Reseller News

Convergence forecast for utilities and networks

Infrastructure providers such as gas and electricity companies could soon be prime targets for cooperation from IT companies.

Gary Kinsley, vice president for Juniper’s enterprise and channel sales operation in Asia Pacific, describes it as a very interesting market and something IT companies are becoming increasingly interested in following.

“Currently, carriers are running fibre and copper all over the country. Power companies are doing the exact same thing, both resulting in huge operational costs. Physically maintaining the network is an added cost to the process.”

Kinsley says there are examples on smaller scales in both Japan and China, where infrastructure companies are butting in on the network market by laying fibre or copper next to other cabling.

“If infrastructure companies decided to go ahead and combine power or gas with fibre, for example, it would open up opportunities for them. They could provide a service themselves or they could lease it out to carriers.”

Broadband over power lines (BPL) has been around for some time, and has been beneficial for some customers, for example those living in rural America. Variations in the physical characteristics of the electricity network and the current lack of IEEE standards mean that provisioning of the service is far from being a standardised, repeatable process; while the amount of bandwidth a BPL system can provide compared to cable and wireless has been questioned.

Meanwhile, analysts at IDC New Zealand have forecasted companies such as Vector could become major players in the local IT services market within the next five years.