CNS Interview With Peter Newman
CNS: Pete, you had hoped to participate in our recent industry panel, but couldn't make it due to a scheduling conflict. I am interested on your thoughts about two specific areas that were discussed. The first revolves around data centre...
March 1, 2010
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CNS: Pete, you had hoped to participate in our recent industry panel, but couldn’t make it due to a scheduling conflict. I am interested on your thoughts about two specific areas that were discussed. The first revolves around data centre advances from both a structured cabling and networking perspective: What can we expect to see over the next three years?
Newman: We have a growing infrastructure here at Leviton in terms of our ability to support data centres. We see not only opportunities from market growth, but also opportunities for product development to meet customer needs.
Clearly, bandwidth requirements will grow — 40 Gig, 100 Gig and possibly even 400 Gig at some point.
10GBASE-T is going to become the standard for 10 gigabit over Cat 6A copper in the data centre, but it will be used mostly for small runs such as inter-equipment connections rather than running between rows or sections of a data centre.
As for fiber in the date centre, 40GBase-SR4 and 100GBase-SR10 will be deployed over standard OM3 50-Micron laser optimized fiber. This multimode fiber provides a migration path for the future. We’re also seeing new equipment-to-equipment connectors for high bandwidth applications and short distances which include SFP+ and QSFP+ using twinax cable.
There is also the top-of-rack (TOR) equipment becoming more common. TOR changes the architecture of the IT infrastructure. You have fiber to top-of-rack and then direct copper attachments to the equipment within the racks. That allows you to run the fiber over longer distances and copper within the cabinet.
Finally, power and cooling will continue to be an ongoing issue with passive cooling being the preference to remove heat without requiring more power.
CNS: Secondly, is the overhauling of the RCDD program by BICSI and the introduction of the NxtGEN initiative a smart move in your mind?
Newman: When I first saw it and before I conducted any research into NxtGEN, I was skeptical and viewed it as another money-making opportunity for BICSI. To be honest, I was confused because I read the brochures and accessed the BICSI Web site, but I just wasn’t getting it.
I wanted to believe they were going to fix things, but it just wasn’t clear. I told Brian Hansen, their new president who just happens to work at Leviton, that my concern with the RCDD is that it has become watered down, and far too many people get an RCDD who don’t really meet the requirements and cannot do network design. I asked him: Is this just more of the same because if it is, I just can’t get behind it. He replied that BICSI actually knows that those were the problems. He actually got me encouraged.
Now I’m thinking this is a good thing. As it stands now, if people wanted BICSI training, their only opportunity was to go after the RCDD.
To do that, you had to have certain experience criterion. Frankly, some people were stretching the truth a bit and not being as forthcoming as they should have been on the recommendations and the sponsorships and the letters that were written for folks wanting to sit for the RCDD exam.
With NxtGEN, BICSI has increased the ITS experience requirement to five years. It’s pretty hard to fake five years. Two years — you might be able to get away with. And then for the new credentials such as ESS and RITP, someone can take those tests and get the credential without having to become a full RCDD. These are new credentials recognizing people who have specific design experience and expertise. They are pros in IT, but don’t qualify to sit for the RCDD exam.
As it was explained to me and it makes sense: Add some more credentials that are not being passed off as the top rung RCDD credential and allow people to be mentored, or gain the requisite experience, to sit for the RCDD exam in the future if they so choose.
It does start to separate the folks who do actual design and work in the field. Over the long run it is going to help. Over the short run, we’re still going to have a lot of legacy RCDDs who don’t necessarily know what they are doing — they wanted it for a sales or marketing positioning behind their name on a business card.
CNS: Leviton announced late last year that it had joined the Cisco Technology Developer Program. What is the program about and what does it entail?
Cisco has recently changed the program name to the Cisco Developer Network. We applied for the program which involves an extensive application process with Cisco. As part of that application process for example, we have to outline actual customer installations using the Leviton and Cisco equipment.
They approved us for the program. Once Leviton was part of the program we could submit products for the “Cisco Compatible” certification, which applies to specific products.
We submitted our replicator panels for testing. These panels are designed to replicate specific Cisco products. First in the series was the 9513 Replicator Kit developed to support the high density fiber based 9513 Cisco Switch. Cisco put this product through a battery of steps and acknowledged it was inter-operable with the Cisco equipment.
With Cisco Compatible offerings such as Leviton’s Port Replicated Patch Panels and interconnect infrastructure, customers can more quickly deploy a broad range of Cisco Compatible business applications that can enhance the capabilities, performance, and management of their Cisco network.
CNS: Power over Ethernet appears to be a key part of your overall product strategy moving forward. What benefits does the recently approved PoE Plus bring to the table?
Newman: I have been waiting for PoE Plus. Once here it will put us in a great position to sell the benefits of larger cable and more robust connectors — Category 6A. We can probably get away with Cat 6, but Cat 6A has a slightly larger gauge, which allows more power to be transmitted to devices such as pan tilt zoom cameras.
Leviton believes a complete security and IT infrastructure using structured cabling is the best approach for users. By using a structured cabling system for security, costs are minimized, infrastructure is standardized, and a migration path from analog to IP cameras is available immediately.
Rather than running co-ax cable and a power line or a data line, you can just run Category 6 or 6A and get all the power you need for all the motorized functions as well as all the data.
PoE Plus can also be used in Wi-Max base stations, wireless access points, and video phones. A key piece here is that you don’t have to hire an electrical contractor. While this may not be so great in some circles, you won’t have to run power to all those places in the ceiling or high up on the wall where you may want to run a data port for a camera or video phone. It centralizes the power and allows IT to control power and monitor usage. It provides immense value for users.
CNS: What goals did you set when you were named senior director of international business development in 2008?
Simply, it was to increase sales everywhere we have a Network Solutions presence. That included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, ASEAN, India, the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America. I ended up spending 80% of my time in the Canadian market because that’s where I felt the growth opportunities were. In 2010, the title remains the same, but the focus for me is 100% on Canada.
That is all I do. My effective job title now is Canada National Director for Network Solutions.
CNS: Were the good numbers a result of the general make-up of this place?
Newman: Canada is one of our largest markets in terms of what Network Solutions sells outside of the U.S., which is no surprise. I looked at our market share in Canada as compared to the U.S. and it was not as high as I t
hink it could be or should be.
I think I know how to change that.
When I put my business case together it was clear that the return on investment in Canada was very good. Leviton management agreed that Canada represented an excellent market in which to invest. Leviton has a sales organization in place, a marketing organization in place, and established distribution in place. In addition, Leviton Manufacturing of Canada, based in Montreal, is one of the few structured cabling manufacturers actually located in Canada.
CNS: In closing, wireless will continue to make inroads into the corporate space. What can we expect to see from the Leviton-Meru Networks wireless technology partnership?
Newman: Technology on the wireless side changes rapidly and dramatically; however, it is not Leviton’s core competency. We thought it was better to go to market with a known and established high-end manufacturer.
We are able to offer through our specifications complete systems including what I call the wireless overlay. Organizations are not replacing the wired system with wireless, at least not yet.
We go to market with Meru because the system is easy to install and lends itself to our contractor base. The beauty of the wireless system offered by Meru and Leviton is the simplicity of the deployment using the single-channel network technology. No RF experience or site surveys are required to the install the system, and fewer AP’s are required.
Also, Meru’s people are 100% devoted to wireless and stay on top of developments in standards and technology. Cutting edge R&D combined with over 100 years in business. This is beneficial to Leviton and Leviton’s customers.