience.

AT&T's initial offering will include three tiers of high-speed Internet access:

  1. Elite: up to 6.0 Mbps downstream and up to 1 Mbps upstream

  2. Pro: up to 3.0 Mbps downstream and up to 1 Mbps upstream

  3. Express: up to 1.5 Mbps downstream and up to 1 Mbps upstream

After all the fuss, is 6 Mbps enough bandwidth? What is the maximum speed supported by these new boxes? With HDTV and other applications on the close horizon, how soon will you be able to increase speeds to 1 Gbps? California has a broadband initiative of 1 Gbps or bust by 2010.

I would think 100 Mbps would be a minimum roll-out service with 1 Gbps being the "elite" service option (rather than 6 Mbps). Maybe I'm the only one who thinks in a quantum leap, but if you are going to go through all this redeployment and installation of new building blocks, AT&T should be setting its sights higher on real broadband and long-term capabilities. Providing another flavor of DSL is shortsighted.

Cable Franchise Agreements
If this is truly a giant step forward for the average consumer, why did Geneva, Ill. (who wanted fiber in an earlier referendum) say no? This was found in a recent suburban Chicago news article:

AT&T officials have said because their project is Internet-based that the company is not required to have a franchise agreement.

"They're wrong," said Peter Collins, Geneva's information technology manager. "They have a competitive video service."

It is the city's contention that AT&T must have a franchise agreement just like cable television provider Comcast, Collins said. The issue is not the fee itself. AT&T has agreed to pay the 5 percent that is in the current Comcast franchise agreement. It is service, he said.

"They won't agree to serve the whole town," Collins said. "Under the cable franchise, we require Comcast to serve the entire city. That's just not fair."

Collins said municipalities believe they have to defend that fairness under the Illinois Fair Playing Field Statute.

Some other Illinois suburbs (including Carpentersville, Roselle and Wheaton) have stopped installation and have been sued by AT&T. Not all municipalities share the idea that it should be covered by a cable franchise agreement. According to a legal newsletter from Cooper White Cooper:

The Anaheim City Council in Anaheim, Calif. authorized on March 7, 2006 a primitive agreement with AT&T California (formerly Pacific Bell/SBC) under which AT&T's Project Lightspeed cable television may be delivered in Anaheim without a cable franchise.

The agreement approved by the city does not actually define or identify Project Lightspeed but appears to contemplate that AT&T's local telephone lines will be upgraded for the transport of data such as video and broadband signals for marketing to Anaheim customers in competition to established cable service. Notable features of the agreement include:

  1. Project Lightspeed service is referred to as "IP-enabled" (apparently the fig leaf for not treating it as cable service and not requiring a cable franchise).

  2. The agreement carries no franchise fee nor any other fee or payment to the city.

  3. The agreement has no term of years and AT&T can abandon or terminate its service or the agreement at will.

  4. AT&T "will work with Anaheim to … provide access to City Channel 3 (apparently as an analog signal outside the IP-enabled service).

  5. AT&T can cover its video service territory through the technology of its choosing including direct-to-the-home satellite services (thus enabling it to draw its own boundaries for areas that will actually receive plant upgrades and investments).

If you read the letter to Congressman Dingel from AT&T executive vice president of federal relations Tim McKone, there are some valid arguments and some definitions put forth that question whether or not this service should even be covered under the cable franchise agreement of different states. In reading this letter, the arguments are strong as to the application of the definitions.

What is the Right Stance?
It is difficult to choose a direction until all the facts are weighed. While it is true that municipalities should adhere to the Illinois Fair Playing Field Statute, they also have to make a judgment as to whether or not they are comparing apples to oranges.

A cable service is currently considered to be a one-way delivery system. The new Project Lightspeed platform, according to AT&T, is a two-way interactive system. AT&T's argument is that you can't put it in the same category and make the service adhere to that regulatory standard. That is a valid argument to me.

Should it be sorted out in court? That is what may happen if both sides don't take some time to discuss and understand each other's position. I hope everyone can convey and understand those nuances. In a recent Multichannel News article, there is one court decision on a case involving Walnut Creek, Calif., which also barred AT&T from putting in the new service:

Cities are within their rights to demand a franchise of AT&T for its video service, according to a ruling from a judge in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

The judge, however, did not rule specifically on whether IP-delivered video is a cable service. Cities can pursue franchises because the action is not specifically precluded in the federal cable act, Judge Maxine Chesney wrote in a recent decision.

The ruling is a blow to AT&T, which argued that its service (which will deliver programming in data packets at the demand of consumers) does not meet the definition of a cable service.

The company has challenged any attempts at franchising - filing this suit against Walnut Creek in California - as well as another city there to go along with three suits in Illinois. AT&T argued that it has a right to deliver video under the authority given to it as a local-exchange carrier.

Some people are already starting to point to this decision to bolster their position, but to me, the key question was not answered or ruled on: Is IP-delivered video considered a cable service? In the past, I have always pointed out that the creation and acceptance of technology outpaces the regulatory framework that usually lags behind it both in application and enforcement.

