Find out why BICSI is today's fastest growing Cabling Association. Our industry expertise, technological resources and Certification programs keep you on the competitive edge. Let us serve you to our mutual success!

 
Home | HOTS | Environmental Info | News & Issues | The Router Calendar of Events | About Us | E-mail Us
 

 

Wireville.com

Issue: October 2006
By: Frank Bisbee


Datacom/Telecom Glossary
In This Issue

Bits N' Pieces

Bisbee's Buzz

September was packed with news. The data center folks gathered in Orlando for AFCOM’s annual Data Center Conference. All of the attendees that we spoke with were pleased with the programs and the value that they extracted from the exhibitors. For information on AFCOM’s upcoming events visit www.afcom.com.

Mid-September the cabling industry gathered in Las Vegas for BICSI’s record-breaking fall conference.  The program was better than any we have seen in the past several years.  The stats are impressive and the interviews we had with attendees and exhibitors were virtually unanimous with a “big thumbs-up” for BICSI.  In addition to the educational credit units earned at the conference, everyone qualified for the Boy Scouts Hiking Merit Badge.  The BICSI staff should be commended for the outstanding job of organizing this smooth flowing event.  Many of the exhibitors used this venue for organizational status meetings.  With sales on the rise and commodity prices holding (for the time being), there was lots of positive feedback from their distribution partners. 

Hats off to David Cranmer the BICSI interim Executive Director.  His team broke records in all areas for this fall conference.  Check the BICSI website in the near future for details on this event. 

My favorites from the conference program and special presentations:

·         Fluke Networks presentation (by Adrian Young) and luncheon on 10Gig testing.

·         New products for residential cabling and connectors by Preformed Line Products, SMP Data, ERICO, and Hitachi HCM Cable

·         Presentation: Safety, Firestopping, and getting along with the AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) by Mike Tobias Sr. – Unique Firestop Products

·         Special recognition to the presentation by Cynthia Montstream, RCDD/NTS and Dale Budenski, RCDD for the presentation “What the standards aren’t telling you may greatly impact your installation – especially 10G”

·         Graybar, Anixter, Accu-Tech, Rexel, and CSC distributors were all sending a strong message on convergence.  If your focus is limited to voice and data cabling, you are missing a huge set of valuable offerings with significant revenue.

·         Copper isn’t dead, not by a long shot.  However, fiber is outpacing all other types of media in the new cabling applications.  Every cabling manufacturer had exciting products in the fiber optic column. Check out the training opportunities with Corning. 

·         Wiring for wireless is HOT.  The exploding demand for Wi-Fi is universal and the cabling opportunities are everywhere. 

October brings new opportunities.  The 2006 NECA Show in Boston (www.necashow.org ) 

October 7-10, 2006.  Last years show was wiped out by hurricane Katrina and this year’s agenda is doubly packed with value.  This is a “must do” event for electrical contractors, and contractors involved in IBS (integrated building systems), and voice/data/video. The impact of convergence is especially strong in this sector. 

Remember, Safety is too important to ignore.

But that’s just my opinion….

Frank Bisbee
Editor – HOTS (Heard On The Street) monthly column
Featured on www.wireville.com
Jacksonville, FL
frank@wireville.com
Tel. 904-645-9077
Fax 904-645-9058

RHINO Non-adhesive Tag Fills Labeling Market Void

RHINO, the industrial division of DYMO Corporation, a NewellRubbermaid company, to announced the addition of Non-adhesive Tag to its line of label printer cartridges. This new product was developed to fill a void that currently exists in non-adhesive labeling applications.

Non-adhesive labels are required in applications that use plastic holders, such as on distribution panels, electrical wiring, or modular outlets. To date, non-adhesive labeling products have posed a variety of problems. These labels are often manufacturer-exclusive and non-interchangeable among components, or they require a supply of books and cards of individual letters and numbers to be kept on hand. In some cases, they are on perforated sheets that must be printed using an office printer or plotter and can result in waste if only a few labels are needed.

“The problem with most non-adhesive labeling products,” explained Lea Ann Schmidt, Sr. Product Manager for RHINO,  “is that they either require printing at the office – which is just not feasible for efficient field installations, or they require many different products be carried into the field such as various size labels and books of letters and numbers. RHINO developed its new Non-adhesive Tag cartridges to eliminate both problems.”

New RHINO Non-adhesive Tag cartridges drop into hand-held, electronic RHINO label printers (RHINO 5000, 3000 and 1000) in the same way that other adhesive-style label cartridges do. Installers simply enter the label text and size they need and press “print”. The label information is output on the non-adhesive tag in the exact size the installer needs, right at the job site. The need for individual or various size tag inserts is eliminated, saving the installer space in his toolbox and money in his pocket. As a bonus, RHINO labels make installations look polished and professional.

Doug Waldal, Global Director of Rhino, added, “The benefit of the new RHINO Non-adhesive Tag cartridges is that they offer installers more flexibility on the spot, saving time and reducing labeling inventory levels and costs. Installers can cut the inserts exactly to the size they need – all from the same cartridge. And, an installer can print just one or many labels at any given time. It’s an incredibly flexible solution to a long-standing problem with non-adhesive labeling applications.”

The new RHINO Non-adhesive Tag cartridges are available in 1/4” (6mm), 3/8” (9mm), 1/2” (12mm) and 3/4” (19mm) widths, in lengths of 18’ (5.5 meters).  Available in both white and yellow colors, the label material is constructed of non-adhesive polypropylene, providing excellent durability, rigidity and printability. RHINO Non-adhesive Tag cartridges work in the RHINO 5000, RHINO 3000 and RHINO 1000 label printers.

RHINO Non-adhesive Tag cartridges retail from $15.99 - $17.99. The RHINO 5000 and RHINO 3000 retail for $149.99 and $99.99 respectively. All are available now through your local distributor.   www.rhinolabeling.com

Certified Communications For All Your Staffing Needs For The Electrical Voice & Data Industry

Certified Communications is an experienced recruiting firm that is well equipped to handle any staffing needs.  Our mission is to provide a quality service and contingent work force for the Electrical and Voice / Data industries. We provide skilled labor at levels of discipline that will allow the enhancement of your current staff. Through our cost effective services you will increase profit and productivity, while reaching project requirements and deadlines. Certified has a proven track record as one of the most successful staffing and recruiting firms in Texas. We are staffing specialists in the voice / data and electrical fields. With more than 30 years of staffing experience, Certified Communications has made a commitment to each of our clients and employees to remain confidential as well as attentive to all needs. We are excited about the potential this relationship represents for you as a client and for Certified as your Partner. We look forward to working together and we take this responsibility seriously. Our employment capabilities include but are not limited to:

Cable Installation Techs (Levels I, II, &III)

Fire Alarm Installer

CCTV Techs

Audio Visual Techs

Electrical Journeyman

Electrical Apprentice

Electrical Helper

Certified Communications is capable of covering the Texas region with offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio.

Certified Communications Inc would also like to welcome its newest addition in 

Tampa, FL.

As a BICSI Corporate member Certified has an Authorized Training Center in our Dallas facility offering BICSI installation classes and distribution fundamental certificate training. www.certified.com

NFPA’s Residential Wiring, 2nd Edition

NFPA’s Residential Wiring, 2nd Edition, by NECA Executive Director for Standards & Safety Brooke Stauffer, is available through the National Fire Protection Association.  Intended as a textbook, this practical guide provides room-by-room instructions on how to design and install wring systems for houses, apartments, and condos in accordance with the 2005 National Electric Code.  Reflecting new concerns with power security, it also has a new chapter on backup generators.  Priced at $57, it may be ordered at www.nfpacatalog.org or by calling 1-800-344-3555.

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine September 2006 issue – www.ecmag.com

Leviton Acquires Fiber Connect

The Leviton Manufacturing Company, North America’s largest producer of electrical and electronic wiring devices and manufacturer of voice and data solutions, today announced its acquisition of Fiber Connect Incorporated, a Chicago-based provider of Data Center fiber optic solutions.

“With this acquisition, our second fiber optic-related acquisition in less than 24 months, our Voice and Data division broadens its suite of Data Center products,” stated Daryoush Larizadeh, Leviton’s Senior Vice President. “This suite now includes quick-turn, custom, high-performance fiber solutions, a full range of Category-rated connectivity including 10G, as well as cable management and power solutions,” Larizadeh added.

 “As Fiber Connect reaches its tenth year in business, we are proud to join Leviton,” stated Ron Berrettini, President and founder of Fiber Connect.  “We can now better serve our clients with Leviton’s global manufacturing and logistics capabilities, as well as reach a new set of customers in cooperation with Leviton’s sales force.  As technology infrastructure evolves, and increases in importance, we will become a global integration organization.”

Data Center infrastructure spending is growing rapidly and increasing in complexity,” added Don Hendler, President of Leviton. “We have worked with Fiber Connect over the past few years and we look forward to bringing the benefits of a broad, high-performance solution to Leviton’s customers worldwide.”

With this acquisition, Leviton extends its leading-edge fiber solutions to a wider audience of distributors, contractors and end-users, with faster delivery, superior design and increased technical support for Plug-n-Play Fiber and Data Center applications. The complete Leviton fiber product line includes extensive pre-terminated and field-terminated fiber solutions, a broad selection of standard and made to order fiber optic cable assemblies (trunks), enclosures, cable management and overhead raceways.

Fiber Connect is a wholly owned subsidiary and reports into Leviton’s Voice and Data Division, which is led by Ross Goldman, Vice President and General Manager.

About Fiber Connect
A data center infrastructure firm, Fiber Connect provides solutions for the most advanced data centers in Fortune 1000 companies. Fiber Connect develops and manufactures fiber optic infrastructure solutions, and provides design, installation, commissioning and maintenance of data centers.  Fiber Connect's headquarters is located in St. Charles IL, just outside of Chicago.  www.fiber-connect.com

About Leviton
Established in 1906, Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc. is one of the world’s most diversified electrical manufacturing companies. Leviton has more than thirty facilities dedicated to engineering, manufacturing and distribution of over 25,000 products for nearly every connectivity need. Leviton’s Voice & Data division is dedicated to producing complete copper, fiber and wireless network infrastructure solutions for enterprise, data center, and service provider applications. www.levitonvoicedata.com

BICSI Fall Conference Offers Diverse Education, Networking Opportunities

Drawing more than 3,000 information transport systems (ITS) professionals and exhibitors from around the world dedicated to advancing the ITS industry, the 2006 BICSI Fall Conference was held September 18-21 at the MGM Grand Conference Center in Las Vegas.

The conference offered an unrivaled educational line-up of interactive seminars, presentations, courses and state-of-the-art exhibits—from the latest developments in wireless network designs and firestop systems to advances in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology and audio/video applications.

“BICSI always manages to put on a conference that is world-class,” said Robert Langevin, a registered communications distribution designer (RCDD). “The information that is presented is constantly up-to-date and the best available.”

Following several well-received presentations during the General Session on Tuesday, September 19, conference attendees had the opportunity to design their own schedules on Wednesday from over 16 various Breakout Session presentations. The morning session topics included cable sharing, OSP permitting issues, NENP connector technology, WLAN, shielded and un-shielded cabling, wiring closet cooling needs, communicating with the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ), and FTTE and implementation.

The afternoon sessions on Wednesday featured topics such as in-building Wi-Fi, residential and commercial wiring opportunities, smoke leakage, Master Format 2004, RFC2544, laser-optimized fiber, RoHS, and contamination problems and prevention.

The evening closed with the ever-successful BICSI Reception and Exhibits. “This is one of our better conferences that we are involved in throughout the year, states Ryan Goard, RCDD, with General Cable in Castle Rock, Colorado. “Everyone I’ve spoken to has been very satisfied, and it continually helps us to understand the customers that visit from other parts of the country and to make adjustments in our overall business approaches.”

Thursday, January 26, morning opened with presentations by Gregg Kelley of Lynx Broadband and Richard Reed, consultant for BICSI Government Relations. Kelley presented “Television on Twisted Pair Cable,” highlighting the extensive benefits, multiple applications and relative low cost of such systems versus coaxial installations. Reed summarized the major efforts taken on BICSI members’ behalf throughout the year in the governmental relations report.

BICSI Cares, Inc. was at the conference, collecting contributions from BICSI conference attendees, to donate 100% of the contributions to the Children’s Heart Foundation of Las Vegas. CHF received a total of $23,500 from BICSI membership and conference attendees. Originally, the large presentation check was only written for $22,000, but during the 15-minute break immediately before the presentation, BICSI Cares collected an additional $1,500.

The closing presentation was a memorable event. The President George W. Bush impersonator was a funny, quirky performance that BICSI membership enjoyed before traveling back home to recuperate from days filled with education, networking, and fun.

www.bicsi.org

TPMA To Offer RCDD Training Program

The Telecommunications Project Management Association announced a melded Internet, instructor lead, distance learning, and “on site” test preparation class focused on the BICSI Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD). TPMA Executive Director Don Nelson announced the program. Current TPMA Specialty Exams focus on various Information Technology areas such as;

Premises Networks, Global Networks, Outside Plant, Wireless, CATV, Security, and Access Control Systems.

The technology Exam is a part of the Project Management test. “If you are building a wireless system, you want a PM who has technical knowledge in that field” Nelson said. “Many of our members find it useful to have additional certifications in a particular

Technology area. The RCDD is the gold standard in the area of premises distribution and information transport”.

The TPMA program will involve;

Self Study

Interactive internet based modules

Instructor lead distance learning

Intensive “on site” test preparation

Group study sessions

The cost of the program is $1499, which is very cost effective against

Other programs, and additionally, the travel and living costs are reduced. TPMA offers a free repeat of the program if a student doesn’t pass the Exam on the first attempt.

2007 Dates and locations for the TPMA RCDD Test Prep portion of the program are:

Orlando, FL               January 15 to January 18, 2007

Vancouver, BC         February 26 to March 1, 2007

Dallas, TX                  April 9 to April 12, 2007

Las Vegas, NV          September 3 to September 6, 2007

Students can join, and begin the Internet and distance learning classes at any time.

“Suitcase” RCDD Test Prep classes are also being scheduled.

http://www.telpm.org

Fluke Corp. Updates Electrical Measurement Safety Education Video

Flue Corp., a manufacturer of handheld electric test and measurement technology, has released an updated version of its Electrical Measurement Safety interactive video aimed at reducing hazards for people measuring electrical circuits.  It may help reduce risk liability for employers.

Electrical safety compliance training violations were No. 7 and 10 on the 2005 Top 10 list of the most frequently cited standards published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA regulations include a six-point plan to minimize potential arc flash danger for personnel that address issues such as requirements for safety programs, training and use of appropriate tools for safe working conditions.

The video has been revised to incorporate the most recent guidelines from the National Fire Protections Association (NFPA) 70E standard for electrical safety in the workplace, which specifically addresses arc flash hazards. 

Materials also incorporate safety information from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), International Elctrotechnical Conference (IEC), and other safety regulators.

The video includes the following:

·         Safety video:  This 25-minute video dramatizes the hazards of electrical measurement and explains the precautions that help defend against arc flashes.  It includes the experience of an electrician almost killed by an arc flash.

·         Test Tool post-test:  This quick test helps electrical professionals determine whether the test tools they are using meet today’s safety standards.

·         Interview with an arc-blast survivor:  This electrician survived an arc blast and is back on the job, though his recovery required months of skin grafts.  Hear what happened and what he learned.

·         Safety application notes: Each of these brief notes is designed to serve as the basis of a safety meeting discussion or as a chapter in the electrical safety reference library.

The video is available free of charge on CD through the Fluke Web site, www.fluke.com/safety.

