I ask a different group of cabling and telecom professionals to participate in our annual "Look Forward" piece. This feature aims to gather a variety of ideas, opinions and predictions on both the yea...
December 1, 2001
I ask a different group of cabling and telecom professionals to participate in our annual “Look Forward” piece. This feature aims to gather a variety of ideas, opinions and predictions on both the year behind us and the year to come.
When I put out the feelers this year, the perspectives I met with seemed different somehow. Initially, I found it hard to put my finger on exactly what was different about them, but after more careful scrutiny I noticed that the views differed from the “full steam ahead” industry views I have been used to in past years.
Perhaps it is due to the current state of the economy, the downturn in the telecom industry, the September 11th terrorist attacks (or a combination of all of these factors), but this year our writers painted an overall picture of more uncertain times and an industry full of challenges. (Please see “A Look Forward” on p. 14).
For instance, Scott Dawdy of Panduit Canada proposes in his article that 2001 was a year destined for failure. Writing in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the U.S., Mr. Dawdy talks about the effects on stock markets and the global economy, in addition to how businesses must change to adapt to new market conditions.
Continuing along those lines, Michael Spencer of IntegCom talks about the upcoming challenges for businesses in 2002, amidst a dim economic look for the first two quarters. He says the economy will have a profound affect on our industry and the technologies we rely on.
John Bakowski of Bell Gateways also notes the challenges our industry is facing, and speaks in detail about the necessity of forging alliances, the challenges that manufacturers will face in the next few years, and the tough technology choices we must make — most notably “copper vs. fiber” — for our businesses.
For Brad Masterson of Fluke Networks in Canada, this particular choice seems to be clear. In his article, he puts forth the view that the future belongs to fiber, and that major advances in equipment, design architecture and testing methods are driving optical fiber cabling to the point where it is becoming the transmission medium of choice for larger networking installations.
Balancing out all of these perspectives is Masood Shariff, formerly of Avaya Inc., who thoughtfully looks at a variety of trends that may be on the horizon — from Gigabit Ethernet to the convergence of LAN, MAN and WAN applications.
While there were a few sombre notes overall, our writers did manage to find some bright spots on the horizon. For while we have experienced a year of ups, downs and uncertainties, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel after all — particularly for those who are willing to adapt to the changes and work to overcome the obstacles thrown in their paths.
Whether or not you agree with what our experts have to say, I think “A Look Forward” will provide you with some interesting predictions, some informative viewpoints and some stimulating reading.