Carlinism: An antiquated regulatory framework can only harm progress as the creation and acceptance of new technologies accelerate beyond its scope.

Check out the blog of James Carlini at http://www.carliniscomments.com.

James Carlini is an adjunct professor at Northwestern University. He is also president of Carlini & Associates. Carlini can be reached at james.carlini@sbcglobal.net or 773-370-1888. Copyright 2006 Jim Carlini

Carlini's Comments, ePrairie's oldest column, runs every Wednesday. Its mission is to offer the common man's view on business and technology issues while questioning the leadership and visions of "pseudo" experts.

Trammell Crow Company Committed to Energy Efficiency Contributes $25,000 to BEEP

Trammell Crow Company (NYSE:TCC), one of the largest diversified commercial real estate services companies in the world, demonstrated its commitment to reducing the nation's energy consumption by donating $25,000 in support of the BOMA International Energy Efficiency Program (BEEP).

BEEP, developed by the BOMA Foundation in partnership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's ENERGY STAR® Program, is an innovative operations excellence program that teaches how to reduce energy usage through no- and low-cost strategies. "Energy is the largest controllable operating expense for office buildings," stated Diane S. Paddison, chief operating officer, global services, Trammell Crow Company. "BEEP provides an innovative solution to training personnel on strategic energy management that improves the value of our assets and the quality of management we provide our tenants."

The first audio seminar, Introduction to Energy Performance, was an unprecedented success with a sold-out audience of more than 1,000 participants at 200-plus sites. Upcoming courses include Benchmarking Energy Performance, on May 12, which explores the value of measuring and benchmarking energy performance, and is another sellout, and Energy Efficient Audit Concepts & Economic Benefits on June 2.

"BEEP fills an important gap in the marketplace by offering straightforward and applicable information about strategic energy management," commented Gary Wood, RPA, chair of the BOMA Foundation. "Through BEEP, we have the opportunity to reduce commercial real estate's energy usage by as much as 30 percent, which is the equivalent of removing 120 billion pounds of carbon dioxide emissions from the air-that's equal to 12 millions cars taken off the roads!" www.boma.org

EHX Announces Winners of Best of Demo Alley Awards

Program recognizes high performance A/V products and systems and demonstration techniques

Electronic House Expo, which took place March 28 - April 1 in Orlando, Florida, announced today the winners of its Best of Demo Alley (BODA) Awards. The program recognizes the best high performance A/V equipment and presentations given during the show in its Demo Alley exhibit area.

A panel of judges including professional installers, editors, and audio and video experts took in all nine Demo Alley presentations and selected the most outstanding performance in the following categories:

Best Audio Demo Experience: Parasound Products, Inc. & PMC USA LLC

Best Video Demo Experience: Runco International, Inc. & Stewart Filmscreen

Most Informative Audio Experience: Intel

Most Informative Video Experience: Niveus Media, Inc.

Most Entertaining Presentation: Vidikron; Da-Lite Screen Company, Inc.; CodexNovus, Inc.; Halcro International & James Loudspeaker

Best Overall Demo: AudioControl; SIM2 USA; Da-Lite Screen Company, Inc. & Triad

In addition to the professional judging, EHX also conducted voting from the attendees at the show for the People's Choice Award. Attendees cast their ballots via touch panels donated from Crestron Electronics and selected the following winner:

People's Choice: Intel

Overall there were 24 companies on display in Demo Alley, providing attendees with instruction on how to put together a stellar demonstration that will improve sales opportunities for high performance systems.

"EHX highlights both extraordinary products and the art of the high performance A/V through the Best of Demo Alley program. Demo Alley attendees are not only introduced to great a/v products they can offer, but also the very means of upselling customers to high performance components," stated John Galante, Vice President, EH Events & Education.

About EHX
Electronic House Expo, a Tradeshow Week magazine Fastest 50 event for three years running is the fastest growing trade event of the $13 billion custom electronics industry. Held twice annually and sponsored by CEA's TechHome Division, the EHX trade show floor and conference program provide an invaluable forum for information exchange, education and new product demonstrations from leading manufacturers and service providers across the entire custom electronics spectrum of home networking, automation, entertainment, and security.

About EH Events & Education
EH Events & Education, a division of EH Publishing, Inc. (www.ehpub.com), develops and produces world-class expositions and conferences for the technology and construction industries. The EH Events & Education portfolio includes: Electronic House Expos (EHX) Spring & Fall, the TecHome Builder Conference and Expo (TBX), and Worship Facilities Conference & Expo (WFX). EHX Fall was named the fastest growing show in America by Tradeshow Week magazine in 2003, and both EHX Spring and Fall were named among the fastest 50 growing tradeshows by Tradeshow Week magazine in 2004 and 2005.

About CEA
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry through technology policy, events, research, promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA represents more than 2,000 corporate members involved in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and integration of audio, video, mobile electronics, wireless and landline communications, information technology, home networking, multimedia and accessory products, as well as related services that are sold through consumer channels. Combined, CEA's members account for more than $122 billion in annual sales. CEA's resources are available online at www.CE.org, the definitive source for information about the consumer electronics industry. CEA also sponsors and manages the International CES - Defining Tomorrow's Technology. All profits from CES are reinvested into industry services, including technical training and education, industry promotion, engineering standards development, market research and legislative advocacy.