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine September 2006 issue – www.ecmag.com

Preformed Line Products Company Announces Purchase Of Common Shares and Termination Of Controlled Company Status


Preformed Line Products Company (Nasdaq: PLPC - News) today announced that it has used a portion of its available cash to repurchase 365,311 common shares of the Company from Barbara P. Ruhlman in a privately negotiated transaction. Mrs. Ruhlman, the Company's largest shareholder, had determined to diversify her portfolio for estate planning reasons. Mrs. Ruhlman is a member of the Company's Board of Directors and the mother of Robert G. Ruhlman and Randall M. Ruhlman, both of whom are also members of the Board of Directors. Robert G. Ruhlman is Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company.

The closing price of the Company's common shares today on the NASDAQ National Market System was $37.50 per share. The negotiated purchase price per share paid by the Company was $31.48, a 15% discount from the average closing price of the Company's common shares over the last 30 calendar days.

The repurchase was approved by both the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors of the Company and the Company's Board of Directors (with Mrs. Ruhlman abstaining). The Audit Committee, which is comprised solely of independent directors, acted as a special committee of the Board of Directors in connection with the review of the potential transaction with Mrs. Ruhlman. In connection with its review, the Audit Committee engaged Brown Gibbons Lang & Company to serve as its financial advisor.

In connection with the repurchase, the Company's status as a controlled company under the NASDAQ Corporate Governance Rules was terminated by the Company's shareholders who had previously formed a group owning over 50% of the Company's outstanding common shares by entering into a controlled company agreement.

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. http://www.preformed.com

ACUTA Honors Duke, Florida State Communications Professionals With Top Leadership Awards

Two of the most active and highly involved members of ACUTA, the Association for Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education, have been honored with special awards by the organization.

Tamara Closs of Duke University and Harvey “Buck” Buchanan of Florida State University were saluted by the organization, the only national group dedicated to serving the needs of higher education communications technology professionals. It represents some 2,000 individuals at 825 institutions.

Closs was honored with the Bill D. Morris Award, named for a popular past president. ACUTA gives the Morris Award to the member who best exemplifies the dedication, vision, professionalism, and leadership that Morris brought to the organization.

Closs was the 2004-2005 ACUTA president, has been a director, and has chaired numerous committees. Currently assistant vice president of communications and systems infrastructure at Duke, she has been a member of ACUTA since 1990.

Buchanan, recently elected to the position of director-at-large, received the Ruth A. Michalecki Leadership Award, recognizing outstanding leadership by a member. In addition to chairing and serving on a number of important ACUTA committees, Buchanan is also a frequent speaker at ACUTA events. His educational sessions on customer service are particularly popular.

Buchanan is known for his creative and entrepreneurial approaches to developing campus communication services, and has been a mentor to scores of ACUTA newcomers. He has been an ACUTA member since 1992.

“No organization can thrive without the active involvement of volunteers,” said Jeri Semer, executive director of ACUTA. “Tamara Closs and Buck Buchanan have consistently gone beyond the call of duty to support ACUTA and its members. Their leadership has helped us maintain ACUTA’s vitality and relevance.” www.acuta.org   

The Best Trade Magazines in the Business – Security & Life Safety Systems Magazine Oct 2006

I come from the old school of journalism. I’m a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Chicago Headline Club and I often think, and hope, that there are still journalists out there who believe in ethics, in telling the story truthfully from all sides. We are story tellers, but we base these accounts on real life, real people and real quotes.

Fact checking and verifying information and research is 99 percent of the job. It’s all about making sure quotes are accurate, names are spelled right, and that’s how the story comes together and becomes engaging. You have to know about a topic or an industry to write about it. And, despite what some people might think about journalists, I often leave out information that might be harmful, such as when I get a manufacturer or other source to open up and they lend some “not so nice” comments about a person, place or thing.

It’s a blast being part of Electrical Contractor (EC) and Security and Life Safety Systems (S&LSS) magazines. We take our professional ethics from journalism and apply it to these books. EC is one of the oldest continuing published electrical magazines in the country—started out as Qualified Remodeler. NECA is such a cool association and the EC staff is the best. John Maisel is the Publisher and I can’t say enough about him as far as his abilities and his personality.  I helped launch S&LSS several years ago and it’s been a lot about telling our story—that electrical contractors are getting involved in low-voltage, security, fire, video and automated controls—and they are selecting the products to use in these jobs, not just terminating connections. They are the experts and we want to help them become even more proficient in these endeavors—through the pages of the magazines, our Web sites and now, new conferences and educational sessions we are conducting as part of the International Security Conferences & Expositions (ISC Expo). 

As the editor of SLSS magazine, I feel our chief goal is to educate the electrical contractors on all the opportunities in the industry and that people are turning to them for their expertise. There’s so much excitement in the industry. It’s not just about burglar alarms with a siren anymore. Fire alarms and life safety, as always, take precedence. It’s about all the parts and pieces of the building or residence that can talk to each other and make the premises safer, brighter, more convenient.

In the security industry, we began talking about automation in the 80s and even earlier. But now, it’s really here. Manufacturers don’t base their products on proprietary technologies. They look for ways to integrate with other products, or partner with other industries that make sense.

Technology is coming down in price and we’re at the cusp of adoption by many markets. Residential is hot, hot, hot! There’s so much that can be accomplished with low-voltage, all the EC needs is a little imagination and the wherewithal to learn about the discipline or the ability to hire someone who does (yes, you need information technology expertise).

EC and S&LSS are here to help. Together, with you, we are trusted partners in the success of the electrical contracting industry.

Deborah O’Mara

September 15, 2006

By Deborah L. O’Mara

Editor, Security & Life Safety Systems magazine

Senior Editor, Electrical Contractor magazine

Broadband Growth Continues On Record-Setting Pace

Broadband growth is on a tear, and according to several studies, shows no signs of slowing up.

According to the Durham, NH based Leichtman Research Group (LRG), cable and DSL providers in the United States acquired a record 3.06 million new subscribers in the first quarter of 2006.  Combined, the two groups of providers account for 94 percent of the broadband market with nearly 46 million high-speed Internet subscribers.

Of the two, DSL performed slightly better, adding a record 1.66 million subscribers, more than half of the net growth in the subscribers for the quarter.  Cable providers came in at a close second, with more than 1.4 million new subscribers.

LRG reports that 69 percent of all U.S. households now subscribe to an online service at home, and high-speed Internet services now account for about 60 percent of all online subscribers. 

With that kind of demand, broadband growth is poised to continue on other fronts as well.  According to the London-bases Informa Telecoms & Media, the number of 3.5 G mobile broadband subscribers worldwide will boom more than ten-fold from 2.5 million in 2006 to more than 300 million in 2011.

Although a lack of compelling devices and content will restrain growth in the near term, the company predicts that handsets will mature in 2008, leading to a sharp increase in 3.5 G Handset sales and subscribers in 2008-2009.

By 2011, 85 percent of 3.5G devices sold will be handsets.  The remaining 15 percent will be notebooks and PC cards. 

By Rick Laezman

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine September 2006 issue – www.ecmag.com

NAED Announces 2006-2007 Meeting & Conference Itinerary

This year’s National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) events will help businesses stay connected with the topics, trends and technology that are currently shaping the electrical industry. The association offers a variety of meetings and conferences annually at the local, regional, and national levels, each featuring opportunities to enhance industry partnerships, professional development, and overall company profitability.

2006-2007 Meeting & Conference Schedule:

NAED Regional Conferences focus on the tactical issues and challenges facing distributors and suppliers in each of NAED’s three regions. Events like the Opening Session, Peer Networking Groups and the Women in Industry Luncheon provide networking and best practices. The regional conferences also feature sessions on topics relevant to the entire channel like this year’s “Pricing for Profit” and “Task Force Update: Implementing the Supply Chain Report Card.”

  • Eastern Region Conference, Nov. 8 - 11, 2006, San Antonio, Texas (registration currently open)— Featured Keynote Speaker: Vince Papale, the real life football hero behind the new Disney film release, Invincible.
  • Western Region Conference, Jan. 17 - 20, 2007, Las Vegas, Nev. (registration now open)Featured Keynote Speaker: Aron Ralston, an accomplished mountaineer who was pinned by an 800 lb. boulder in Colorado’s Blue John Canyon and had to make the difficult decision to cut off his arm or die.
  • South Central Region Conference, Feb. 28 - March 3, 2007, San Diego, Calif. (registration opens in October) Featured Keynote Speaker: The Afterburners Team, made up of top U.S. military fighter pilots, discuss key risk-assessment, leadership, and communication principles.

NAED Annual Meeting, May 5 - 9, 2007, Washington, D.C. (registration opens in December)—is designed to bring together the entire industry, providing the ideal time for distributors to solidify relationships and plan strategically with the estimated 225 suppliers in attendance. The Annual Meeting, to be held at the Marriott Wardman Park, offers interactive panel discussions, nationally-acclaimed speakers, and the latest results from cutting-edge research. Participants will also benefit from events such as the Opening Session, TED Magazine’s Best of the Best Awards Banquet, and the All-Industry Closing Event.

NAED Niche Meetings provide the ideal forum for specialized groups and individuals to address the topics most relevant to their area of the industry.    

  • AdVenture Electrical Sales & Marketing Conference, TBD—Distributor marketing and sales staff are invited to join their colleagues for three days of strategic planning, sharing best practices, and discovering the best way to market and sell electrical products.
  • Leadership Enhancement and Development (LEAD) Conference, July 26 - 29, 2007, Chicago, Ill.—Sponsored each summer by NAED’s Your Emerging Talent (YET) Committee, the event is designed to foster ongoing industry involvement and professional development among new leaders within the channel. Participants of the 2007 event, held at the InterContinental Chicago Hotel, will benefit from the practical insights of industry experts and valuable networking time with their peers.

NAED Area Marketing Meetings & Events offer more centralized opportunities for distributors to network with each other, build relationships with channel partners, and focus on the needs and issues specific to their locale.  

  • Tennessee Titans Event, Oct. 1

Titans Stadium, Nashville, Tenn.

  • Missouri River Club Conference, Oct. 8 - 10

Lodge of the Four Seasons, Lake Ozark, Mo.

  • Mid-Atlantic States Conference, Oct. 26 - 28

Ballantyne Resort, Charlotte, N.C.

  • Lake Michigan Holiday Party, Dec. 6

Marriott Oakbrook, Chicago, Ill.

  • Gulf Coast Conference, April 19 - 21, 2007

Hilton Sandestin Beach Resort, Destin, Fla.

To register or receive more information about these events, contact the NAED Conference Department at (888) 791-2512 or customerservice@naed.org. Registration is also available for NAED’s annual, regional, LEAD, and AdVenture Conferences at least three months in advance at www.naed.org under the “Meetings & Conferences” section.

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.

New Enhancements For OptiFiber® Certifying OTDR Increase Fiber Optic Testing Capabilities In LAN/Campus Networks

Fluke Networks announced the availability of new test modules and software for its OptiFiber Certifying OTDR, the company's complete test solution for premises fiber optic networks.  These enhancements increase versatility and convenience for OptiFiber users, helping ensure the performance of mission critical fiber links

"With the new test modules and software enhancements OptiFiber is even more powerful than before," said Harley Lang, product manager.  "Users can now test longer fiber links in campus networks, as well as very short patch cords in data centers.  At the same time, software improvements make some popular troubleshooting features more accessible and easier to use."  

OptiFiber's new extended range singlemode module offers a 60 km range, shorter dead-zones and increased dynamic range to support premises, campus, and metro fiber optic network testing.  The modules have a new end-cap design, which features removable, easy to clean OTDR ports and interchangeable power meter ports.  A visual fault locator is also included for fast visual identification of fiber breaks or tight bends.   These new modules are available from Fluke Networks as options and in kits, to provide OptiFiber owners with a wide range of test capabilities.  A new line up of convenient accessories and kits, including hybrid launch fibers, for easier use with a wider range of connector types, have been added.

Software enhancements make real-time trace and optical return loss results easier to view in the field and save for later viewing and documentation purposes, providing users with added convenience and productivity.   Popular FiberInspector® end-face analysis is now even easier to operate. Free software downloads are available to current OptiFiber owners via the Fluke Networks website at www.flukenetworks.com.

Product availability
The OptiFiber Certifying OTDR, its accompanying test modules and kits are available for immediate delivery from Fluke Networks' sales partners worldwide.

About Fluke Networks
Fluke Networks provides innovative solutions for the installation and certification, testing, monitoring and analysis of copper, fiber and wireless networks used by enterprises and telecommunications carriers. The company's comprehensive line of Network SuperVisiontm Solutions provide network installers, owners, and maintainers with superior vision, combining speed, accuracy and ease of use to optimize network performance. Headquartered in Everett, Washington, the company distributes its products in more than 50 countries. More information can be found by visiting Fluke Networks' Web site at www.flukenetworks.com

VoiceOne™ Unveils Universal Instant Messaging (IM) Platform For Click4Me.Net Members

VoiceOne(TM) Communications, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of VoIP, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: VOII), unveiled today its Click4Me.Net Universal Instant Messaging (IM) Platform that integrates Instant Messaging services from MSN (NASDAQ: MSFT), Yahoo! (NASDAQ: YHOO), Time Warner-owned (NYSE:  TWX) AOL, and Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) gTalk. 

With the release of the Click4Me.Net service, for the first time ever Internet users can send Instant Messages between the four major IM services. All that's necessary is for a user to sign up for a free Click4Me account, through which IM communication is made possible between any users of any of the four IM systems. For instance, gTalk IM users can send Instant Messages to MSN IM users, or AOL IM users, or Yahoo! IM users - using Click4Me.Net - without having to use separate Instant Messaging clients for each service. All major IM clients are supported by Click4Me.Net, including Windows/PC, Mac, Linux, and of course, cell phones. 

VoiceOne has added this IM integrated functionality to its recently released beta version of Click4Me.Net, the world's first Web-click calling service that utilizes VoIP technology for free phone-to-phone calling, and now Instant Messaging across services.  Click4Me.Net is available for testing on VoiceOne's Virtual Lab at http://Labs.VoiceOne.com -- an open forum for users to preview, test free of charge, and provide feedback on new IP communications services developed by VoiceOne.

VoiceOne's COO and CTO Shawn Lewis commented, "Our Click4Me.Net service enables cross platform, cross network integration and communication convergence. The idea of convergence is not only related to 'tele'- communications, but communications as a whole. This is just the start. We will be introducing additional services and capabilities that not only will create a universal bridge between all methods of communication, from telephony, to instant messaging, text messaging (SMS), and multimedia messaging (MMS), but also add features and services that go beyond anything now available.  The robust, flexible technology platform created and owned by VoiceOne is making it all happen," he said.

During the next few weeks, VoiceOne will be announcing its own Instant Messaging clients, for PCs, PDAs and standard cell phones, as well as new services enabling any client of the various services to make and receive phone calls, send and receive text messaging, virtual file storage and sharing, click-2-call services integrated with instant messaging, and many other fully integrated services all built around the company's powerful new all-modes communication platform.

To start using the Click4Me.Net service, any person can simply log on and register (free of any charges or commitments) at http://Labs.VoiceOne.Com or at www.Click4Me.Net.  Members can then review, provide feedback on the Click4Me service or discuss additional IP communications services with VoIP Inc.'s development team at http://Labs.VoiceOne.com.

Features for registered members of Click4Me.Net now include: SMS Text messaging to users, an online Inbox allowing people to leave messages for one another on the Click4Me.Net website, email and SMS text notifications of missed calls or new messages, and now Instant Messaging across popular IM services.  Many more expanded and new features will be added in the coming days and weeks. http://www.voipinc.com.

