NWME: R&M registered a 97% growth in this region last year. How do you plan to sustain the growth?
This market has a huge potential, and we see the growth happening not just in the UAE but in the whole region as well. Going forward, our strategy is to establish a local presence in the countries in the Middle East. In Saudi, we already have three people in place. Also, our public business is booming and we are doing well with the carriers here. We already have a contract with Mobily in Saudi, and a dedicated sales resource for this line of business. We are going to set up shop in Qatar, where we see big projects coming up. With a network of extremely good and reliable network of partners, we are looking at double digit growth this year too.
NWME: R&M is planning to move more towards solutions and services. Do you see a demand in this region?
Yes we more and more demand for services. Our training academy here is also part of the services we offer. Here we train our partners who get to know about products and solutions and how to install it.
NWME: Is this market primarily Cat 6 now?
More or less, Cat 6 has become the de facto standard. We are also seeing a move from unshielded to shielded.
NWME: Are users willing to pay the price premium and move to shielded? Any reasons?
Shielded systems are all about higher performance. You know there is a lot of nose is being about alien crosstalk. With shielded you don’t have to worry about that issue. Besides, if you are looking for a 10 gig solution, you would need bigger cable trays for unshielded Cat 6 while you can the same trays with shielded. So if you are going for a Cat 6A unshielded system your expenses will go up in terms of infrastructure. Having said that, we have unshielded systems also in the portfolio. We are addressing the market on both sides. We are finding more success with normal Cat 6 shielded than Cat 6 A shielded or unshielded systems.
NWME: Do you think the demand for fibre cabling will outstrip that of copper in the next 5 years? What kind of opportunities do you see in the fibre market?
There are two scenario’s that can be covered by this question – Public and Private networks. Quite simply a Public network will be found outdoors linking buildings, homes, malls, traffic lights etc. This is a network that the Public can access in one way or another, and one fiber cable can provide service to thousands of users. A Private network is the one around you in your office, your office park maybe, or your campus. This is generally a “closed network” and people accessing it will need special rights to access the network.
So in terms of today’s networks, in Public fiber will and certainly has outstripped copper installations. Fiber cables can handle much more bandwidth, is a physically smaller cable to install and in terms of value for money, or dollars for bandwidth, the cable is never really the costly factor. In Private networks however the cable arguments still exist therefore making it a viable solution, but with the relatively short runs of cable that are connected in a one-to-one scenario, high performance copper cables will continue to dominate this market for many years to come.
NWME: Customers demand shorter delivery times, and they expect quality and value-added services? Is R&M geared up to deliver in such an environment?
At R&M we try to work closer with our Partners on more accurate forecasting for projects. This helps everyone so that we do not end up with “just-in-time” or late deliveries. Our supply history is also a valuable tool for maintaining stock levels locally on fast moving items. It goes without saying too, that R&M products are designed around the Swiss quality principles.