UPCOMING EVENTS

  • TBX 2006
    May 10-12, 2006, Ontario, California
  • CONNECTIONS ™ - The Digital Home Conference & Showcase
    May 2-4, 2006, Santa Clara, CA
  • 2006 PARA Conference
    May 3-7, 2006, Hilton Head, SC
  • WFX 2006
    November 8-10, 2006, Dallas, TX
  • EHX Fall 2006
    November 14 -17, 2006, Long Beach, CA
  • EHX Spring 2007
    March 6 - 10, 2007, Orlando, FL

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Anixter International Inc. Reports First Quarter Net Income Of 74 Cents Per Diluted Share On Sales of $1.07 Billion

Anixter International Inc. (NYSE: AXE - News), the world's leading distributor of communication products, electrical and electronic wire & cable and a leading distributor of fasteners and other small parts ("C" Class inventory components) to Original Equipment Manufacturers ("OEMs"), today reported results for the quarter ended March 31, 2006.

First Quarter Highlights

    · Record quarterly sales of $1.07 billion, including $70.1 million from
      the July 8, 2005 acquisition of Infast Group plc ("Infast") rose 22
      percent compared to sales of $876.5 million in the year ago quarter.

    · Record quarterly operating income of $59.6 million reflects a 51
      percent increase from the $39.6 million reported in the first quarter
      of 2005.

    · Net income in the quarter increased 53 percent, to $31.3 million, from
      $20.4 million in last year's first quarter.

    · Diluted earnings per share rose 45 percent to 74 cents per share from
      51 cents per share in the prior year quarter.

    · Cash flow from operations was $12.9 million as compared to $7.1 million
      in the year ago quarter.

Financial Highlights
(In millions, except per share amounts)

                                                 Three Months Ended
                                              March 31, April 1, Percent
                                                 2006      2005   Change

Net Sales                                $1,070.5  $876.5    22%
Operating Income                        $59.6    $39.6    51%
Net Income                                 $31.3    $20.4    53%
Diluted Earnings Per Share           $0.74    $0.51    45%
Diluted Weighted Shares                42.4      41.2      3%

Robert Grubbs, President and CEO, said, "Sales in the most recent quarter reflect a continuation of the trends of the past several quarters. We again saw solid, broad-based sales growth in nearly all of the end markets we serve. Growth was particularly strong in the electrical and electronic wire & cable market due to strong end-market customer demand. Our continued success in the first quarter led to record quarterly sales and operating performance for the company."

First Quarter Results

For the three-month period ended March 31, 2006, sales of $1.07 billion produced net income of $31.3 million, or 74 cents per diluted share. Included in the current year's first quarter were sales of $70.1 million from Infast, which was acquired on July 8, 2005. In the prior year period, sales of $876.5 million generated net income of $20.4 million, or 51 cents per diluted share.

Operating income in the first quarter increased 51 percent to $59.6 million as compared to $39.6 million in the year ago quarter. For the latest quarter, operating margins were 5.6 percent as compared to 4.5 percent in the first quarter of 2005.

First Quarter Sales Trends

Commenting on first quarter sales trends, Grubbs said, "Sales in the first quarter grew at a 15 percent organic rate year-over-year after adjusting for the acquisition of Infast and the negative effects of a stronger U.S. dollar that reduced comparative first quarter sales by $5.2 million. This was one of the highest rates of organic growth we have experienced in any quarter since the economic recovery began in 2004."

Grubbs continued, "Our organic growth was the result of strong demand from customers in nearly all end markets. As has been the case over the past few quarters we saw continued growth in larger project business particularly as it relates to data center builds in the enterprise cabling market and in the natural resources market within our electrical and electronic wire & cable market. At the same time, we have seen continued strong growth in security product sales. Lastly, rising copper prices contributed to our organic growth in the most recent quarter. During the quarter, market-based copper prices averaged approximately $2.25 per pound, as compared to $1.47 per pound in the year ago first quarter. We estimate that the higher copper prices accounted for approximately $24.2 million of our year-on-year increase in sales."

"In North America we saw sales grow by 20 percent. In addition to strong end-market demand, North American sales were up $6.5 million due to the stronger Canadian dollar, $5.1 million due to the acquisition of Infast, and $22.6 million due to higher copper prices," commented Grubbs. "Outside of North America, we saw sales climb by 30 percent in Europe as compared to the year ago quarter. The major factor in European sales growth was the July 8, 2005 acquisition of Infast, which added $65.0 million to European sales in the quarter. At the same time, sales comparisons versus the first quarter of the prior year were negatively affected by $12.6 million due to the stronger U.S. dollar. Adjusting for the Infast sales and exchange rate differences, European sales declined by 1 percent as compared to the year ago quarter. This slight decline reflects weak market conditions in much of continental Europe."