User’s Guide To The NEC

User’s Guide to The NEC, also by Brooke Stauffer, is written for technical-vocational school students, beginning electrical apprentices, and first-year electrical engineering students.  Its 300 pages – which include more than 200 full-color illustratons, numerous tables and actual Code extract – provide information about how the NEC is organized and how to use it when designing and ensatlling electrical construction jobs.  To order User’s Guide to the National Electrical Code, visit www.nfpacatalog.org or call 1-800-344-3555.  This book is available for $49.50.

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine September 2006 issue – www.ecmag.com

Anixter International To Log 3Q Gain On IRS Refunds, Interest

Anixter International Inc., distributor of wiring systems, networking products, and fasteners, on Monday said it will have a gain of $18.1 million, or 41 cents per share, in refunds and interest in the third quarter after a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service.

The company also said interest received in the settlement -- net of taxes -- will be roughly $4.8 million, or 11 cents per share.

Analysts polled by Thomson Financial forecast profit of $1.03 per share for the company in the third quarter.

Anixter said the settlement found it can deduct certain losses on its federal tax returns for 1996 through 1998 due to changes in IRS regulations that became effective in 1996. The refund associated with the tax issue is about $13.7 million, plus interest.

Shares of Anixter rose 46 cents to $57.51 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.  www.anixter.com

Hitachi Receives Rising Star Award For Outstanding Global Distribution Program

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi) today announced that it is a recipient of the Global Technology Distribution Council's (GTDC) Rising Star Award in the hardware category for outstanding sales growth through its global network of product distributors. Hitachi was presented with this honor alongside the world's leading IT vendors and distributors at the annual GTDC Summit taking place at San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel, September 19-20, 2006.

In its inaugural year, the GTDC Rising Star Awards program is designed to recognize the fastest-growing vendors doing business through distributors. Winner selections are based on year-over-year growth reflected by NPD Distributor Track(SM) reporting for the 12 months ending May 2006. Vendors are required to have sold corresponding products through IT distributors for a minimum of one year with at least 20 percent year-over-year sales growth for hardware manufacturers.

"The GTDC member distributors represent more than $80 billion in annual sales, and it's an honor for us to be recognized by such an influential organization with real insight into the IT distributor business arena," said George Silva, senior vice president of worldwide sales, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "As the hard drive industry prepares itself for continued growth, our distribution partners play an integral role in helping Hitachi achieve our business objectives. We look forward to stronger collaboration with the distribution community in the coming years."

"Hitachi products enjoyed exceptional growth over the past year in IT distribution's largest 'Rising Stars' hardware category," commented Timothy J. Curran, chief executive officer of the Global Technology Distribution Council. "This is a truly outstanding achievement considering the hundreds of other manufacturers doing business with our member distributors. Hitachi's strong commitment to channel partnerships clearly enables success of this magnitude."

Hitachi provides its channel partners with access to a broad product portfolio by offering hard drives in the one-inch, 1.8-inch, 2.5-inch and 3.5-inch categories. These products provide high-capacity storage for applications such as MP3 jukeboxes, digital still/video cameras, personal media centers, digital video recorders, PC gaming systems, external storage, notebook and desktop PCs, nearline storage, enterprise servers and more.

To learn more about Hitachi's channel programs, please visit the Hitachi Options web site at www.hitachigst.com/options.

About The Global Technology Distribution Council
The Global Technology Distribution Council (GTDC) is a worldwide industry association dedicated to defining and promoting the role of wholesale distribution in a successful and healthy information technology channel. The Council is comprised of the computer industry's top wholesale distributors dedicated to serving "the channel," a network of skilled value-added resellers and retail stores focused on providing hardware, software, and services to businesses and consumers around the globe.

About Hitachi Global Storage Technologies
Hitachi Global Storage Technologies is a storage technology leader, founded in 2003 through the combination of Hitachi's and IBM's hard disk drive businesses. Hitachi GST enables users to fully engage in the digital lifestyle by providing high-value hard drives in formats suitable for the office, on the road and in the home.

With its legacy in hard drive invention, Hitachi GST will lead the industry in celebrating the hard drive's golden anniversary in 2006. After five decades of innovation, the hard drive has had a profound effect on the computing and consumer electronics industries. That heritage lives on at Hitachi GST through products that define the standard for hard drive miniaturization, capacity, performance and reliability.

With more than 30,000+ employees worldwide, Hitachi GST offers a comprehensive range of hard drive products for desktop computers, high-performance servers, notebooks and consumer devices. For more information, please visit the company's web site at www.hitachigst.com.

ANS Becomes Newest Member Of The Corning Total Access ProgramSM (TAP)

Corning Cable Systems, part of Corning Incorporated’s (NYSE: GLW) Telecommunications segment, announces ANS Advanced Network Services, LLC as the newest member of the selective Corning Total Access ProgramSM (TAP).

Corning’s TAP provides highly qualified design, engineering, furnishing and installation companies with the tools necessary to ensure successful fiber-to-the-home (FTTH) deployments. Certified TAP members receive all-inclusive access to Corning’s innovative and reliable FTTH solutions. After completing specialized training in the installation of optical access networks, TAP members are able to offer their customers up to a 10-year extended product warranty on complete Corning FTTH solutions (drop cables and assemblies carry a 3-year warranty).

ANS is a premier provider of engineering, furnishing, installation, staffing, maintenance and consulting services. With a commitment to excellence in quality, responsiveness and value, ANS’ capabilities encompass all inside and outside communications environments, from the central office to the customer premises. Through the Total Access Program and its extended warranty, ANS plans to expand its existing service offerings to current and future customers, quickly responding to their changing demands while offering the same value that has earned praise from existing customers.

“We consider Corning to be the technology leader in FTTH end-to-end solutions,” said Cheer Dheeradhada, major accounts manager for ANS. “Armed with our current FTTx deployment experiences, we feel that the Total Access Program will enhance our FTTH capabilities and visibility with additional customers.”

Through its Evolant® Solutions for Access Networks, Corning Cable Systems

ANS Becomes Newest Member of Corning Total Access ProgramSM

offers specialized portfolios of innovative products and services that enable customers to cost-effectively deploy fiber in the last mile. For additional information on Corning Cable Systems, contact a customer service representative at 1-800-743-2675, toll free in the United States, or (+1) 828-901-5000, international, or visit www.corning.com/cablesystems. www.corning.com

NFPA Amends Codes, Includes Electronic Monitoring Of Fire Extinguishers

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) voted to amend NFPA 10 and NFPA 72 to include electronic monitoring in lieu of mandatory physical 30-day inspections.  The ruling went into effect at the beginning of September.

Strong support for the acceptance of the technology came from  fire officials, end-users and members of the fire protection industry.  According to the NFPA, electronically monitored  fire extinguishers allowed under their codes must include the ability to assess proper location , access without obstruction and pressurization.

Moreover, the system must provide record keeping in the form of an electronic event log at the control panel.  Specific changes to NFPA 10 include the addition of a definition of electronic monitoring in Chapter 3 and specific details in Chapter 7.  NFPA 72 included the addition of electronic monitoring definitions to Chapters 3,5 and 6.

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine September 2006 issue – www.ecmag.com

CABA Annual General Meeting

the Annual General Meeting of the members of the Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA) will be held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina, San Diego, CA, on the 17th day of October, 2006, at the hour of 8:15 a.m., for the purpose of:

a)       Receiving the financial statements for the year ending June 30, 2006;

b)       Appointing auditors;

c)       Electing the CABA Board of Directors;

d)       Reviewing CABA Activities 2005-2006: and

e)       Receiving an update on CABA’s Strategic Plan including information on CABA's new Internet Home Alliance Research Council and CABA’s Intelligent & Integrated Buildings Council activities.

Dated in Ottawa, ON      Ronald J. Zimmer
September 19, 2005   CABA President & CEO

www.caba.org

TED Magazine Articles On Special Pricing Authorizaiton (SPA) Challenges Featured In Textbook “Journalism That Matters”

TED Magazine, the official publication of the National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED), was selected for inclusion in a textbook, Journalism that Matters: How Business-to-Business Editors Change the Industries They Cover. The magazine is featured in the chapter, Switching the Current on Electrical Rebates, written by TED Editor Michael Martin.

The book’s editors, Robert Freedman and Steven Roll, selected the series of articles addressing Special Pricing Authorizations (SPA) because of the significant impact it had on the industry.

Freedman said the editors felt that the magazine shed a spotlight on the product rebate issue and helped spur the industry to look into and adopt reforms.

“TED magazine created a neutral forum for testing ideas and also helped keep parties focused on the long-term goal,” said Freedman. “To be sure, the magazine's relationship with the association was critical, because it was association resources and the association's conference that provided the backbone to getting the reforms made, but the magazine was the information conduit, and thus provided the glue that kept the effort together for the duration.”

The new book, Journalism that Matters: How B2B Editors Change the Industries They Cover, is a project of the American Society of Business Press Editors (ASBPE). It explores how editors of business-to-business publications drive industry. Conceived as a showcase for the hard-hitting, results-oriented journalism of many business-to-business publications, the book digs deep into the genesis of some exceptionally engrossing stories.

To access a pdf of the book chapter on TED Magazine, go to http://www.naed.org/Images/Email/ASPBETEDChapter.pdf.

To access the TED’s articles on the SPA issue, go to www.naed.org/spa and click on the article link or follow this direct link.

The book, Journalism that Matters, is used by journalism students and magazine journalism professionals and is published by Marion Street Press, Inc. The book’s retail price is $16.95 and is available for purchase at www.marionstreetpress.com. The book was released July 15, 2006.

TED Magazine is the primary source of information for the electrical distribution channel across North America. The publication is dedicated to best practices for the electrical supply chain. In addition to its print edition, TED Magazine produces up-to-the minute news at www.tedmag.com. The magazine’s award-winning editorial content and design is led by Editor Michael Martin, Managing Editor Misty Byers and Art Director Randi Vincent.

To sign up for NAED's weekly newsletter, go to www.naed.org  and click on "News Room" and then "Subscribe Newsletters." 

Wi-Fi Adoption Gains Momentum In China, VoIP Exports To Top 22 Milllion

The enterprise market from Wi-Fi technology in China is expected to increase fourfold over the next three years, with a 45 percent annual growth rate for the market as a whole, according to a new white paper sponsored by the Wi-Fi Alliance.  It is part of a wireless trend that is in genesis around the world.

Developed by Chinese research firm Analysys International, the report describes a new wave of Wi-Fi expansion in China, fueled by increased broadband penetration and less expensive Wi-Fi-enabled laptops, bringing the technology to homes, offices, and public places.

The market for non-embedded Wi-Fi equipment, such as access points and external network cards, is expected to exceed 10 billion by 2008.

“China is already an important strategic market for our industry, and we believe it presents a very attractive growth opportunity in the coming years,” said Frank Hanzlik, Wi-Fi Alliance managing director.  “The enterprise networking and voice application segments are particular areas of opportunity, and our Wi-Fi cerified programs help ensure that the Chinese Wi-Fi users have the very best experience with Wi-Fi devices as adoption becomes more widespread.”

“More Wi-Fi products will emerge in 2007, mobile office and mobile entertainment will continue to develop, and Wi-Fi home user market development will speed up,” said Ealge Zhang, Analysys international’s vice president of research.

“With it’s affordability, versatility, and high-data rate, Wi-Fi will continue to be an important part of the lager wireless ecosystem in China,” said Hanzlik.  “Chinese consumers are coming to demand seamless connectivity on devises ranging from laptops to home entertainment gear, and Wi-Fi has a major role in keeping all of those devices connected.”

In addition, greater China manufacturers are expected to produce 29 million voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) products in 2006, according to China Sourcing Report.  Exports are estimated to hit 22.66 million units-an increase of 14 percent over 2005.

“Telephony solutions are expected to drive growth in the worldwide VoIP market,” said Mark Saunderson, report Publisher.  “Telephony product exports for 2006 are forecast to increase 52 percent year-on-year, revolving around the integration of wireless technologies, lead by Bluetooth and WLAN [wireless local area networks].  The convergence of voice and video application is also expected to gain ground this year.  Several companies in Taiwan already are including VoIP videophones in their product line-ups.”

The report also found that worldwide subscription for residential VoIP is expected to hit 197.2 million users by 2010, up from 4.8 million in 2004.

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine September 2006 issue – www.ecmag.com

Berk-Tek Hires New Regional Sales Manager

Copper and fiber optic cabling technology and solutions leader Berk-Tek, a Nexans Company, is pleased to announce the addition of Beau Gabriel as the new regional sales manager, central region.

Reporting to Paul Trunk, senior vice president of sales and marketing, Gabriel is responsible for establishing and meeting sales goals and objectives through direct sales, reps and distribution for the central U.S. states. He will work out of his Schaumburg, IL, office.

“Beau brings a wide variety of experience in the realm of electronic components,” notes Trunk. “Combining his technical expertise with his reputable customer relations, he will be an asset to our sales team.”

Before joining Berk-Tek, Gabriel spent 10 years at FCI USA, Inc., a manufacturer of electronic and electrical connectors for automotive, telecom, industrial, data, consumer and energy markets. Most recently, he was their senior account/territory manager. He has also held a variety of technical and sales positions at Andrew Corporation and Cinch. He holds his MBA at Roosevelt University and a Bachelor’s in Electronics Engineering Technology from DeVry University in Chicago. www.berktek.com

OFS Offers ROHS-Compliant Products

OFS, designer, manufacturer, and supplier of leading-edge fiber optic products, announced that it offers premises cables and optical connectivity products that are fully RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) compliant.  Also known as Directive 2002/95/EC, the RoHS initiative originated in the European Union (EU) and restricts the use of six hazardous materials in electrical and electronic products, a class that includes optical cables, connectors and apparatus.  All applicable products sold in the EU market starting July 1, 2006 must be RoHS compliant.  Similar regulations will be coming into effect in China in the near future.

“At OFS we integrate environmental and safety considerations into our corporate activities -- including the design, production, distribution and support of our products,” said Bill Kloss, President of the North American FTTx, Cable & Connectivity Divisions at OFS. “We are also grateful to our suppliers that helped us achieve this goal without compromising the quality of our portfolio,” Mr. Kloss added.

OFS also offers an extensive line of low smoke zero halogen (LSOH) premises cordage and cable products that are compliant not only with the RoHS directive but also with IEC requirements for smoke density and acid gas generation during combustion.

As a dedicated corporate citizen, OFS is fully committed to protecting the environment and safety of its people, its customers, and the communities where it operates. 

The company will continue to offer premises cables and connectivity products that serve specific market applications, or meet certain customers’ precise requirements.

www.ofsoptics.com

Ideal Donates Tool Kits To IBEW For Training

Ideal Industries has donated tool kits to the International Brother hood of Electric Workers (IBEW) for use at the Nation al Training Institute (NTI), Sponsored by the IBEW and National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).

“These kits will help NTI students and instructors a great deal,” said Harry Ohde, IBEW representative.

Each donated kit features professional-grade Ideal tools, including conduit benders, screwdrivers, markers and tape measures. 

“the tools we have donated to help NTI instructors provide students with the hands-on experience they need to perform their jobs correctly, safely and efficiently,” said Bruce Hartranft, business unit manger for Ideal. http://www.idealindustries.com/index.htm

NTI courses are offered year round.  Electricians interested in attending any upcoming NTI Courses should visit www.njatc.org

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine September 2006 issue – www.ecmag.com

IMC Networks Announces New Compact SNMP-Manageable Optical Ethernet Demarcation Unit

The new IE-MiniFiberLinX-II provides Industrial-Grade delivery of transparent LAN services over fiber, with media conversion, carrier-grade remote management and line-provisioning capabilities in one compact device.

