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Crystal ball gazing

There may be massive economic difficulties both in Canada and abroad, however, the one caveat is that predictions for the structured cabling, networking and telecom sectors border on being buoyant for...


November 1, 2008  


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There may be massive economic difficulties both in Canada and abroad, however, the one caveat is that predictions for the structured cabling, networking and telecom sectors border on being buoyant for 2009 and beyond.

“There is no doubt that there are currently some capital expenditure constraints in most companies,” notes Iain Grant, the managing director SeaBoard Group, in our annual Look Ahead, which begins on p. 10. “Even so, one of the chief issues will be worker empowerment to ensure that they have the tools to drive the company’s top and bottom lines. This is also a time to study more, which means a greater role for consultants.”

Luc Adriaenssens, vice president of R&D (enterprise solutions) for CommScope Inc. points out in the piece that with “structured cabling, it is pretty hard to say we are not going to do something. Bandwidth continues to increase. If you delay things, you are just shifting things by a quarter or two.”

That also explains why Frank Murawski, president of FTM Consulting Inc., is so confident about the future. He estimates that the worldwide market for structured cabling will grow from US$15.3 billion in 2008 at an annual compound rate of 13.7% to US$29.1 billion by 2013.

Much of the growth is expected to take place around fiber, where Murawski predicts that in 2013, fiber will account for 60.1% of the total structured cabling systems market.

Telecommunications revenue, meanwhile, including narrowband and broadband landline, wireless and cellular services, as well as Internet communications are expected to grow from US$2.1 trillion in 2008 to more than US$3 trillion by 2013 even as margins on traditional voice-related products continue contracting and the industry responds by shifting to an Internet Protocol (IP) communications fabric, according to Insight Research Group.

In other developments, Gartner recently identified the top 10 strategic technologies for 2009, key among them being Unified Communications. Strategic technologies, says Garner, affect, run, grow and transform the business initiatives of an organization.

On the UC front, the research firm says the market will consolidate: “During the next five years, the number of different communications vendors with which a typical organizations works with will be reduced by at least 50%.

“This change is driven by increases in the capability of application servers and the general shift of communications applications to common off-the-shelf server and operating systems. As this occurs, formerly distinct markets, each with distinct vendors, converge, resulting in massive consolidation in the communications industry.”

The remaining nine include Virtualization (particularly in storage and client devices), Cloud Computing, Web Oriented Architectures, Enterprise Mashups, Business Intelligence, Servers -Beyond Blades, Specialized Systems, Green IT and Business Intelligence.

These and others were discussed at length at a conference in early November in Cannes, France called Symposium ITxpo 2008. The format of the event involved over 80 Gartner analysts covering the “latest and greatest” research in all areas.

“Any way you look at it, these are interesting times,” Gartner stated on the conference Web site. “Economic uncertainty meets disruption and innovation. There are many ways to respond. You can focus on cost containment, invest now to take advantage, get your operations and governance in order or press ahead into new markets and new opportunities.

“Only two things are certain: standing still is not one of your options. And IT will play a critical role in whichever road you take.”