"In the emerging markets of Latin America and Asia Pacific, we saw a 26 percent increase in year-on-year sales, which included a $0.9 million favorable currency exchange rate effect. Specifically, Latin America reported very strong year-on-year sales gains of 29 percent. In Asia Pacific, we saw sales increase by 18 percent versus the prior year's first quarter," continued Grubbs.

First Quarter Operating Results

"As a result of strong sales growth in most major end markets, first quarter operating margins were 5.6 percent," said Grubbs. "In North America the 20 percent sales growth resulted in better operating leverage that generated operating margins of 6.0 percent as compared to 4.9 percent in the prior year first quarter."

"In Europe, operating margins in the most recent quarter were 3.4 percent as compared to 3.6 percent in the year ago quarter. Solid operating performance improvement was partially offset by the need to record a provision of $1.1 million for a lease guarantee related to a facility operated by a former Infast affiliate that ceased operations. Excluding this charge, our European operating margins in the most recent quarter would have been 3.8 percent. Our European OEM Supply business had its best operating quarter since the mid-2005 acquisition of Infast, with operating margins of 4.3 percent. This solid operating performance, however, was partially negated by the lease guarantee provision of $1.1 million that reduced the reported first quarter OEM operating margin to 3.3 percent." Commenting further, Grubbs said, "Our communications business in Europe, as it has for the past few quarters, continued to be challenged by comparatively weak demand and very competitive pricing."

"Aided by a favorable sales tax-related settlement in Australia of $2.2 million, Emerging Markets reported operating margins of 7.4 percent in the most recent quarter as compared to 2.4 percent in the year ago quarter. Excluding the favorable sales tax-related adjustment, operating margins in the Emerging Markets in the first quarter were 4.3 percent. Strong revenue growth, particularly in Latin America, continues to allow us to better leverage infrastructure costs in these markets," added Grubbs.

Cash Flow and Leverage

"Given the incremental working capital requirements that typically accompany strong organic sales growth, we were pleased that we were able to manage working capital growth to a level that produced $12.9 million of cash flow from operations in the first quarter," said Dennis Letham, Senior Vice President-Finance. "As a result of the positive cash flow in the quarter, we were able to reduce our debt-to-total capital leverage ratio from 47.0 percent at year-end to 45.1 percent at the end of the first quarter."

"At the end of the first quarter, we had available unused credit facilities of $293.2 million. With the unused credit facilities and the expectation of continued positive cash flow from operations during the balance of the year, we have the resources to support continued strong organic growth and to pursue other strategic alternatives such as acquisitions."

Business Outlook

Concluding, Grubbs said, "We are pleased with the strong start to the new fiscal year. The overall economic outlook appears to be reasonably stable. As always, our ability to execute our strategic initiatives, such as continued development of our security products business on a global basis, integration and consolidation of recent acquisitions and product line expansion in our European and Emerging Markets businesses will be a key to how successful we are for the full year. As we look to the remainder of 2006, the largest potential negative we face would be a drop in copper prices from the historic high levels of recent months. Assuming a reasonable level of successful execution on our part and barring a dramatic drop in copper prices or overall economic softening, we expect to generate continued solid year-on-year earnings growth through the balance of the year."

First Quarter Earnings Report

Anixter will report results for the 2006 first quarter on Tuesday, April 25, 2006, and broadcast a conference call discussing them at 9:30 am central time. The call will be Webcast by CCBN and can be accessed at Anixter's Website at http://www.anixter.com. The Webcast also will be available over CCBN's Investor Distribution Network to both institutional and individual investors. Individual investors can listen to the call through CCBN's individual investor center at http://www.companyboardroom.com, or by visiting any of the investor sites in CCBN's Individual Investor Network (such as America Online's Personal Finance Channel and Fidelity.com). Institutional investors can access the call via CCBN's password-protected event management site, Street Events (http://www.streetevents.com). The Webcast will be archived on all of these sites for 30 days.

Safe Harbor Statement

The statements in this news release that use such words as "believe," "expect," "intend," "anticipate," "contemplate," "estimate," "plan," "project," "should," "may," or similar expressions are forward-looking statements. They are subject to a number of factors that could cause the company's actual results to differ materially from what is indicated here. These factors include general economic conditions, technology changes, changes in supplier or customer relationships, commodity price fluctuations, exchange rate fluctuations, new or changed competitors and risks associated with integration of recently acquired companies. Please see the company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings for more information.

Additional information about Anixter is available on the Internet at http://www.anixter.com.

Telepak Networks Selects Corning Cable Systems Products For FTTH Deployment

Corning Cable Systems, part of Corning Incorporated's (NYSE:GLW) Telecommunications segment, announced today that Telepak Networks has chosen Corning products for its latest fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployment in Crystal Springs, Miss.

Telepak Networks, a full service provider of Internet, telecommunications and network services, is installing a FTTH network for approximately 2,750 homes in Crystal Springs, the second FTTH community in Mississippi. For the all-fiber network, Telepak chose Corning Cable Systems' Evolant® Advantage Solution, including all of the backbone and distribution cable containing Corning® optical fiber, as well as Corning Cable Systems' Eclipse® Hardware with LCP splitters for the central office.