Foothill Ranch, CA – August 24, 2006 - IMC Networks today announced a new line of “Industrial Ethernet” grade, SNMP-manageable, optical Ethernet demarcation units in a sturdy, standalone format, based on its best-selling FiberLinX line of FTTx products.  Combining copper-to-fiber conversion, robust management, advanced VLAN tagging capabilities, extended temperature performance, plug-and-play operation, miniature size and multiple powering options, the IE-MiniFiberLinX-II is one of the most versatile fiber optic devices available on the market today.  Designed for network operators or service providers, the IE-MiniFiberLinX-II functions as a Network Interface Device (NID), provisioning point-to-point fiber optic connections and providing a unique management tool to monitor the entire link between two locations.  

“The IE-MiniFiberLinX-II makes it easier than ever for network operators to deliver affordable, managed Ethernet services over fiber“, said Jerry Roby, CEO of privately-held IMC Networks.  “We’ve added advanced management capabilities to lower network operating costs, and the compact, extended temperature form factor with DC powering option allow installation in outdoor and other difficult environments.”

With the ability to be managed as a single entity, the IE-MiniFiberLinX-II allows for remote configuration and provides vital alerts to network administrators.  As a copper-to-fiber media converter, it allows operators to use lower cost copper switches, rather than expensive optical switches, to connect to the fiber network. 

The IE-MiniFiberLinX-II comes equipped with one 100 Mbps fiber port for data and management, one 10/100 twisted pair port for customer data, as well as an RS-232 craft port for local configuration on the unit during installation.

Offering unparalleled flexibility, the IE-MiniFiberLinX-II supports multiple fiber types including multi-mode and single-mode as well as single-strand fiber.  Versions supporting a full range of Coarse Wavelength Division Multiplexing (CWDM) wavelengths are also available.  www.imcnetworks.com

How Smart Are Intelligent Buildings?

By Abigail Gray

It has been roughly a quarter of a century since the notion of the “intelligent building” first appeared on the facility-management horizon. Back then, the term was used broadly: An “intelligent” building was one with high-tech bells and whistles that elevated it above the ranks of the common building. Beneath the surface, however, “intelligent building” didn’t mean anything specific, and often it didn’t mean much at all.

More recently — within the past 15 years or so — the notion of building intelligence evolved as some once-futuristic technologies moved into the real world. The term “intelligent building” began to be applied more narrowly, referring, in general, to a building with automation features that offered better control over various building systems.

Now, building automation systems of all stripes are commonplace, and the notion of the intelligent building has undergone yet another transformation. Discussions about building intelligence extend well beyond building automation to issues such as security, communication, and environmental monitoring and control, and focus as much on how facilities use their technology as whether they possess it. The intelligent building of today not only boasts systems automation and control, but is also able to generate data and share it among systems to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the whole facility.

“The intelligent building of today is taking those standalone systems and integrating them,” says Ron Zimmer, president and CEO, Continental Automated Buildings Association (CABA).

“In an intelligent building as we defined it 15 years ago, you would never see sharing of data between a fire system and a security system,” says Frank Spitzer, senior associate, IBI Group. “You might have seen an HVAC building automation system, but it didn’t give you the opportunity to turn the HVAC on and off in small sections of the building based on occupancy. Now all of these essential functions can communicate with one another and operate based on information received from a sensor in a room.”

Advances in technology have, to a large extent, driven this evolution. In the past, many buildings operated on closed or proprietary systems that could not communicate with one another. “Developments like LonMark and BACnet were major steps forward,” says Zimmer.

As a result, say experts, building systems are becoming more interoperable and are allowing more facilities to reach the next level of building intelligence. “Tremendous amounts of data can be pulled and shared, and communications devices allow sharing between systems and even between buildings,” Zimmer says.

The reality of building intelligence today is very different from what it was in the past, Zimmer says. “Now we’ve got technology that is much better, at costs that have been reduced substantially. And we’re looking at quantum leaps forward in the functionality of the systems and in opportunities for linking them together to improve the performance of a building as a whole.”

Intelligence Matters

Building-intelligence experts have a lot to say about the benefits an intelligent building offers — benefits that contribute to the bottom line.

“I think of the benefits in terms of several different issues — the efficiency aspect, the cost aspect, the environmental aspect, the health aspect and the security aspect,” says Jiri Skopek, director, ECD Energy and Environment Canada Ltd.

From an energy perspective, the efficiency benefits of building intelligence are familiar to many facility executives. To cite one common application, a building that knows when and where it is occupied can limit its own energy use by confining the operation of power-hungry HVAC and lighting systems to the hours and areas of the building they are needed. Sensors that provide occupancy data to HVAC and lighting systems are seeing increasing use for exactly this reason.

Cutting energy use is one environmental benefit of intelligent buildings. In addition, they can improve indoor air quality through continual ventilation adjustments and air-quality monitoring, or maximize daylighting by automating shading systems.

Intelligent Security

Experts draw links between building intelligence and security.

“A lot of the 9-11 type concerns have fueled discussion about intelligent buildings,” says Spitzer. “Now you have surveillance cameras everywhere, but in intelligent buildings security activities are linked closely with other building functions in ways that enable you to have a much better understanding of whether there may be someone in your building who should not be.”

In addition, Spitzer explains, intelligent buildings’ security operation can be more cost-effective — one security guard may be able to keep an eye on security functions, see who is where in the building, lock and unlock doors, and monitor the fire system from a single location, eliminating the need for a group of security personnel making rounds.

In the most intelligent facilities, the moment an employee enters during off-hours, the access control system informs the building management system who has arrived. By accessing tenant data, the building management system can adjust temperature and lighting for the area of the building where that individual works. To further reduce energy consumption and enhance comfort, it can also increase outdoor airflow to that area, or open window shades that had been closed to minimize heat gain. Doors to the area where the employee works can be unlocked automatically while other doors remain locked, and elevator security configurations can be changed to allow access to certain floors. Security cameras can be cued if necessary. And when the employee leaves, the area can return to its secure, low-energy, off-hours state.

What’s more, says Zimmer, intelligent buildings are more attractive to prospective tenants, and that translates to higher retention rates, higher rental rates and higher occupant satisfaction.

Despite these and other purported benefits, experts say that many facility executives have not yet begun to take full advantage of the opportunities intelligent buildings present. In some cases, that is because existing systems in older buildings do not permit interoperability, and retrofits are not in the budget. When it comes to building intelligence, however, experts say a little bit can go a long way.

“A building that has even two of its systems brought together — say access control and HVAC — could be considered ‘intelligent,’” says Zimmer. “Does that make it rate a 100 on a scale of 100? No, but it may be very appropriate given that specific building’s needs.”

According to Spitzer, a facility’s intelligence level can be increased by a series of baby steps — not necessarily a major one-time investment.

“The move to access control — a card system instead of keys — is one many people are comfortable with, so they can take that step first and then down the road they may take the next step to real energy management,” he says. “A lot of people don’t have confidence in this idea yet or an understanding of how it can help them.”

Help is on the way

Facility executives interested in taking steps — be they large or small — toward “intelligent building” status will soon have access to an important resource. CABA has commissioned development of a Building Intelligence Quotient (BIQ) — an online rating tool that will enable facility executives at existing facilities, or engineers involved with new construction, to gauge a building’s intelligence and identify ways to increase it.

“The BIQ is a way to determine how well a specific facility is achieving the goals of an intelligent building,” says Spitzer, who sits on the CABA committee spearheading the development effort. CABA launched the development of BIQ roughly two years ago.

Process of development

BIQ will provide facility executives with a numeric score for a facility based on an analysis of a series of data points related to the building’s use, location, size and features. The questionnaire that guides the data-entry process is in the final stages of development; however, it will encompass a long list of issues, including:

·         Demographics related to the facility’s location, occupancy and use

·         Specifics about building systems, including training and maintenance practices and the extent to which systems are automated and integrated

·         The ease with which new tenants can move in and set up

·         Data-sharing characteristics

·         Information about communications systems like the Internet and intranets

·         Capabilities for tracking and adjusting the indoor environment, including IAQ

·         Capabilities for using technology in emergency procedures

·         Specifics of the elevators and other components

·         Emergency power resources

Using all this information, the BIQ generates an online report that not only assigns the rating, but also provides recommendations about ways to improve the score.

“It will amplify the information by linking users to specific Web sites, so if you don’t use automated shades, it may recommend that you do so and also give links to more information about shades and how they work,” says Skopek. “It is certainly not a replacement for an engineering study, but it is a way to make you aware of issues you may want to address and help you get started addressing them.”

Skopek and Spitzer, along with David Katz of Sustainable Energy Solutions, are the members of the BIQ Consortium, which developed the tool for CABA.

An alpha version of the BIQ tool was presented to CABA’s Integrated and Intelligent Buildings Council in June. A beta version of the tool, which reflects feedback from the council, will be tested by 11 CABA members. “They will answer the questions online for specific buildings and give us feedback about the tool,” says Katz, project manager for BIQ. “How easy is it to use? Did we include all the right things? Were the scores fair?”

Comments from the beta test will be incorporated into a final version of BIQ.

The initial version of the tool, which will be overseen by CABA, will target multiunit commercial buildings, though applications for other market sectors may soon follow.

The process of evaluating a facility using the BIQ is fairly simple and does not require extensive homework in advance; a sound knowledge of a facility’s components and characteristics is all it demands. And, Skopek says, the Web-based nature of the tool will make it affordable and easily accessible.

Factoring in life-cycle costs

In its current form, the BIQ is more qualitative than quantitative. It generates ratings and recommendations, but does not provide payback or cost information related to the enhancements it suggests. But through linkage with another new, CABA-developed tool, the BIQ may soon offer facility executives financial analyses as well. Developed in collaboration with Reed Construction Data and R.S. Means, CABA’s Life-Cycle Cost Analysis tool will work in tandem with the BIQ.

“The Life-Cycle Cost Analysis tool is a set of online cost calculators that will be accessible on the CABA Web site,” says Rawlson O’Neil King, communications director, CABA. The tool will provide detailed cost models and life-cycle costs for three types of buildings — commercial office, educational and government — using the R.S. Means Construction Cost Index. “The tool is also expected to draw upon standards determined by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) Subcommittee E06.81 on Building Economics for determining building life cycle costs,” King says. The tool should be available at the end of November.

“The idea is that someone who uses the BIQ can then link over to the Life-Cycle Cost Analysis tool and determine very quickly the benefits in terms of savings and payback of taking the recommended steps,” says Zimmer.

The primary drawback of a self-reported Web tool, of course, is that the results are not verifiable. So to the extent that facility executives hope to leverage their facilities’ BIQs for favorable financing or leasing purposes, the tool may be only moderately useful in its current form. Down the road, however, CABA hopes to implement a verification program whereby trained inspectors corroborate and certify the results of an online analysis. This may represent an important step toward two of CABA’s other goals: building a system for measuring building intelligence that complements other rating systems for facilities, and advocating for an increased awareness of the operational and environmental impact of building-intelligence measures.

“We’d like to see greater emphasis placed on this issue,” says Zimmer. As one example, Zimmer says, CABA hopes to see the U.S. Green Buildings Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program increase the number of points facilities can earn for having energy management systems. It’s a goal that he believes is well within reach, as the energy-saving benefits of intelligent buildings continue to speak for themselves.

“Our objective is really to produce buildings which use less energy, cost less to operate, are safe and secure, and are healthier, more productive, and more comfortable,” says Skopek. “Helping educate people about the fact that intelligent buildings really offer all of that is a big part of our plan.”

Abigail Gray, a contributing editor for Building Operating Management Magazine, is a writer who specializes in facility issues. She is the former editor of EducationFM magazine.

 www.facilitiesnet.com/bom

Reprinted with permission of Building Operating Management Magazine

Snake Tray Announces Stainless Steel Snake Tray

Snake Tray is pleased to announce that our full line of hand bendable cable trays are now available in stainless steel for use in food service, pharmaceutical, marine, oil/gas platforms, tunnels, factories and outdoor applications. Snake Tray's hand bendable feature requires no fabrication (no cutting) of turns to go over, under or around building obstacles.  Snake Tray comes with its own built in mounting system for easy attachment under floors, on walls and overhead.  Snake Tray stacks together for low cost shipping and easy onsite material handling.

For further information on Snake Tray products please call 800-308-6788, email info@snaketray.com, or visit www.snaketray.com .

Carlini’s Comments, MidwestBusiness.com’s oldest column, runs every Wednesday. Its mission is to offer the common mans view on business and technology issues while questioning the leadership and visions of pseudo experts.

Hearings Under Way For Affordable Internet Access For All Chicagoans

This week marks the third and fourth hearings on affordable Internet access for all Chicagoans by Mayor Daley’s Advisory Council on Closing the Digital Divide.

Hopefully what the council will get out of the testimonies is that Chicago needs to wake up and realize that network infrastructure is as basic to the viability of supporting the city’s growth as transportation infrastructure was 150 years ago and is still today.

Some view this council as a “make everyone feel good” council. The thought is that there is an outcry for some action, and by making up a council, everyone will feel progress has been made on developing a platform where people can suggest some ideas. Some feel no real action will take place.

This is not an initiative to take lightly. This is an initiative that is very capital intensive (especially if it’s done right).

Spending several billion dollars on upgrading O’Hare in order for it to compete with other international airports seems to be a given with most political leaders. It is a necessary critical investment for the city in order to keep a world-class image as well as to maintain a strong global business environment.

What most politicians and municipal administrators lack is the same understanding and same commitment to ensure that the network infrastructure remains world class in order for any municipality to maintain a strong business environment. Still, this was pointed out in an earlier column:

Well-intentioned politicians and municipal administrators are not enough to build cohesive, reliable networks. You need to get well beyond the buzzwords and the key phrases. What we really need are concise standards for reliability and redundancy.

Is Chicago slipping? In the last 10 years, I think it has in some key areas. As I addressed in earlier columns, the loss of many headquarters buildings as well as the corresponding loss of high-level and senior executive-level jobs is evident.

If you don’t believe that, take a look at chief compliance officer jobs. New York has the most openings. Still, Chicago is far from being second or third. There are more of these jobs in Charlotte, N.C. This shows a definite shift of higher level jobs out of Chicago.

C-level jobs like for a CIO, CFO and a COO get located where the headquarters are located. If the headquarters in Chicago is moved or bought out, all those executive jobs disappear as well as all the lower-level administrative positions that support those jobs.

Many mid-level and entry-level jobs are also tied into those headquarters. When they leave, those jobs disappear as well. Where do people get their start out of school? Starbucks? Home Depot? Macy’s?

If opportunities become that narrow, you can bet the population will decrease in the city as more young people are forced to look elsewhere to get a decent job. Did you know Chicago has slipped into fourth place in population? Houston is now third in back of New York and Los Angeles.

Lack of Infrastructure Creates Downward Vortex

With competition for companies to locate into metropolitan areas so critical today, an insufficient infrastructure will create a downward vortex. The more time that is wasted, the more the vortex accelerates. It pulls down the economy and sucks out the lifeblood of the metropolitan area. People tend to follow the jobs.

Though there will be some who try to refute this, they are probably the same people who think a stagecoach-era communications infrastructure will carry Chicago well into the 21st century. I don’t see Best Buy selling buggy whips next to their MP3 players and BlackBerries.

Politicians and their advisors have to understand that economic development equals broadband connectivity and broadband connectivity equals jobs. Without good-paying jobs, there is an erosion of the tax base. Without a good tax base, state and local budgets go into a spiraling deficit.

