Milad Gabriel, MEA Area Manager at TE Connectivity, talks about his company’s re-branding, opportunities in the market and some of key trends shaping the connectivity market in the region.
Tyco Electronics has recently gone through a re-branding and is now known as TE Connectivity. What does this reflect?
As you know, we were part of the Tyco International conglomerate and we were spun off and became independent in 2007. We changed the name of the company to better reflect the products and solutions that we provide to our customers. We engineer a full range of connectivity solutions. From electronic connector under the hood of a car, to fibre optic cables under the sea, to high-voltage connections in energy systems, our products protect and connect the flow of data and power from origination to destination in the world’s largest industries, including automotive, telecommunications, energy, industrial, white goods and consumer devices. Many customers and employees around the world already refer to us by the initials ‘TE,’ which is why we chose to keep that as part of our new name.
You have acquired ADC. Is that completely integrated into your portfolio now?
The ADC acquisition was completed in December 2010, and we are currently in the process of merging that business into our network solutions group. We a company with 500,000 products, serving millions of customers worldwide and the way we address the market is by verticals and under each vertical we have sub-verticals. One of the business segments is network solutions and others include carrier, enterprise, wireless solutions, to name a few. ADC is currently being into network solutions group, primarily under three business units – carrier, enterprise and wireless solutions.
The brand ADC will prevail and we are not going to change our existing channel partners and there is no discussion about the product overlap yet. I believe there will be some rationalisation going forward, and but at the moment these are two brands positioned at the same level. ADC fills a gap in our portfolio and did you know that they are the world’s largest supplier for broadband technology? With this acquisition, we have become the world’s largest supplier of IT passive solutions.
How’s the business been last year? The structured cabling market growth has been flat and there was a dip in the residential side of the market.
The residential market has never been a strategic market for us. We are traditionally a R&D company, and we provide value-addition technology. The low price, high volume market has never been our play and we are pretty much focused on the high-end customers. We haven’t seen any impact on our business thanks to the many large projects we have secured in the region.
What are some of these big projects?
We have executed some large projects across the region, some of them in the UAE. One such project is the UAE University in Al Ain, which is an interesting project in terms of volume and technology. We have delivered 50,000 outlets coupled with our intelligent infrastructure management solution, in addition to 300 km of fibre optic, both single mode and multi-mode. Another big project was Dubai Airport’s Terminal 3, where we took over the management with our IIMS offering. This is an interesting project because we interface another vendor’s cabling thanks to the fact that we are not proprietary. We are also delivering the world’s largest installation of iTracs solution in Concourse 3 with 192,000 managed ports.
Is the market moving from Cat 6 to Cat 6A because of 10G?
The 10G is not on the only driving force, though it’s the main catalyst. If you have a shielded version of Cat 6, you can run 10G. Though UTP is still dominant, shielded has prevailed through the years. If you look central Europe and Nordic countries, they have never stopped using shielded. We have realised that UTP has reached its limits with Cat 6 and it is prone to electro-magnetic interferences. One of the reasons why users chose UTP before was because shielded cost 60 percent more. Now, there is no price premium for shielded. UTP currently has no price advantage or performance advantage, and it would fail in full stream 10G performance. This is why we are spearheading shielded cabling systems in the world and developing connectors which takes less than 60 seconds to install.
Do you think fibre might eventually replace copper?
This debate has been going on for years, and my view is that you cannot replace copper. Out of three links, one would be copper. There are many advantages to fibre in terms of bandwidth, it is cheap in terms of cabling systems, has got zero interference, but the main drawback is power over Ethernet.
Is OM4 in demand now?
OM4 make sense in two cases. If you data centre is beyond 100 meters and if you want to future-proof your network for 40G. Otherwise, OM4 is unjustified and we don’t see any value addition, and from what I have seen, most DC lengths are less than 100 meters.
Quality of installation is an issue. What are you doing to address this?
It is true that the quality of installation in the region is not very high, and installation partners are always under high commercial pressure. Whenever we are engaged in large jobs, we make sure that the installers attend training and are accredited. We try and maintain the acceptable levels of quality in installation and do random testing. We are equipped as good as any installation company.