The deployment consisted of office switch homerun architecture with all the fibers terminated within the central office, along with the 1x32 splitters. Telepak was looking for a solution that would minimize the number of passive optical racks within the central office in order to save valuable space for electronics as well as power requirements. By utilizing Corning Cable Systems Evolant Advantage Solution in the central office - which for 288-fiber distribution capacity, including up to nine 1x32 splitters, all within 12 rack spaces - Telepak was able to reduce the passive optical footprint by more than 33 percent.

With the Corning products and the benefits of FTTH, Telepak will offer customers converged billing as well as state-of-the-art Internet, telephone and television services. The Telepak network will work from a central office, with fibers homerun directly to the customer premises.

"Corning was able to provide a solution that gave us the fiber management we required from the central office," said Steven Meadows, sales manager at Telepak. "This FTTH deployment will take our residents to the next level, with services including converged billing, high-quality digital video and an expanded calling area."

Meadows continued, "Through our affiliates we have a 50-year history of serving small communities in Mississippi. We are eager to continue that tradition by introducing an advanced network that will not only enrich peoples' lives, but also create new economic opportunities."

"Telepak Networks is advancing the state of optical communications by bringing fiber to the home in Crystal Springs," said Dr. Bernhard Deutsch, director of marketing and market development for Corning Cable Systems. "We are pleased to have a significant part in bringing an advanced network and advanced services to Mississippi residents."

Through its Evolant® Solutions for Access Networks, Corning Cable Systems offers specialized portfolios of innovative products and services that enable customers to cost-effectively deploy fiber in the last mile. Evolant Solutions for Access Networks encompasses state-of-the-art products that reduce the cost of deployment and increase the networks efficiency and reliability. For additional information on Corning Cable Systems products or services, contact a customer service representative at 1-800-743-2675, toll free in the United States, or (+1) 828-901-5000, international, or visit the Web site at www.corning.com/cablesystems.

Convergent Living And Nuvo Technologies Announce Ecosystem Participation

Convergent Living, developer of intelligent whole home control appliances, and Nuvo Technologies, a leader in manufacturing whole home audio systems and provider of leading edge micro processor based controls, today announced a strategic alliance that allows for Nuvo's Concerto series components to be seamlessly integrated with the Convergent Companion controllers.

"By engineering in pre-integrated support for sophisticated and compelling subsystems, Convergent can offer professionals very robust interoperability featuring intuitive interfaces, simplified setup and a total control solution which now includes the Concerto preamp from market leader, Nuvo" Craig Slawson, President of Convergent Living.

"We are pleased to form a relationship with Convergent. While our technology brings remarkable high fidelity audio to every room of the home, having it integrate with the other technologies brought into the home is key to the consumer experience and provides a platform for growth into the technologies of the future." said Trudi Luebberst, Director of Marketing.

Companion smartscreens are a suite of elegant in-wall, handheld, desktop as well as TV and PC control with the latest chipset technology from AMD and interface technology from Macromedia. Direct multi-room audio control from NuVo rounds out the Companion direct-connected capabilities with scene lighting, security, webcams, CCTV, multi-room audio, digital media servers and media players. They bring out the best of partner subsystems, simplify pre-wire, offer cross-platform macro/logic interactivity and allow users access to all systems from home PC, TVs in addition to the elegant Companion appliances.

About Convergent
Convergent Living provides sophisticated, engaging control solutions for whole home management as well as tools for dealers to sell affordable and scalable solutions to builders and developers. Companion products are designed specifically from a user's perspective in controlling complex home networks easily while vastly simplifying the installation process for professional. For more information, visit www.Convergentliving.com.

About NuVo
NuVo Technologies is an innovator in the engineering, manufacturing, and distribution of high-quality audio distribution systems. Offering electronics that represent the best value in class, NuVo provides superior engineering, distribution, and customer support from its offices in Cincinnati, OH, and state-of-the-art manufacturing in mainland China. NuVo prides itself on designing and distributing products that are easy to install and operate in the home. NuVo products may be seen at the company's comprehensive website at www.nuvotechnologies.com.

Belden To Shutter Sweden Plant

Belden CDT Inc., a maker of electronics cables, on Tuesday said it plans to close its Orebro, Sweden, plant in a move to reduce its European manufacturing operations.

Belden said it started negotiations with union representatives on the terms of the closure. The company plans to open a service center and keep its sales office in the country. 85 employees will be affected by the shutdown.

Belden said the "economic realities" of the European business climate made the move necessary.

Shares fell 38 cents to $26.53 in recent trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Belden CDT Inc. (NYSE: BDC - News) announced today that it has entered into negotiations with the union representatives of its associates in Orebro, Sweden regarding plans to discontinue manufacturing operations there. Upon completion of negotiations, the Company expects to relocate production to its other European manufacturing locations. The Company plans to establish a service center and maintain its sales representation in Sweden.

Larrie Rose, President of Belden CDT Europe, said, "Exiting our manufacturing operations in Orebro furthers our plan to reduce our manufacturing footprint in Europe while improving the operating performance in the division. It is a difficult decision but one made necessary by the economic realities of today's European business environment."