Layton Olson of the law firm Howe & Hutton is one of the people who is going to appear before the advisory council’s hearing on Wednesday at the Harold Washington Library to address the larger issues of “linking investments in telecommunications to the wider questions of investments in real estate and quality of life in all Chicago neighborhoods”.

How Does Chicago Measure Up?

Several people encouraged me to address the hearing because of my work in understanding and integrating technology with different organizations in order to make them globally competitive. How many buildings in downtown Chicago can support the need for broadband connectivity? What about neighborhoods and other centers of interest?

At one time, some property management firms were really on top of this while the vast majority just sat and collected rent. I was involved in measuring a building’s IQ and actually pioneered the concepts back in the late 1980s while consulting Chicago real estate firm JMB.

Some of those visionary property management people are gone and the vast majority of real estate people still focus on traditional ways to lease space.

Clinging to traditional approaches can’t guarantee success any more. Intelligent amenities like broadband connectivity and triple-play services (voice, data and video combined) are being sought out more and more. What used to be hoped for is now a must have in many residential areas.

Network Infrastructure is an Investment

To the advisory council:

·         If you truly want to establish something of real value for the future generations of the city, you should be setting the foundation for real broadband connectivity.

·         There was a time when arguments were made that creating the right network infrastructure would make schools obsolete. While maybe that was too far-fetched, there are many elements of increasing the quality of education to the masses using the Internet that we are not exploiting.

·         You could deliver the best history class, the best math class and the best “any” class to many more students than the traditional way. Marginal schools could be subsidized by better instructors instantly via connectivity rather than just throwing more money at the problem as we do today.

·         If we channel all the wasted money spent on traditional initiatives, we can find the money to fund this broadband initiative that will yield real results. The city that works? Only if it has a real network infrastructure for all to compete globally.

Carlinism: Any infrastructure should be viewed as an investment rather than an expense.

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.
Click here for Carlini’s full biography.

NEMA Website Now Offers RSS Technology Allowing Easy Sign Up For Industry News

Keeping up with news related to the electrical manufacturing industry and NEMA is now easier than ever! NEMA is pleased to announce the addition of RSS functionality to its website. This new feature allows you to sign up for NEMA news feeds that can be specific to the industry, to the association, or both. Whenever a news announcement that meets your criteria is posted on the NEMA website, it will automatically be delivered to the RSS newsreader of your choice.

Next time you go to www.nema.org, make sure you sign up for NEMA’s RSS feeds by clicking on the orange icons below the news links on the homepage.  For more information, go to http://www.nema.org/media/rss.cfm!

NEMA is the trade association of choice for the electrical manufacturing industry. 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. These products are used in utility, medical imaging, industrial, commercial, institutional, and residential applications. Domestic production of electrical products sold worldwide exceeds $120 billion. In addition to its headquarters in Rosslyn, Virginia, NEMA also has offices in Beijing, Sao Paulo, and Mexico City. www.nema.org

TPMA To Expand Project Management Programs And Offer TPMA Trainer And TPMA Training Provider Licenses

The Telecommunications Project Management Association announced today a Project Management Training Academy Program, which will include PM certification, trainer certification and training provider licenses. TPMA Academy will train telecommunications industry technical experts to deliver a melded distance learning and “hands on” training program which can be delivered outside normal business hours at Community Colleges and corporate sites. Graduates will be able to double

Or triple the investment in the program by facilitating just one class.

For the past nine years, Don Nelson and the TPMA have used BICSI as their

Exclusive training channel. Nelson is certified by both the TPMA, and the Project Management Institute (PMI). He is the subject matter expert team leader in the field of Project Management for all BICSI Manuals. TPMA is a BICSI Corporate member, and the program is approved for 35 CECs for RCDD, NTS, OSP, WD and 12 CECs for ITS Installer, ITS Technician, and Residential Installer. “We hope to keep our close relationship with BICSI” Nelson said, “but we need to go beyond their focus on premises distribution into broadband wireless, Fiber to the Home, Internet CCTV and other markets that face high growth and a need for better project management”.

This program will do that. We will offer specialty training and certification in the following areas: Premises Networks, Global Networks, Outside Plant, Cable TV, Wireless Networks, and Security & Access Control Networks. This program will provide valuable training, and the opportunity for graduates to develop a part-time, or full time training business. The distance learning feature, allows the students to work at their own pace, and will save on travel expense. The program will include an Internship that will provide “real world” examples, and may lead to new full time employment.

2007 Dates and locations for the TPMA PM Academy are:

Orlando, FL          January 26 to January 30, 2007

Phoenix, AZ          February 19 to February 23, 2007

Vancouver, BC      March  8 to March 12, 2007

Dallas TX             April 20 to April 24, 2007

San Diego, CA      May 7 to May 11, 2007

Dublin, Ireland      June 21 to June 25, 2007

Chicago, IL          July 9 to July 13, 2007

San Jose, CA        August 23 to August 27, 2007

Las Vegas, NV       September 14 to September 18, 2007

New York, NY        October 22 to October 26, 2007

Washington, D.C.   November 12 to November 16, 2007

“Suitcase” classes are also being scheduled.

Tuition for the program is $1499 which includes; TPMA Membership, Certification, and test fees, TPMA Trainer License, TPMA Training Provider License.

For more details call Don Nelson on (518) 330-5941 email tpma@nycap.rr.com or visit the TPMA Web Site www.telpm.org

ACUTA Hosts Fall Seminars in Portland, Oregon, Oct. 22-25

ACUTA, The Association for Communications Technology Professionals in Higher Education, will be hosting its Fall Seminars in Portland, Oregon, October 22-25. Companies that provide communications technology products and services to the higher education market are invited to join us as an exhibitor, sponsor, or both.

As an exhibitor, you reach your audience by providing hands-on opportunities for them to see how your products and services work, and demonstrate how your company can save them time, money, or both!  The majority of the exhibit hall is already committed, so act quickly to guarantee your booth space. Exhibit spaces (8'x10' ) start at $1,450 for ACUTA corporate affiliates and $1,600 for nonmembers.

Show your support for the attendees and the association by becoming a sponsor. Some sponsorships include full registrations, which enable your personnel to network and interact with the attendees throughout the event.  Breakfasts, lunches, the Internet access terminals, and the Monday night social event all include one or more complimentary registrations.  Or sponsor the seminar handout books and place a full-page black-and-white ad on the inside front cover. Another affordable option would be to sponsor one of the remaining coffee breaks for only $750.

Click on the link below to sign-up to exhibit or sponsor or to find more information about how you can boost your company's exposure in the higher education market.

http://www.acuta.org/ex-spon/portland/prospectus.pdf

We hope you will join us for the ACUTA Fall Seminars.  If you have any questions, contact Amy Burton at (859) 278-3338 x 240 or aburton@acuta.org.

www.acuta.org

CONEST® Software Systems To Acquire RAPIDBOM Telecommunications Network Design And Estimating System

ConEst Software Systems, the leading developer of a fully integrated suite of electrical estimating software applications serving the electrical and datacom contractors, today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire RapidBOM, the premier telecommunications network estimating system from Catalyst Data Inc. of Athens, AL.

RapidBOM will be sold and marketed by ConEst Software Systems and Mainstay Software Corporation of Englewood, CO.  RapidBOM becomes the newest addition to ConEst’s standard line of estimating programs and continues as an integral asset to Mainstay’s suite of proposal pricing, analysis and estimating software.  Mainstay will also be responsible for all ongoing software development and enhancements, as well as user training and support programs related to RapidBOM.

RapidBOM is a complete telecommunications network estimating system that automatically creates a Bill of Materials (BOM), including both material and labor costs, needed to totally design a network from the faceplate to the router. RapidBOM was designed specifically for telecommunications estimating professionals by telecommunications professionals with years of field experience. Among its unique features, RapidBOM boasts a regularly updated, electronically enhanced product catalog containing more than 100,000 products (complete with cut sheets) from more than 100 major telecommunications manufacturers.

“RapidBOM is an invaluable estimating product with the most comprehensive database of telecommunications-specific products ever created and made available commercially,” said Dan Walkovitz, president of Mainstay.  “Mainstay is excited to join forces with ConEst to further position RapidBOM as the superior choice for telecommunications professionals.”

RapidBOM has a proven ability to enable telecommunications network designers and estimators to develop higher quality estimates more quickly and accurately when compared to traditional manual process, and to do so simultaneously as part of the design process. In fact, current users of RapidBOM have found the tool to reduce their design and estimating time from 60 to 90 percent when compared to traditional spreadsheet methods.

RapidBOM also boasts an internal intelligence system that validates the design against BICSI, TIA and EIA standards, thus limiting errors in the design process by preventing an estimator from creating a substandard, or incomplete, design. RapidBOM ensures that all of the parts of a network build have been accounted for so that bids are fully priced and no time is lost on site for lack of appropriate materials.

“We are extremely excited about the acquisition of RapidBOM and the strength this product will bring to our telecom offering,” said ConEst President George Hague. “It will be a great complement to our IntelliBid electrical estimating program for those contractors working in both the electrical and telecom fields.” www.conest.com

Communications Supply Corporation Announces The Launch Of Their New Corporate Website

Communications Supply Corporation (CSC) is pleased to announce the development and release of its new corporate website at www.gocsc.com

On Monday, August 28th, the new CSC site was officially launched. It features a complete re-design that allows visitors to easily navigate from the homepage to multiple sources of information within the site—this includes a streamlined means of contacting any of CSC's 32 branch offices.

"CSC has broadened its market reach over the past couple of years", explains Howard Fox, Director of Marketing. "Not only have we expanded into new geographical markets, we have significantly expanded our product and service offering to our commercial, government and residential customers—our new website now aligns with our growing business, and serves our market very well with incredible, broad and diverse content."

The site also serves as a branding mechanism for CSC with the roll-out of their new tagline, "Network Convergence: One Distributor. Everything Infrastructure." Fox explains that, "CSC has evolved to become the nations single-source for the implementation of voice, data, audio, video, physical security and building automation systems. This branding identity exemplifies our ability to offer and support our diverse customer base a variety of product solutions, spanning multiple applications—customers rely on CSC's expertise for product sourcing, information and training services; the 'birth' of our new website brings it all together."

About Communications Supply Corporation
Founded in 1972, Communications Supply Corporation is a leading national distributor of low voltage network infrastructure and industrial wire and cable products. Through a network of 32 branches, more than 900 associates and local inventory in excess of $90 million, CSC distributes a full range of products to support advanced connectivity for voice and data communications, access control, security surveillance, building automation, residential and commercial audio, video and broadcast distribution, life safety systems, electrical construction and manufacturing for commercial, residential and government customers. CSC is recognized for delivering measurable value and outstanding support to its customers and suppliers alike. Vast application expertise makes CSC an unbiased knowledge resource for product information, documentation and training. For more information about CSC please visit www.gocsc.com

Researchers Work To Protect Grid From Terrorism

University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR) researchers developing ways to protect power systems form overloads may also be developing a system to thwart terrorist threats to the nation’s power grid.

Bruce McMillin, a UMR computer science professor, and Mariesa Crow, a UMR electrical engineer professor, are working on locally embedded controllers that are placed in the electric transmission systems to regulate power flow.  These flexible alternating current transmission (FACTS) system devices will correct power flow problems and guard against failures.

McMillin is focusing on the computers that will control the FACTS devices.  He said these computers are subject to failure by various means, including terrorist attacks.

“Hardware can fail, software can be incorrect, and, in the worst case, computers can be taken over by terrorists and set to confuse the FACTS network to do exactly the wrong thing,” he said.  “Before deploying a FACTS network, these failure and security problems must be addressed.  IF we can do all of this, we can build a FACTS network that will be resilient to failure.  The results will be to ensure continued power distribution to consumers in the event of failures or attacks.”

FACTS devices will make the power systems more reliable, said Crow.

“We’re facing more and more out of a structure that was built decades ago,” she said.  “And we’re looking at new technologies that we can put in to get more out of that structure.  Electricity is unlike many commodities in that it must be generated at the time that it is used.  There is no storage, and because electricity takes the path of least impedance or resistance, this results in the overloading of power lines.”

Power suppliers have little control of power failures because they have no localized way to control the transmission network.  The dated system struggles to forge on under the weight of consumer demand.

“What we’re looking for is a power grid that can heal itself,” said Crow.

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine September 2006 issue – www.ecmag.com

Preformed Line Products Announces Quarterly Dividend

The Board of Directors of Preformed Line Products (Nasdaq: PLPC - News) on September 14, 2006 declared a regular quarterly dividend in the amount of $.20 per share on the Company's common shares, payable October 20, 2006 to shareholders of record at the close of business on October 2, 2006.

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 Mayfield Village, 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. www.preformed.com

Leviton Introduces QuickPort High-Density 1RU Patch Panel Featuring Industry First Die-Cast Construction

Leviton Voice & Data, a division of Leviton Manufacturing Company, Inc., is pleased to introduce the revolutionary QuickPort High-Density 1RU/48-Port Patch Panel.

Leviton’s patent pending QuickPort 1RU/48-Port Patch Panel offers unsurpassed port density, but with a twist – die-cast aluminum construction – an industry first! The QuickPort High-Density 1RU Patch Panel provides the winning combination of high-strength, improved cable management, and maximum port density, all in a minimum of rack space.

Find it hard to read port identification numbers? The QuickPort High-Density 1RU Patch Panel features a Port Label Holder that magnifies port markings. Multi-colored card stock assures that port identification is fast and easy.

Available in CAT 5e, CAT 6, and CAT 6A category ratings, each complete kit includes one patch panel, 48 connectors, labeling kit, and one cable management bar. The QuickPort High-Density 1RU Patch Panel is part of Leviton’s extensive line of copper systems products. www.levitonvoicedata.com

GE Introduces Hardened Managed Ethernet Switch Series

GE Security, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the General Electric Company  (NYSE: GE) today introduced its new D-GES7600 Series of managed layer 2 Ethernet switches, devices that segment Ethernet network traffic to enhance performance and create better bandwidth allocation.  An essential piece of equipment when local area networks (LAN) are handling multiple devices, such as cameras and DVRs, the new GE managed switches allow “virtual local area networks” or (VLANS) to be created that let networks be created using software rather than hardware.

The GE line consists of 12 models that have nine individual ports.  Each can be configured from strictly electrical ports to various combinations of electrical, multi-mode fiber or single mode fiber ports.  Some models also include a Gigabit electrical or optical port.  The D-GES7600 Series also features Rapid Spanning Tree Protocol (IEE 802.1w) for quick data recovery.

“As more and more devices are being integrated onto Ethernet networks, bandwidth can become an issue,” said Vic Milani, Director of GE Fiber Optic Product Marketing.  “Based on the rapid transition toward bigger networks, GE provides a Gigabit Ethernet transmission capability in its initial managed switch product line introduction.  By utilizing a Gigabit Ethernet (1 Gbps) port, users obtain a significant increase in bandwidth over older Fast Ethernet, allowing devices utilizing switches to be easily integrated into larger networks.”

The D-GES7600 Managed Ethernet Switch has several mechanisms to monitor, configure, and manage the VLAN it is tasked to manage.  A console interface using a standard RS-232 interface allows local network control from a standard PC.  Alternatively, a web-based graphical user interface or GUI provides remote configuration control from anywhere on an Ethernet-based network.

For higher-level system management, the GES7600 line supports SNMP or Simple Network Management Protocol Version 2C and is RFC1213 compliant.  SNMP allows a standards-based network element management system to be utilized for status monitoring and management of their network.

