Equipment vendors tackle systems integration

Equipment vendors tackle systems integration

Two trends are converging to create an opportunity for equipment vendors to be the systems integrators of the information superhighway. The vendor`s traditional customers, the telephone companies, are downsizing and need to rely heavily on their vendors for expertise and manpower. Transmission products are becoming standard, and so equipment providers are searching for ways to add value to their offerings. What better way than by providing expert integration help?

Equipment vendors are now more than just sellers of products. They are partners with their customers, providing networking expertise, project management and design services. "We do the networks --we don`t just offer the products," says Hill. "From us you get a full network, including the up-front planning and engineering help."

This trend works in favor of the large, established equipment vendors that have broad expertise. And it is causing smaller companies to team with the larger players so they can be part of a total solutions provider.

For example, Broadband Technologies Inc. and AT&T Network Systems announced last fall they would integrate Broadband`s Fiber Loop Access (FLX) system with AT&T`s SLC-2000 Access System. The combination not only gives the SLC-2000 system the capability to carry broadband signals, thus providing network providers with a complete broadband platform, but also allows Broadband to be part of the systems integration team that AT&T has been promoting to the regional Bell operating companies, says Rick Jones, executive vice president of technology at Broadband.

Likewise, Raychem last fall sold 51% of Raynet Corp. to Ericsson, a $9 billion telecommunications equipment supplier based in Sweden. A prime reason for the sale was to give Raynet a powerful partner that would allow it to compete with AT&T, says Ray McDevitt, vice president, marketing and product management at Raynet, which has been renamed Ericsson Raynet. He adds. "AT&T has the total network and was making a total systems sell, including systems integration."

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