The Company currently employs 85 people in Orebro, Sweden, in manufacturing, distribution, sales and administration.

Forward-Looking Statements

Statements in this release other than historical facts are "forward-looking statements" made in reliance upon the safe harbor of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are based on forecasts and projections about the industries served by the Company and about general economic conditions. They reflect management's beliefs and expectations. They are not guarantees of future performance and they involve risk and uncertainty. The Company's actual results may differ significantly from these expectations. For a more complete discussion of risk factors, please see Belden CDT's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005, filed with the SEC on March 16, 2006. Belden CDT Inc. assumes no responsibility to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information or future developments. www.belden.com

Latest NEIS Covers Armored Cable (Type AC) And Metal-Clad Cable (Type MC) - NECA

The newest National Electrical Installation Standards (NEIS) from NECA is NECA/NACMA 120-2006, Standard for Installing Armored Cable (Type AC) and Metal-Clad Cable (Type MC) (ANSI). This standard is a joint effort between NECA and NACMA.

This standard covers the installation of Type AC cable and Type MC cables, which are used for electrical wiring for residential, commercial and industrial occupancies. It also includes information on fittings and other accessories necessary for a quality installation of these cable systems.

This standard is intended to enhance electrical safety by:

   ·Ensuring that the proper cable is selected for the installation.
   ·Describing proper installation methods for Type AC and MC cables.
   ·Aiding installers in meeting the "neat and workman like" requirements of the NEC.
   ·Creating an installation that will protect the wire conductors from mechanical abuse.

James C. Dollins, Chairman of NACMA stated, "The National Armored Cable Manufacturers Association is very pleased to be able to work with NECA to provide a comprehensive installation guide for the use of Armored and Metal/Clad Cables. We hope this will be a useful working document for the industry."

NEIS® are the first performance workmanship standards for electrical construction, and are approved by the American National Standards Institute. ANSI-approved technical documents are generally regarded as being the "official" U.S. standard on any given subject.

The National Electrical Contractors Association is the voice of the $100 billion industry responsible for bringing lighting, power, and communications to buildings and communities across the United States. NECA's national office and 120 local chapters advance the electrical contracting industry through advocacy, education, research, and standards development. NECA celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2001. http://www.necanet.org

The CABA Board of Directors Cordially Invites You To The Intelligent Buildings Leadership Forum

This year's Forum will provide business leaders an environment to openly explore pressing issues facing the intelligent building industry, exchange experiences and ideas and get a fresh insight into the challenges confronting your companies. This event will provide industry leaders the opportunity to have input into CABA's Intelligent Buildings Roadmap.

RSVP and Full Agenda
Please RSVP by May 31, 2006 as seating is limited to the first 150 executives. There is also limited seating for the Intelligent Buildings Tour in Dallas!

Sincerely,

Ron Zimmer, President & CEO
Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA)

P: 888.798.CABA (2222); 613.990.7407
F: 613.991.9990
email: caba@caba.org
web: www.caba.org

EHX Steps Up To New Level with Record-Breaking Growth & New Programs

Focus on new digital technologies, new products and business practices drives event to new heights

Last month marked the seventh annual Electronic House Expo Spring in Orlando, Florida, a watershed year for the event, which posted record numbers in attendance, exhibitors and exhibit space. New and improved exhibit and conference program elements led the way to growth not only in size but also quality.

Some 328 manufacturers, distributors and service providers filled better than 190,000 gross square feet of exhibit space at EHX Spring 2006, a 34 percent increase over 2005. Highlights of the exposition included triple digit growth of exhibit space dedicated to digital media servers/centers, high performance audio and video components and electronic security products as well as continued strong growth in EHX staple categories like home networking, multi-room audio, home theater and home automation. In response to record breaking attendance in excess of 9,500 (final number due next week, pending database analysis), exhibit space rebooking for EHX Spring 2007 surged, too, with better than 26 percent growth. These initial sales put the show on track to 240,000 gross square feet of exhibit space in 2007.

Conference Program EHX boot camps and seminars drew a record 800+ paid conferees to learn from the myriad of professional instructors on a variety of topics. Among the most well-attended courses were: Media Center Boot Camp; Home Theater Boot Camp; Multi-Room Audio Design & Installation; IP-Based Networked Audio/Video & the Future of Home Entertainment; Get Clients Now! Fill the Pipeline with New Business Every 90 Days; New Opportunities in the Digital Home. Better than 150 conferees also attended the EHX Wake-Up Call Breakfast - Builder Market Breakthrough, a panel discussion led by Steve Koenig, from CEA.

Opening Keynote
Thursday, March 30 began with a standing-room-only opening keynote from CEA President and CEO, Gary Shapiro, as well as cameo appearances from Gary Yacoubian, President, Myer-Emco & Chairman of CEA's PARA Division and David Epstein, President, SEI/Sound Solutions & Vice Chair of CEA's TechHome Division. The hour-long presentation, titled Creating and Selling the New CE Experience, gave attendees a look into the latest technologies and products that provide new sales opportunities for custom retailers and integrators.