The D-GES7600 Managed Ethernet Switch was designed from the ground up to be mechanically and environmentally hardened for use in unconditioned environments.  It has

passed the rigorous tests of and meets the CALTRANS and NEMA test standards, providing an advantage over models that are not designed for more demanding outdoor and factory installations. The D-GES7600 Series is one of the only managed switches available that can be configured with a redundant power supply for greater reliability.

The D-GES7600 Series is also designed for use in today’s IP-based security networks, where surveillance and access control are taking place in centralized locations.  These applications are extremely sensitive to variable delays and network congestion, which are unavoidable on a shared Ethernet network.  By configuring the devices in a VLAN, sufficient bandwidth can be allocated for each, thereby ensuring effective management of the network devices.

All models of the D-GES7600 Series are FCC and CE compliant and have an operating temperature range between – 40 degrees C to + 74 degrees C.   The D-GES7600 Series also includes a limited five-year warranty.

About GE’s Security Business
GE Security, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the General Electric Company (NYSE: GE), is a leading supplier of security and life safety technologies, with operations in more than 35 countries and $2 billion in annual sales. GE Security offers one of the industry's broadest product portfolios, covering explosives and narcotics detection, intrusion and access control, video surveillance, key management, and fire detection. GE Security's products are used to protect people and property across a wide range of industries, including aviation, law enforcement, banking, education, healthcare, mass transit, and retail.
www.gesecurity.com

Business Intelligence Software

Users of Crystal Reports and Business Objects software are starting to buzz about www.crystalkeen.com. If you are a report developer or system administrator using Crystal Reports or Business Objects software and didn't know about this site, you've missed out on a valuable resource.

Crystalkeen has a massive library of tips and tutorials. Whether you need to solve a problem or simply want to learn better ways of working with Crystal Reports, the library offers useful, accurate information. The library is divided into separate sections for experienced users, beginners, and administrators. There's also a database tips section. There is no charge for any of this, nor do you need to sign up for it. There are no banners, popups, popunders, or other annoyances (there's not even a GoogleAdSense ad anywhere on the site).

This library is possible because of the products sold on Crystalkeen. These include Windows-based viewers, schedulers (one is an application version, and one runs as a Windows Service), and other tools such as Report Analyzer. Sometimes, these tools will be referred to in the articles because the product actually does solve the problem the article is talking about. Other times, the information is just there with no product mention. Most of the products have free trial versions available (use the full software for 30 days before buying it). Some have demo versions (limited use, but free).

Motorola Acquires Vertasent, Enhances Company’s Next-Generation Digital Video Platform

Based in Colmar, Pa, Vertasent is a privately-held developer of software applications that enables services such as content-on-demand or IPTV to share resources and be delivered over a common infrastructure.  Vertasent’s applications manage the elements in a “switched” digital video network – a key area of interest for cable operators. A switched video architecture can increase available bandwidth in a cable network by dynamically transmitting only those channels currently being watched in a given neighborhood. 

“Over the past several years, consumer demand for advanced video services, such as Video-on-Demand and High-Definition TV (HDTV) service, has risen rapidly.  In response, pay-TV service providers are broadening the availability of many advanced services in order to reach a wider array of home and mobile devices,” according to Mike Paxton, a cable TV industry analyst at In-Stat, a leading technology research firm.

“Motorola’s acquisition of Vertasent, coupled with its purchase of Broadbus Technologies earlier this summer, now allows the company to provide pay-TV service providers with an end-to-end, open standards hardware and software portfolio that supports advanced video services and improves bandwidth management,” said Paxton.

Vertasent’s Integrated Resource Management solution is based on industry-standard interfaces and protocols. This can reduce expense for providers by eliminating the need to add dedicated equipment for each new service and offers the opportunity to select a best-in-class device for each element of the video network.

Together with Motorola’s existing on-demand hardware solutions, the Vertasent system can offer service providers three key benefits: (1) an open platform for expanding their program offering to potentially include millions of live and on-demand titles; (2) the additional flexibility to more efficiently migrate to an all-digital network architecture; and (3) the ability to stream video programming to any device.

“Motorola is today delivering solutions that make seamless video – in and out of the home – a reality. Vertasent will play a critical role in our technology strategy, by providing the software ‘glue’ that unifies the management of advanced services and the standards-based video components in the network,” said Dan Moloney, President, Motorola Connected Home Solutions. “Motorola’s robust digital video platform now gains the unparalleled flexibility to deliver content one-to-one or one-to-many – over a common network infrastructure.”

Financial terms of the completed transaction were not disclosed. Vertasent’s management team and employees are expected to remain based in Colmar, Pa and be integrated into the Motorola Connected Home Solutions business. www.motorola.com

NECA-IBEW Partnership Receives Urban Pioneer Award

Portland State University honored the labor-management partnership between the Oregon-Columbia chapter of the National Electrical Contactors Association (NECA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 48, with its prestigious

Urban Pioneer Award.

Working together, NECA-IBEW Local 48 has helped shape the Portland area, providing high-quality work to projects such as Rose Garden Arena, Portland International Airport and Max light Rail stations.  The partnership is also deeply rooted in the community, providing all electrical work for Portland Habitat for Humanity homes and Lighting PIL sports fields.

“Thanks to our partnership with IBEW Local 48, we’ve been able to implement the highest standards of safety and training which is beneficial to our contractors, electricians and customers,” said Tim Gauthier, executive Manager of NECA. www.necanet.org

The award is now in its fifth year and honors state and community leaders who make substantial contributions to the political, social and physical landscape of Portland and Oregon.

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine September 2006 issue – www.ecmag.com

Certified Communications Inc. Training Schedule

Certified Training Schedule

August – December, 2006

Dates                                                    Class

AUGUST

8/7 – 8/11                                              Technician

8/14 – 8/18                                            ITS Installer 2

8/28 – 9/1                                              ITS Installer 1

SEPTEMBER

9/25 – 9/29                                            ITS Installer 2

OCTOBER

10/2 – 10/6                                            ITS Installer 1

10/30 -11/3                                            Technician

November

11/13 – 11/14                            DD100 Intro. To Voice & Data

11/15 – 11/17                            DA100 Intro. To LAN & Internetworking

11/20 – 11/21                            WD100 Intro. To Wireless

11/27 – 11/28                            OSP100 Intro. To CO-OSP

DECEMBER

12/11 – 12/15                            ITS Installer 1

This schedule is subject to change based upon Customer requests.

James R. (Ray) Craig RCDD/ITS Specialist

Corporate Trainer

Certified Communications, Inc.

www.certified.com   

MAXCELL Adds Riser-Rated Product To Textile Innerduct Line

MaxCell, a flexible, multi-celled, textile innerduct system, today announced the addition of a fire resistant product to meet the requirements of many fire safety codes, Riser MaxCell.  The specially-engineered flexible innerduct was designed for effective cable and fiber optic management within interior raceways, and for installation in vertical runs or shafts. Riser MaxCell is compliant with UL Standard 2024A - “Optical Fiber Cable Routing Assemblies – Test for Flame Propagation (Riser).”

Ideal for use in a variety of inside building applications, Riser MaxCell provides dedicated pathways in congested riser ducts and allows for future expansion, benefits that can cut costs and speed up project completion time. 

“Riser MaxCell provides more flexibility in network applications for new construction.  It’s lightweight and compact, so it’s easy for individuals to handle, as well as install,” said John Hepfinger, Market Manager for MaxCell.  “Additionally, the ease of use allows for less disruption in the workplace during building expansion or retrofit projects.”

Riser MaxCell is available in Micro, two inch, three inch and four inch versions, and all come with pre-installed pulling tapes.

In addition to Riser MaxCell, these products are also offered in low-smoke, low-flame propagation versions.  Plenum MaxCell is for installation in ducts, plenums, risers or other environmental air spaces, and is compliant with UL Standard 2024A – “Outline of Investigation for Optical Fiber Cable Routing Systems (Plenum).”

“We are continuing to add to MaxCell’s product line to meet the diverse requirements of today’s complex networks.  We are happy to provide Riser MaxCell and Plenum MaxCell to our customers who need these products to comply with local building codes,” continued Hepfinger.

More than 150 million feet of MaxCell innerduct has been installed around the world in a variety of applications, including cable TV, telecom, power/utilities, municipalities, university, corporate and hospital campuses and military/government installations.  www.maxcell.us

Introducing The Belden(R) Wireless Solution

Belden (NYSE: BDC - News), a world leader in the development of signal transmission products for the enterprise, industrial, broadcast, residential and security markets, announces the availability of the Belden Wireless Solution. The architecture of the Belden Wireless Solution is fundamentally different: While standard WLANs use cell-based technologies that require complex RF Cell Planning in an attempt to avoid co-channel interference, the Belden Wireless Solution uses a unique Channel Blanket topology to allow each radio channel to be used everywhere, at every access point, thereby creating blankets of continuous wireless coverage with no roaming latency or co-channel interference problems.

Equally important, high throughput is achieved even when cell traffic is high. Full compliance with IEEE 802.11a/b/g protocol and security standards is maintained. The Belden Wireless Solution:

     -- Provides unmatched capacity and bandwidth, covering the entire

        enterprise with overlapping blankets on independent channels.

     -- Ensures seamless, zero AP-to-AP hand off mobility for latency

        sensitive applications such as voice and video.

     -- Is exceptionally easy to deploy, configure, validate and maintain,

        providing plug-n-play flexibility to add or remove APs with no effect

        on the existing set-up.

     -- Allows for a true future-proof infrastructure in anticipation of

        fixed/mobile convergence of voice (VoWLAN), data and video in wide-

        reaching WLAN deployments.

No other enterprise-capable wireless networking technology has these application capabilities.

Network managers and administrators also benefit from Belden's Wireless Solution as it eliminates the need for intricate radio frequency (RF) cell designs and complex site surveys. Only a rudimentary understanding of wireless is needed.

These factors make implementation of the Belden Wireless Solution just as straightforward as it would be for a hard-wired LAN. In addition, Belden has further simplified the implementation process by including an easy-to-use software tool for determining the number of APs needed.

    Belden's unique solution consists of three basic components:

     -- BWS-8008 (8-port) and BWS-8024 (24-port) Switches, which are PoE

        enabled eliminating the need for a midspan or endspan device.  The

        Belden switches control all aspects of cell traffic and user access,

        providing for the coexistence of all types of users, devices and

        applications.  This guarantees performance and quality of service

        (QoS) for all users.

     -- BWAP-200 "Thin" Access Points (APs) which provide true plug-and-play

        functionality.  With all software and processing intelligence built in

        to the Belden wireless switch, the Belden APs require no configuration

        and are easily interchangeable or replaced with any other BWAP-200 AP.

        The Belden APs never need to be configured, rebooted or otherwise

        maintained since they are under the complete control of the Belden

        switches.

     -- Software, which manages the operation of the Belden switches, allowing

        clients to associate directly with the switch and not the access

        point.  In addition to managing all client associations, the software

        also provides a bullet-proof suite of standards-based security choices

        including WPA-2.  This centralized software/switch control technology

        means that the APs are secure and removes the possibility of enabling

        a possible security breach. http://www.belden.com

Danard Electric Recognized for Community Service

Danard Electric Inc., Tacoma, Wash., Was one of three subcontractors that received special mention as part of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Washington 2006 Contribution to Community Award.  The award was for the Mt. Rainier Lutheran High School in Tacoma. 

Danard Electric joined Westmark Products and Miles Sand and Gravel in receiving special recognition from among 30 AGC members who donated money, material and labor to the school.  Danard contributed $25,000 in services.  The company also coordinated a $10,000 IBEW-NECA gift to the school. www.necanet.org

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine September 2006 issue – www.ecmag.com

Hitachi Cable Manchester Donates Cable to Local School District

On August 26th, the Manchester School District received a generous high technology cable donation from Hitachi Cable Manchester (HCM).  HCM, located on Holt Avenue in Manchester, donated over 10,000 feet of armored fiber optic cable and 22,000 feet of a multi-media composite communication cable to the district.  The composite cable consists of two coaxial cables, two Category 5e data cables and two strands of fiber optic cable.  This donation could allow each classroom to have connections to high speed Internet, telephone and cable television.

Lynne Humenik, Senior Vice President for HCM, said the company was very pleased that they were able provide these products to the city.  “We’re glad we were able to assist the school district in a manner that will enhance their technology capabilities and help benefit the community.”

HCM manufactures over 3,200 different types of fiber optic, data communication and electronics cable at its 300,000 square foot Manchester facility and employs 175 people.

For information on HCM products, contact HCM at 800-772-0116 or visit their website at http://www.hcm.hitachi.com/.

Location, Location, Connectivity: What Works For One City May Not For Another

While “location, location, connectivity” is more and more becoming the new rule of thumb in real estate, it’s not the only measure. There are many areas trying to rush into making their network infrastructure more viable to attract and maintain a higher level of businesses.

In a recent study, Silicon Valley comes up short in ranking good technology hubs (even though the area has a lot to offer). Silicon Valley is investing in revitalizing network infrastructure, but as you will read below, network infrastructure is only one piece of the economic development puzzle.

Investment in Infrastructure

Who’s putting their money where their mouth is? There are many organizations looking at various solutions for upgrading network infrastructures and most are in the planning stages. Where is the real investment and implementation presently?

Though not a definitive study because it only tracks its customer base, CDW has come up with snapshot of activity. This is an excerpt from the Rocky Mountain News:

CDW Government, Inc. (CDW-G), a subsidiary of the $6.3 billion CDW Corp., examined the purchase records of several thousand of its public-sector customers from 2000 to 2005 and came up with a ranking of states.

Colorado came in third in wireless investment behind Rhode Island and Ohio. CDW-G characterized Rhode Island as a “lead investor” and Ohio, Colorado and five other states as “early investors”.

Wireless Investment Index

1.       Rhode Island

2.       Ohio

3.       Colorado

4.       Utah

5.       California

6.       Oregon

7.       Washington

8.       Wyoming

9.       Florida

10.    New York

Where is Illinois?

The big news that stunned some people was last week’s announcement that AT&T is going to provide Springfield, Ill. with a wireless solution.

In its first such deal, the country’s biggest phone company [says it plans] to build a Wi-Fi network for Springfield, Ill. to offer a free, ad-sponsored service of limited speed of [about 250 Kbps] as well a paid service with a faster speed of up to around 1 [Mbps].

While that really surprised some people, it didn’t surprise me.

The old design concept for what is now referred to as the public switched network (PSN) was to never “put all your eggs in one basket”. Using various types of transmission media was always a basic design concept going back to copper, coaxial cable, microwave, satellite and when fiber-optics first came into the mix years ago.

Maybe the surprise was that AT&T announced its entry into a market that it was fighting in the past. Maybe it’s like the old adage: “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.” Will this be good for Springfield? It should be it it’s done right. Still, it’s no offering of lightning speed to the basic consumers. A speed of 250 Kbps to 1 Mbps is more like stagecoach speeds.

Other Amenities That Should Be Measured

The Projections 2007 report that was commissioned by the Silicon Valley Leadership Group (SVLG) is scheduled to be released on Wednesday. Some of its findings conclude that Raleigh-Durham, Seattle and Denver rank as the top three technology hubs in the U.S. Here are some other observations that rated Silicon Valley and other technology hot beds:

Silicon Valley is one of the few global tech hubs that dominate both the technology and life-sciences industries. [It’s] above international tech hubs such as Basel, Switzerland; Bangalore, India; Prague; Dublin; Berlin; Tokyo; and Shanghai.

Only Singapore rivals Silicon Valley in both segments. The concentration of venture capital and tech companies there is far smaller than in [Silicon Valley], SVLG reported.