Custom Retailing Day
Making its debut at EHX Spring, Custom Retailing Day was a huge success, drawing hundreds of hybrid custom integrators/retailers to the day-long program, led by Deborah Smith, retail and custom business strategist and industry expert. The program provided a day full of business education to help custom dealers streamline operations, ramp up sales and marketing and create surefire plans to maximize sales and profits.

Exhibit Floor
The tradeshow floor was buzzing for all three days of EHX Spring. Attendees were treated to thousands of product demonstrations from the 328 exhibitors on hand. Exceptional Innovation and market ally HP made the largest splash on the floor with the biggest booth ever at an EHX. Some of the major trends evident at last week's show included the arrival of digital media servers/centers as a major custom electronics product category, the resurgence of home automation and lighting control and the expanding penetration of high performance audio and video products in the custom mix.

Demo Alley & Best of Demo Alley Awards
Last week's event also included an exclusive display of some of the best high performance gear for home theater demos. Overall there were 24 companies on display in demo alley, providing attendees with instruction on how to put together a stellar demonstration that will improve sales opportunities for these high performance and high ticket systems. Best of Demo Alley Award winners included AudioControl, CodexNovus, Inc, Da-Lite Screen Company, Inc., Halcro International, Intel, James Loudspeaker, Niveus Media, Inc., Parasound Products, Inc., PMC USA LLC, Runco International, Inc., SIM2 USA, Stewart Filmscreen, Triad, and Vidikron.

Alarm Association of Florida Convention & Electronic Security Pavilion
More than 300 Alarm Association of Florida (AAF) members attended their annual convention, co-located for the first time with EHX Spring. The AAF also sponsored a product pavilion on the show floor, featuring 12 new EHX exhibitors, including category busters in electronic access control.

CEA Mark of Excellence Awards
Dozens of home technology products, projects, and companies were recognized in the ninth annual CEA Mark of Excellence Awards program. More than 150 industry leaders gathered for the awards banquet at EHX to celebrate the success of winners and entrants and enjoy a spirited, light-hearted evening. For more information on winners visit www.ce.org/moe.

"Our focus on new technology, product and business practice trends and excellent customer service at EHX is clearly paying dividends," stated John Galante, Vice President, EH Events & Education. "Looking ahead to EHX Fall 2006 and Spring 2007, we'll keep pushing to provide the most up-to-date technical and business education, a show floor that reflects the most important developments in technology and products and an event environment that's convenient, efficient and enjoyable."

About EHX
Electronic House Expo, a Tradeshow Week magazine Fastest 50 event for three years is the fastest growing trade event of the $13 billion custom electronics industry. Held twice annually and sponsored by CEA's TechHome Division, the EHX trade show floor and conference program provide an invaluable forum for information exchange, education and new product demonstrations from leading manufacturers and service providers across the entire custom electronics spectrum of home networking, automation, entertainment, and security.

About EH Events & Education
EH Events & Education, a division of EH Publishing, Inc. (www.ehpub.com) develops and produces world-class expositions and conferences for the technology and construction industries. The EH Events & Education portfolio includes: Electronic House Expos (EHX) Spring & Fall, the TecHome Builder Conference and Expo (TBX), and Worship Facilities Conference & Expo (WFX). EHX Fall was named the fastest growing show in America by Tradeshow Week magazine in 2003, and both EHX Spring and Fall were named among the fastest 50 growing tradeshows by Tradeshow Week magazine in 2004 and 2005.

About CEA
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is the preeminent trade association promoting growth in the consumer technology industry through technology policy, events, research, promotion and the fostering of business and strategic relationships. CEA represents more than 2,000 corporate members involved in the design, development, manufacturing, distribution and integration of audio, video, mobile electronics, wireless and landline communications, information technology, home networking, multimedia and accessory products, as well as related services that are sold through consumer channels. Combined, CEA's members account for more than $122 billion in annual sales. CEA's resources are available online at www.CE.org, the definitive source for information about the consumer electronics industry. CEA also sponsors and manages the International CES - Defining Tomorrow's Technology. All profits from CES are reinvested into industry services, including technical training and education, industry promotion, engineering standards development, market research and legislative advocacy.

UPCOMING EVENTS

   ·TBX 2006
    May 10-12, 2006, Ontario, California

   ·CONNECTIONS ™ - The Digital Home Conference & Showcase
    May 2-4, 2006, Santa Clara, CA

   ·2006 PARA Conference
    May 3-7, 2006, Hilton Head, SC

   ·WFX 2006
    November 8-10, 2006, Dallas, TX

   ·EHX Fall 2006
    November 14 -17, 2006, Long Beach, CA

   ·EHX Spring 2007
    March 6 - 10, 2007, Orlando, FL

Rexel's Datacom Training: 4th Center Opens In N.C.

With the March grand opening of a new BICSI-certified Technology Training Center in Newton, N.C., Rexel - the world's largest electrical/datacom distributor - now has four such centers operational in the U.S.