The survey said that North Carolina’s Raleigh-Durham area [is] the best in the U.S. It has cheaper housing and a thriving job market. The region has the best scores for eighth-grade math tests, low sales taxes and affordable utility bills.

The kicker in the study? Even though larger metropolitan areas like Chicago and Philadelphia scored higher than Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley still attracts a lot more venture capital:

Despite its dismal finishing, [Silicon Valley] remained dominant in one key metric: It attracts nearly $8 billion per year in venture funding, [which is] four times more than its closest domestic rivals. That includes $1.6 billion venture funds to “clean technology” and alternative-energy companies.

The Recipe For Success

Everyone looks for the “universal solution” when they first set out to change network infrastructure for their municipality. What works for San Francisco will probably not work for Springfield and vice versa. While there are some attributes for each community that may be common, more attributes are unique to each city.

Everyone looks for a cookie-cutter approach and many vendors like to think that a one-size-fits-all approach is the most lucrative to market and sell. Beware of the snake-oil salesmen as it is much more complex than that. Are some municipalities going to do the wrong thing? As P.T. Barnum said: “There is a sucker born every minute.”

Carlinism: There’s no such thing as a universal solution to many complex issues that must be resolved on a case-by-case basis.


On Sept. 18, 2006, the ninth-annual Global Technology Invitational will be held
at South Hills Golf Course in Racine County, Wis. Details can be found here.
Please call James Carlini for information and registration at 773-370-1888.


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.
Click here for Carlini’s full biography.

Copyright 2006

Wi-Fi Tops iPod And Home Phone As Most Desirable Technology

The Wi-Fi Alliance, in conjunction with Kelton Research, has found that Wi-Fi is demonstrating increased momentum as an integral part of leisure and work activities. 

According to a new nationwide survey on consumer perceptions of Wi-Fi technology, the W-FI lifestyle has reached iPod popularity.  Eight out of 10 surveyed readily volunteered they would give up their iPod for a home wireless network.

When Americans were asked which they would rather give up, their home telephone or wireless computer network, 79 percent responded that they would rather live without a home phone. 

A majority of Americans (55 percent) said that they work from home at least two or three days a week.  This, however, does not mean they are working in a typical office space.  Rather, they are working in the kitchen, living room or even a bookstore.

When asked how long it took to set up a wireless computer network at home , the average length of time was one hour and eight minutes.

For and entire copy of the survey findings, contact Dominic Ybarra at 650-762-2960.

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine September 2006 issue – www.ecmag.com

CONEST® Software Systems Releases Intellibid™ Version 5.1

ConEst Software Systems, the leading developer of a fully integrated suite of electrical estimating and business management software applications serving the electrical and datacom contractor industries, announces the release of IntelliBid™ Version 5.1.

ConEst’s flagship estimating software, IntelliBid, continues to set itself apart from other mainstream programs with the company’s latest release of the software, which includes an expanded database featuring over 70,000 electrical, low voltage, and structured cabling materials. The structured cabling database includes products from hundreds of manufacturers.

Other new features of IntelliBid v5.1 include tools for increasing productivity such as Takeoff All and Takeoff List features in Count Sheets, a new lightning-fast Bid Recap screen that allows users to work on larger jobs with multiple bids, and a new automatic backup feature that backs up any open job files when exiting the program.

According to ConEst President George Hague, “The expanded product database offers added flexibility for contractors working in the fast growing datacom markets. Additionally, this new version includes many exciting features that will dramatically increase users’ productivity.”

IntelliBid v5.1 is available in DESIGN BUILD, PRO, PLUS, AND LITE levels. Add-on programs such as BidTrac, JobTrac, T&M Billing, and Electrical Formulas offer additional features to round out the suite for a complete specialty contractor business management system. All versions are available in both single user and network versions. www.conest.com 

Corning Cable Systems Sells 40 Million UniCam Connectors

Corning Cable Systems, part of Corning Incorporated’s (NYSE:GLW) Telecommunications segment, recently sold its 40 millionth UniCam® Connector since introducing the product in 1993. To celebrate, Corning Cable Systems is kicking off a “Golden UniCam Connector” contest, offering $20,000 in prize packages.

The 40 million milestone highlights the quality, reliability and customer satisfaction associated with the UniCam Connector and demonstrates Corning’s unparalleled leadership position in the no-epoxy, no-polish field-installable connector market.

To celebrate this milestone, Corning Cable Systems is introducing four specially created “golden” UniCam Connectors into distribution inventory. Each individual or company that purchases and finds the golden connector will win a prize package valued at approximately $5,000. This campaign will kick off this month as part of the BICSI 2006 Fall Conference in Las Vegas and will conclude as part of the BICSI 2007 Winter Conference in January 2007. For more information on the contest and for official contest rules, visit www.corning.com/cablesystems/goldenunicam.

UniCam Connectors are no-epoxy, no-polish connectors that install quickly and easily in the field with a single no-consumables tool kit, with a typical installation time of less than two minutes per connector. UniCam Connectors, available in all common connector styles for both single-mode and multimode applications, are ideal for deployments across the local area network (LAN). The quick installation reduces the total installed cost of connectorization, making it cost effective for all fiber applications, from the main cross-connect to the workstation.

The UniCam® Connector incorporates a factory-installed fiber stub that is bonded to the ferrule. The ferrule end-face is factory polished and inspected to provide consistent low loss and reflectance performance. The other end is precisely cleaved and placed into the patented alignment mechanism. Both the field fiber and fiber stub are fully protected from environmental factors. The UniCam Connector effectively supports 10 and 40 Gigabit digital signals, as well as analog CATV signals.

In addition to single- and 2-fiber UniCam Connector styles, Corning Cable Systems also offers the 12-fiber UniCam MTP® Connector. The high-density connector is designed for LAN or data center applications using ribbon cables. The UniCam MTP Connector is also an ideal solution to restore both multimode and single-mode multifiber trunks in data centers. Removing and replacing a trunk is both time-consuming and costly for the installer. Using a UniCam MTP Connector allows installation personnel to restore a trunk in minutes. www.corning.com/cablesystems.

One-Third of U.S. Households Broadband Enabled

Roughly one-third of U.S. households now subscribe ot some type of broadband service, reports In-Stat, a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based market research firm.  As broadband becomes more commonplace, Internet use its evolving with broader adoption of a variety of applications.   Nearly half the respondents to a recent IN-Stat consumer broadband survey telecommute, with the incidence even higher among high-income households.

In-Stat also found some significant differences in the ways various ethnicities use broadband.  African American resondents have the highest adoption  of gaming.  Interestingly, there was a large variance in the incidence of Web camera usage.  Asian respondents had the largest incidence of usage. 

Other research found the following:

·         Over half, 57 percent, of In-Stat survey respondents play games over the Internet

·         Of all Internet applications, online shopping will have the largest increase in usage over the next year.

·         Younger respondents tend to have the heaviest application adoption, particularly those aged 18 to  24, in their adoption of gaming, video downloads and instant messaging.

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine September 2006 Issue

www.ecmag.com 

NAED Announces Centralized Product Training Online From Over 20 Industry Manufacturers At NAED Learning Center

The National Association of Electrical Distributors (NAED) announces the addition of free manufacturer product training courses online through the NAED Learning Center (NLC). Featuring over 100 courses by two dozen manufacturers, the NLC’s expanded manufacturer product training offerings provide NAED members with a centralized location to assign, experience, and track manufacturer-specific product training.

With the addition of these new courses, the NAED Learning Center now offers more than 350 courses in total.

Manufacturers with Product Training Courses Available at the NAED Learning Center (as of Sept. 8)


NAED recognizes and applauds the training efforts of the following companies:

Advance*

AFC Cable Systems, Inc.

Appleton/EGS Electrical Group*

Brady Corp.*

Burndy Products, an FCI Co.*

Coleman Cable Inc.

Cooper Bussmann

Cooper Wiring Devices

Crescent/Stonco, a Genlyte Group Co.

Eaton Corp.

Edwards Signaling & Security Systems, a Part of GE Security*

General Electric Co.

Greenlee Textron Inc.

Hubbell Lighting

Hubbell Wiring Device/Kellems*

Ideal Industries, Inc.*

Klein Tools, Inc.

Leviton Manufacturing Co., Inc.*

Lightolier, Inc., a Genlyte Group Co.

Lutron Electronics Co., Inc.

Milbank Manufacturing Co.

Pass & Seymour/Legrand*

Philips Lighting Co.*

Osram Sylvania

Shat-R-Shield Inc.

Siemens Energy & Automation, Inc.

Sola/Hevi-Duty/EGS Electrical Group*

Southwire Co.*

The Wiremold Co./Legrand*

Universal Lighting Technologies

*Some modules are provided by ElectricSmarts.com Network Training Library

“We are pleased to offer our distributor members access to more than 100 manufacturer product training courses online. With centralized manufacturer product training in the NLC, our distributors can provide their customers with more knowledgeable service, while also providing their manufacturers with increased sales. Meanwhile, distributors can streamline their training process internally as they take advantage of the NAED Learning Center’s assigning and tracking capabilities,” said Michelle Jaworowski, executive director of the NAED Foundation and Vice President of NAED. “We applaud the efforts of the manufacturers that have already contributed their courses to the NLC, and we are looking forward to receiving more training from other industry manufacturers in the coming months.”

NAED has requested courses from all of its manufacturer members, and efforts are underway by many other manufacturers to make their courses available through the NLC. As additional manufacturer training becomes available, NAED will continue to announce additional manufacturer product training by press release. www.naed.org

NAED encourages all manufacturers to participate in the NLC. To help facilitate quality product training, NAED is offering manufacturer product course guidelines, which can be downloaded at: http://www.naed.org/images/education/NLCTrainingGuideline.pdf.

To view the list of manufacturer training available on the NLC, go to: https://naed.iperformonline.com/courselist/courselist_search.asp. Select the “Manufacturer Product Training” category to see manufacturer courses. In some cases, the NLC is linking directly to manufacturer courses and in other cases, the NLC provides a link to the manufacturer’s site or to ElectricSmarts.com. However, in all cases, training activity is tracked on the learner’s NLC training transcript, and all manufacturer product courses are available at no cost to NAED members.

In addition, NAED is now offering no-cost Webinar training to help members develop their own online university using the NLC. The Webinar, offered monthly on Oct. 10, Nov. 14, Dec. 12 at 2:00 p.m. ET, will show participants how to track learning activities, create a customized training plan, and use the NLC’s reporting functions. NLC course categories include: NAED industry-specific operations, OSHA procedures, manufacturer product training, sales and marketing, executive and human resources, computer software, and audio recordings of NAED teleseminars.

For more information on the NAED Learning Center, contact NAED Customer Service at 888-791-2512, customerservice@naed.org or go to www.naedlearningcenter.org. Current NLC users: The manufacturer product training courses require the NLC login and password, but not a license code.

Contact Sonia Coleman at scoleman@naed.org to access print resolution graphics.

To sign up for NAED's weekly newsletter, go to www.naed.org and click on "News Room" and then "Subscribe Newsletters." Or click on this link.

http://www.naed.org

Optical Network Hardware Sales Up 20%, Service Provider Router And Switch Sales Up 6% In 2006 – CNS Magazine

Related Items

Companies

Articles

Worldwide optical network hardware revenue jumped 20% between the first and second quarter of 2006, reaching US$3.1 billion in 2Q06, primarily due to big gains by Huawei and Alcatel, says Infonetics Research in its quarterly Optical Network Hardware report.

The market is forecast to grow 14% between 2005 and 2009, when it will reach US$12.3 billion.

"Huawei is the big story this quarter, with sales up an amazing 83% and a larger foothold in the EMEA region," said Michael Howard, principal analyst of Infonetics Research.

"For the first time in optical network hardware market history, Alcatel is not in first place. Huawei jumped from fourth to first in one quarter, a rare feat. Next quarter may be a different story."

On the leaderboard: #1 Huawei, #2 Alcatel, #3 Nortel, #4 Tellabs.

Many manufacturers had up quarters: ADVA, Alcatel (up 25%), Cisco (up 23%), ECI, Ericsson, Huawei, Nortel, Siemens, Sycamore, Tellabs, Transmode, ZTE, and others WDM ROADM switch hardware sales are up 23%.

Metro equipment makes up 68% of all optical network hardware revenue, long haul 32%. It's estimated that 35% of worldwide optical network hardware sales come from North America, 33% from EMEA, 27% from Asia Pacific, and 5% from CALA

In another recent report, Service Provider Routers and Switches, Infonetics reported that worldwide sales of carrier Ethernet switches and routers are up 12% to US$837 million in 2Q06, with annual sales expected to increase 113% between 2005 and 2009.

The overall service provider router and switch market, which includes carrier Ethernet switches, IP core and edge routers, enterprise-class Ethernet switches, and multiservice core and edge ATM switches, is up 6% to US$2.38 billion in 2Q06.

"The service provider multiservice ATM switch segment continues its downward trend (down 24% since this time last year), while the IP and Carrier Ethernet switch and router segments continue to climb," said Howard.

"Carriers are outfitting their data networks to handle the coming IPTV traffic, and outfitting their mobile networks for the expected onslaught of mobile video and data traffic. Carrier Ethernet-grade equipment meets these needs

Cisco maintained its number one position in the overall service provider router and switch market, with 45% of worldwide revenue, followed by Juniper, then Alcatel, which posted a 16% increase in sales this quarter

Cisco also maintained its number one position in the burgeoning carrier Ethernet switch and router segment, while Alcatel is second.

According to Infonetics, 65% of worldwide service provider router and switch sales come from routers, 18% from carrier Ethernet switches, 16% from multiservice ATM switches, and 1% from enterprise-class Ethernet switches.

Reprinted with permission of CNS magazine – www.cnsmagazine.com

Technical Training Webinar Series For LEED Operations Offered

Leadership in energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Operations of Existing Buildings training just got easier.  The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) and Buildings Magazine are cooperating in a joint effort to bring this training directly to computers.  The USGBC LEED technical Webinar series helps facility owners, managers and operatiors implement a sustainable model using the LEED for Existing Buildings Operation and Maintenance Rating Systems.  Users will see and hear specific applications and case studies, get tools to immediately emplement a plan for facilities that will help reduce operating costs, save energy and creae a healthier environment for occupants.

Each Webinar is 90 minutes long.  For pricing and times, please visit www.usgbc.org.

Reprinted with permission of Electrical Contractor Magazine September 2006 issue – www.ecmag.com

TEKNOR APEX Achieves UL Component Recognition For Wide Range Of RoHS-Compliant Vinyl Compounds

Teknor Apex has achieved UL component recognition for a wide range of non-lead stabilized (NLS) vinyl compounds for the wire and cable industry, enabling companies to manufacture products that comply with the European Union’s recent ‘RoHS’ legislation and similar directives expected in China, Korea, and California, the Vinyl Division of Teknor Apex announced today. 

Teknor Apex will offer visitors to its IWCS / Focus exhibit (Booths 219 and 221) a newly published list of 84 representative RoHS-compliant grades, including general-purpose compounds and a large number that were formulated for UL component recognition and have now achieved it.   

“The new list is only a sampling of the products Teknor Apex can supply to wire and cable manufacturers,” said industry manager Mike Patel. “We can now produce NLS counterparts to virtually any of the thousands of compounds in our database.”

The new compounds include Apex (R) flexible vinyl formulations and Flexalloy (R) vinyl thermoplastic elastomers for electronic interconnect cable, data and voice cable, appliance wire, automotive wire, flexible cords, building wire, and fixture wire. The products cover a wide spectrum of temperature ratings and hardnesses and include extrusion and molding grades.  There are formulations for clarity, sunlight-resistance, oil-resistance, and specific flammability requirements.         