Newton, in Catawba County, "is already rich with technologies in manufacturing," explained Dru Heldman, datacom area manager for Rexel. "This new resource is a great boost for economic development in Catawba and the surrounding region of North Carolina."

A permanent site, the Newton BICSI training center includes a shell cabling infrastructure pathway with an entrance facility, Telecommunications Room racking, and main cross connect and termination equipment.

"We have a schedule of BICSI classes set for the year," said Heldman. "We'll add classes for fiber optics, outside plant (OSP), and residential structured cabling."

Rexel's other BICSI-certified datacom training centers are located in Linthicum, Maryland; Chantilly, Va.; and Denver. Colo.

All of Rexel's nearly 300 U.S. branches carry the most frequently requested datacom parts (as well as electrical inventory), which gives the company more locations selling datacom products than any other U.S. distributor. www.rexelusa.com

HAI Announces 2006 Five-Star Dealers

HAI, the leading manufacturer of integrated automation and security products since 1985, announced the winners of its Five-Star Dealer program for 2006 on March 31st at their annual Dealer Appreciation Party held at the EH Expo in Orlando, FL.

HAI's Five-Star Dealer program was initiated in 2001 to recognize and reward its outstanding dealers. "In spite of the difficulties with Hurricane Katrina, 2005 was HAI's most successful year ever," explains HAI President, Jay McLellan. "The key to that success and growth has been the support of our dealers. Thanks to them we're stronger and better than ever and the Five Star Dealer program is all about growing our businesses together."

Winners were selected based on various criteria, including the number of years the dealer has been installing HAI products, number of systems installed in the previous year, and unique marketing or programming solutions that involved an HAI product.

The 250 companies named as 2006 HAI Five-Star Dealers are listed on HAI's website at www.homeauto.com.

About HAI
HAI is a privately held manufacturer of integrated automation and security products for residential and commercial use based in New Orleans, LA. Incorporated in 1985, HAI has developed a full line of award-winning automation products, including automation controllers, communicating programmable thermostats, smart light switches, and software that allows access and control of an automation system over the Internet. All products are sold through HAI's worldwide network of Distribution Partners and installed by over 1000 trained dealers. www.homeauto.com

Exceptional Innovation Launches Their Highly Anticipated Lifeware 1.0.1

Powerful home control solution created when Lifeware 1.0.1 is combined with HP digital entertainment products.

Exceptional Innovation announces the introduction of their Lifeware™ home control software for seamless integration with Windows® XP Media Center Edition 2005. With this official release of version 1.0.1 of Lifeware-branded software, Exceptional Innovation can support MCE-based installations better than any other company in the industry.

Unlike other home automation solutions that tie the homeowner into a single-branded, proprietary solution, Lifeware by Exceptional Innovation is hardware-neutral giving you more choices and flexibility with seamless integration with Windows Media Center. Lifeware can be run on a Media Center PC, digital entertainment center, Media Center extender or Lifetouch™ all-digital high definition touch panel. Lifeware expands the power and flexibility of Media Center to include lighting, audio/video distribution, security, and HVAC all through the same easy-to-use interface and a single remote.

"At EHX attendees can experience Lifeware teamed with HP Digital Entertainment Centers, televisions, cameras and other digital products, highlighting the powerful combination of home control and digital entertainment," said Mike Seamons, Exceptional Innovation's Vice President of Marketing.

"Through the collaboration between HP and EI custom installers can achieve increased flexibility to better meet the needs of their customers, while offering the highest quality digital technologies," said Jan Luc Blakborn, director of digital entertainment at HP. "You create something truly compelling when you pair HP's advanced digital entertainment hardware with innovative home automation software like Lifeware."

Other vendor partners benefit from tight integration with Lifeware. Vantage Controls, an industry-leading lighting automation company, gives dealers the ability to embed Exceptional Innovation's LifeLink™ software on their Infusion controller to achieve instant recognition and communication between the two products with little-to-no programming required.

Thanks to Lifeware, Russound's CAV 6.6 audio distribution system can be seen at the show doing something it has never done before - controlling Media Center functions and displaying Media Center-provided metadata directly on a standard Russound keypad. "Companies like Vantage and Russound have really embraced the notion of well-wrought software extending and expanding the reach and functionality of their products to provide a truly tremendous user experience," said Seamons.

The key to Lifeware's flexibility is its use of Web Services for Devices (WSD) to communicate between different home systems. Instead of writing proprietary drivers, Exceptional Innovation's builds software bridges to all Lifeware Compatible partner products that make each subsystem fit the flexible, cross-platform Web Services for Devices standard.

The WSD approach enables rapid two-way communications that are reliable and robust. Seamons noted that the technology is currently used by enterprise information systems companies like eBay and Amazon.com. "Most other companies in this space use a basic Web server model where you bring up a Web page and it simply refreshes to reflect a change in status. From a software standpoint, that's slower and much less graceful than using Web Services."

By taking an open, standards-based approach to home automation, Exceptional Innovation not only created a system that is affordable and scale-able from one room applications to large, palatial estates, but also a system that can easily be expanded as new vendor partners are added. www.exceptionalinnovation.com


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