“Our NLS compounds closely duplicate their conventional lead-stabilized counterparts in processing and physical properties, electrical performance, and price,” said Patel. “We are now supplying these products from Teknor Apex plants in the U.S., from our Singapore Polymer Corporation business in Asia, and from manufacturing partners in Europe.”

###

The VINYL DIVISION of Teknor Apex Company is a leading manufacturer of compounds based on PVC, including Apex (R) flexible vinyl, Flexalloy (R) vinyl TPEs, and Fireguard (R) low-flame, low-smoke compounds for wire and cable.  Headquartered in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, U.S.A., the Division is an international supplier to the appliance, automotive, construction, medical device, wire and cable, and other industries. Other plastics businesses of TEKNOR APEX include the Chemical Div. (plasticizers), Thermoplastic Elastomer Div. (TPEs), Specialty Compounding Div. (toll and custom compounding), Teknor Color Company (concentrates), Chem Polymer (engineering thermoplastics), and Singapore Polymer Corp. (diverse compounds and masterbatches). A production facility in China will start up in Spring of 2007. Visit the web site: www.teknorapex.com.

Hitachi Storage Breakthrough Signals Bright Future On Hard Drive's 50th-Birthday

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies (Hitachi) has much more to celebrate than the birth of the hard drive, which happened 50 years ago today in San Jose, California. The company is also celebrating an areal density(1) achievement of 345 gigabits per square inch (Gbits/sq. in.) using perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) technology. This areal density, demonstrated in laboratory testing, represents an increase of more than two-and-a-half times the areal density of today's highest-capacity products.

By 2009, Hitachi predicts that 345 Gbits/sq. in. would result in a two-terabyte (TB) 3.5-inch desktop drive, a 400-gigabyte (GB) 2.5-inch notebook drive or a 200-GB 1.8-inch drive(2). In the first half of 2007, Hitachi expects to bring hard drive areal density half way to the 345 Gbits/sq. in. mark with a 1-TB 3.5-inch product.

Hitachi's new areal density demonstration is not only a testament to the resilience of the 50-year-old technology, but it's also a glimpse into the hard drive crystal ball. While 345 Gbits/sq. in. is clearly within grasp in the next two to three years, researchers at Hitachi anticipate that extensions to PMR technology will take hard drive advancements out beyond the next two decades, using ever more complex and sophisticated means such as patterned media and thermally-assisted recording. With these technologies, Hitachi predicts that continued areal density advancements would be possible ten plus years into the future. For example, in approximately 2016, 4 terabits per square inch (Tbits/sq. in.) areal density would enable a 25-TB 3.5-inch drive. Beyond that, Hitachi anticipates as much as 100 Tbits/sq. in. areal density will be possible, which would enable a 0.65-petabyte 3.5-inch drive.

"We are very optimistic about the future for Hitachi and the hard disk drive industry with research on these technologies strongly underway," said Hiroaki Nakanishi, CEO, Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. "The inventors of the original RAMAC could not have seen five decades of innovation in 1956, but here we are today celebrating its Golden Anniversary. With continued research investment, we look forward to celebrating 75 years -- the Diamond Anniversary -- of hard drive technology."

Beyond 50 Years

With PMR technology rolled out in high-volume production this year -- appropriately on the 50th anniversary of the hard drive -- researchers are looking at overcoming the next obstacles to advancing hard drive technology. The major challenge that hard disk drive designers are facing in increasing data densities is that the magnetic grains on the disk that store the data must become smaller and will eventually become too small to be thermally stable at room temperature. Patterned media and thermally-assisted recording are solutions to this problem.

Today, roughly 100 magnetic grains make up a single bit of data. With patterned media, researchers are creating isolated magnetic islands with one magnetic grain representing a bit of data. By using fewer magnetic grains, patterned media allows more bits of data per square inch of disk space while maintaining thermal stability.

Rather than using fewer grains to represent a bit of data, thermally-assisted recording allows magnetic grains to be smaller while resisting thermal fluctuations at room temperature. As its name suggests, thermally-assisted recording uses a laser to heat up the media while the magnetic head is writing the smaller bits of data. This enables the use of media that is stable at room temperature with the very small magnetic grains required for high-density storage.

Hitachi researchers predict that patterned media technology could ship in products as early as 2010. They believe that thermally-assisted recording would be combined with patterned media technology several years later when patterning alone is insufficient to sustain progress.

The Way to San Jose Leads to Hard Drive History

The first hard disk drive -- called the RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and Control) -- was delivered on September 13, 1956 with 5 megabytes of storage in a refrigerator-sized device weighing a ton.

In early 1952, IBM opened an innovation laboratory at 99 Notre Dame Avenue in San Jose, California. Research work at this site led to the invention of the hard disk drive, which has become one of the computer industry's most significant technologies. IBM remained at 99 Notre Dame and expanded to other downtown sites until 1956 when the company moved into a new hard disk drive manufacturing plant at 5600 Cottle Road in South San Jose.

Hitachi Ltd. was also an early pioneer in hard disk drives, entering the business in the early 1960s. In 2003, Hitachi carried on IBM's legacy of invention by acquiring Big Blue's hard drive business, combining it with Hitachi's own business to form Hitachi Global Storage Technologies. Today, Hitachi still maintains its hard drive corporate headquarters in San Jose, employing more than 3,000 people locally. Worldwide, Hitachi employs 27,000 people in its hard drive business.

(1) Areal density is the number of bits of data that can be recorded onto the surface of a disk or platter, usually measured in square inches.

(2) Predictions based on 500 GB/platter on 4-platter 3-5-inch product; 200 GB/platter on 2-platter 2.5-inch product and 100 GB/platter on 2-platter 1.8-inch product.

About Hitachi Global Storage Technologies

Hitachi Global Storage Technologies is a storage technology leader, founded in 2003 through the combination of Hitachi's and IBM's hard disk drive businesses. Hitachi GST enables users to fully engage in the digital lifestyle by providing high-value hard drives in formats suitable for the office, on the road and in the home.

With its legacy in hard drive invention, Hitachi GST will lead the industry in celebrating the hard drive's golden anniversary in 2006. After five decades of innovation, the hard drive has had a profound effect on the computing and consumer electronics industries. That heritage lives on at Hitachi GST through products that define the standard for hard drive miniaturization, capacity, performance and reliability.

With more than 27,000 employees worldwide, Hitachi GST offers a comprehensive range of hard drive products for desktop computers, high-performance servers, notebooks and consumer devices. For more information, please visit the company's web site at www.hitachigst.com. http://www.hitachi.com

Copper Pricing Concerns Dog Cable Suppliers

From the pages of Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine.

For manufacturers of communications cable and their distributors, seemingly ever-present volatility in the global copper market raises a host of pricing concerns which, needless to say, ultimately affect the buying strategies of their customers, the contractors.

The London Metal Exchange (LME - www.lme.co.uk) reports that the price of copper has tripled in the past four years, skyrocketing more than 59% in the period between January and May of 2006 alone.

Further, according to a May 2006 report issued by Communications Supply Corporation (CSC - www.gocsc.com), copper prices at the Commodity Exchange of New York (Comex) have increased by more than $0.92 per pound since the beginning of April, with price increases occasionally approaching $0.20 per day. For perspective, copper prices increased $0.75 in all of 2005, equating to a 58% increase in copper since January of 2006 - and a 138% increase since January of 2005.

Whither the market volatility? In many respects, the matter comes down to supply and demand. Ongoing industrial development in massively populated countries such as China and India and the recently robust U.S. residential housing market have undoubtedly fueled the steady recent demand for copper. But environmental and geopolitical factors also play into the price instability.

In October 2003, a fatal rockslide stalled operations at Indonesia's Grasberg mine, the world's third largest copper operation. In June of this year, a 7.9-magnitude earthquake caused a temporary shutdown in critical mining operations at state-owned Codelco in Chile - the world's largest copper producer, by far. And in August, copper prices surged after a union forestalled discussions to resolve a strike at Chile's Escondida, the world's largest copper mine.

All such events tend to stoke market fears of diminished global copper supplies lagging behind demand. According to a commodity price report issued this July from Montreal's BMO Financial Group (www.bmo.com), "With [copper] inventories at critically low levels, demand firming amid healthy global economic growth, and production gains likely limited, the resulting tight market balance should keep prices high, even if volatile, during the rest of the year."

Trickling down

So how does the maelstrom of concerns surrounding copper pricing affect suppliers of communications cabling? What are the financial and economic implications of this market’s volatility for cable manufacturers and distributors? And most importantly from an end user’s perspective, when is a determination made to raise prices - and by how much?

In dealing with the current scenario, Mike Barnick, senior manager of solutions marketing for Systimax (www.systimax.com) and CommScope (www.commscope.com), explains that “especially in this year” his company has “had to work very closely with copper escalation clauses.” Such arrangements follow market fluctuations and apply a formula for adjusting cable prices upward in the event of suddenly spiking raw material costs. Noting that the insulating and jacketing materials in communications cabling are by-products of the petroleum industry, Barnick adds that “we’re also seeing issues of trying to balance out the effect of the increase in oil’s cost per barrel, and the translated cost in plastics that we have to acquire in order to produce the billions of feet of cable that we do every year.” He concludes, “We’ve had some frank discussions with customers, that what we’re quoting you today is maybe a 30-month timeframe, and that we may need to reevaluate that after 30 days, or whatever.”

Subject to the rippling effects of increasing raw materials costs, what adjustments can cable purchasers expect to make? A representative at another provider of copper cable points out that, as a defense against such market uncertainty, many end users opt to “hedge” their purchasing decisions by “locking in” on predetermined pricing for cabling. According to the representative, who offered comment but asked to remain anonymous, a purchaser committed to a major installation where the price of the cabling material needs to remain constant for a specified period of time may opt to buy at a fixed price, providing their cabling supplier, via distribution, with a firm commitment to buy a pre-determined quantity of material over that span. In turn, the cabling manufacturer can then buy enough raw copper at cost to produce the installer’s whole order. The representative allows, however, that one disadvantage for installers in this scenario is that if copper prices should drop, the installer is still obligated to pay for the higher price, as contracted.

In a similar vein, cable manufacturers may choose to hedge on the price they pay for copper from their suppliers, points out Todd Harpel, director of marketing for cable manufacturer Berk-Tek, a Nexans company (www.berktek.com). Communications-cabling manufacturers can lock in the price they pay for copper from their suppliers for a year, he says, adding those that have done so anytime in the past three years have been rewarded by locked-in costs while the material’s price has climbed so sharply.

As part of the Nexans family, Berk-Tek is in the minority among twisted-pair copper cable manufacturers in terms of the resources available to it. In particular, as Harpel points out, Berk-Tek has its own rod mill, affording it the opportunity to process raw copper—presumably at a lower cost than some other twisted-pair cable manufacturers pay for the service to be outsourced.

Concerning the ripple effects of copper pricing through the supply chain, CommScope’s Barnick adds, “We’ve had to work very closely with our distribution, our business partners, our installer community, and with the end customer to recognize that when you quote on a job, you’re looking at a three- to four-month time frame between making the decision to upgrade a network and going out, getting a quote, evaluating some vendors, getting a re-quote, finding out availability, finding a logistics partner, staging the products, signing a contract, getting it installed, and then beginning to pay the bills on it. There is this new dynamic that hasn’t been around for a while, of working more closely on the quote versus where we are when we’re ready to buy, ‘truing up’ the quote and then looking at, are prices still good?”

Any discussion of copper pricing with regard to the cost of cabling infrastructure must inevitably touch upon the IEEE’s recently ratified 802.3an standard for 10GBase-T for 10-Gigabit Ethernet transmissions over copper. Does the standard’s acceptance expand the horizon for the development of copper infrastructure enough to mitigate the present pricing concerns?

Yes, says Barnick, “because now you have a pretty cost-effective solution for 10-gig UTP, compared to what you have to spend on the fiber side to get the equivalent [connectivity]. And you’re going to get more port density probably, and you’re probably going to get a better price on that NIC [network interface card], which all goes into the decision-making process. Even if there is, say, a 3 to 5 percent increase on top for the cost of copper content, it’s still a better long-term solution to be positioned for 10-gig over UTP when those switches come out.”

The previously cited representative from a cable supplier further notes that, while Cat 6A cabling typically uses more expensive 23-gauge copper strand (accounting for about 25% more raw copper than 24-gauge strand), in the case of 10GBase-T a customer is essentially paying for bandwidth, with the higher cost of the cable accounting for more megabits per dollar, and thus cheaper signal transport.

Broader perspective

Furthermore, despite the justifiable furor over the perpetually escalating price of copper, it is not the most expensive component in a UTP cable. At least, not in a plenum UTP cable. Fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP), commonly referred to as Teflon because that is one of the trade names under which it is sold, represents the single costliest component of a plenum UTP cable. (FEP is available from DuPont under the name Teflon and from Daikin under the name Neoflon.) So while the price of plenum cable certainly has risen in correspondence with the price of copper, the percentage increase of plenum cable has not been nearly as significant as that of raw copper. Non-plenum or riser-rated UTP cable, on the other hand, has seen more dramatic percentage increases because it contains far less amounts of FEP.

Relative to some other cable types, particularly high-voltage power cable, UTP communications cable’s price increases have come about at a snail’s pace. Berk-Tek’s Harpel, drawing again on the perspective of Nexans’ far-reaching capabilities, points out that it is not uncommon for power-cable manufacturers to have daily fluctuations in their products’ pricing—both up and down—because copper makes up such a significant percentage of those products.

By comparison, Harpel notes that Berk-Tek has a 30-day clause with respect to cable sales to its distributors. That is, distributors require a 30-day notice on a price increase. He further points out that for many in OEM situations—in which one manufacturer produces cable to be sold under the name of another company—price-increase notifications can be more like 45 or 60 days. In essence, the manufacturer is absorbing the extra cost of producing cable for anywhere from 30 to 60 days. Naturally, they factor that one- to two-month profitability shortfall into the new pricing schedule.

Matt Soroka, who is in corporate product management at Communications Supply Corp., notes that many of the key commodities that go into the manufacturing of wire and cable such as copper, oil, derivatives of oil such as PVC resins and plastics, as well as transportation costs, began to rise two years ago; this resulted in significant declines in operating margins for all of the category cable manufacturers and therefore required them to significantly raise their prices starting in early April of this year.

“Internally we understood and were sensitive to these types of price changes and the impact they would have on our core customers,” says Soroka. “Beginning in 2004, when the first wave of price increases by the wire and cable manufacturers began, CSC was the first national distributor to develop what we called  a ‘pricing dynamics’ letter for our customers.”

Sonoka says the benefits of this kind of notification were threefold. “First, it became a great tool for our sales force that helped them to understand the inflationary market dynamics taking place, enabling them to make appropriate pricing decisions at the desk. Second, it kept our key customers abreast of the situation, allowing them to make any necessary adjustments to their project budgets; and third, it also enabled our key customers to have meaningful conversations with their key customers.”

Soroka notes that his company continues to provide periodic market updates to its customers through such notification letters and e-newsletters, and by posting up-to-date market information on CSC’s Website.

In apprising end users of continually volatile raw materials markets and associated price increases for communications cabling, Soroka concludes that “we can either manage the process with excellence, or we can allow it to upset us and our customers. Just setting up that situation, preparing the customers with details and substance, obviously allows you to handle the inevitable price increase with a lot of confidence and finesse.”

Written by Matt Vincent and Patrick McLaughlin

Reprinted with permission of Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine  www.cable-install.com


REMEMBER TO RECYCLE, REDUCE AND REUSE

   
Copyright © www.wireville.com