Electrical Business

In Adversity Lies Opportunity

July 13, 2009
By Anthony Capkun

July 13, 2009

Submitted by CERCO CABLE

We are clearly in challenging times. But there is no greater opportunity for long-term growth than during transition periods like these, especially now that the federal government is committing $12 billion towards infrastructure projects to help stimulate the economy. These expenditures include the kind of spending that will benefit the cabling industry. And that’s not including the existing $8.8 billion Building Canada Fund.

In addition, we have a temporary reprieve from soaring energy costs. But we all know that this won’t last, which is why now is the perfect time to propose the optimization of energy management systems using the latest technology and connected by an efficient cabling solution.

A recent article in the Montreal Gazette reminds us that 14% of the
country’s end-use energy consumption and 13% of total greenhouse gas
emissions stem from the approximately 440,000 commercial buildings in
Canada. Added to this are approximately 45,000 government and
institutional buildings.

Governments will be driven to lead by example so their buildings are
likely to be targeted for energy and/or data retrofits under government
infrastructure improvement programs. The 2009 federal budget has
earmarked $323 billion for this purpose over the next two years, out of
which $2 billion has been allocated to repair, retrofit and expand
universities and college facilities.

Change is now

Creativity and innovation are always immediate by-products of
recessionary times. Those of us who have worked through the last
recession know that these are the tools you need to survive. There’s no
better time to apply them now with the cost of borrowing money at an
all time low. Just imagine if we took today’s economic situation and
applied the soaring prime lending rates that existed back in 1991.

From a cabling perspective, if history is any indicator, we will
continue to see increasing pressure on bandwidth with information
transfer speeds increasing by at least one order of magnitude per
decade. Add to this the move to more energy efficient systems and the
rise in custom applications and we will see more attention being paid
to the performance of cable as well as the cost of installation—both of
which you play a key role in providing.


Becoming proactive in changing time

Constant communication with your customers is critical today. A lack of
customer contact might well lead to a missed opportunity – where
opportunities are few and far between. Keep in mind that the first step
to winning any job is simply being there at the right time.

Perhaps it’s time to revisit how you are adding value to your
customers. Ask yourself what you could do for your customer to address
the changing times (and opportunities) we are facing. Now is also a
great time for strengthening your product knowledge and installation
skill sets. Given that labour and cable are major cost components to an
installation, a well trained work force is important in giving you the
competitive advantage you need to win contracts.

You can create opportunities by highlighting the benefits of a vital
yet often overlooked component of their building controls system – the
cable. A quality or performance audit will help clients to understand
how they can optimize energy efficiency and realize a quicker payback
from their initial investments, while at the same time adhering to an
environmentally-friendly approach to building management.

A few examples of a link to a greener future
The election of President Obama in the United States bodes well for the
future of green technology and energy efficient building management
systems. He has sent strong signals both prior to and during his
inaugural address that he will make the greening of America—and its
federal holdings—a priority for the competitive future of their country.

The Federal Government of Canada has laid out similar initiatives
intended to transform public buildings into models of energy
conservation. Momentum caused by the coupling of the green movement and
the quest for economic efficiencies have created real market demand for
efficient building controls.

Similar signals are coming out of Canada’s communications sector with
“a broader approach to infrastructure than just traditional
infrastructure,” according to Bernard Lord, former Premier of New
Brunswick. He and federal Industry Minister Tony Clement are pursuing
an expansion to the existing $500 million fund to provide broadband
service to all of Canada. Also included in their initiatives are moves
to create accelerated capital cost allowances that could generate up to
$12 billion in high tech spending over the next 12 months. (Globe &
Mail Jan. 09).

During Obama’s recent visit to Ottawa, he and Prime Minister Stephen
Harper discussed the issue of border security and how both governments
could use some stimulus and infrastructure spending to make even more
investments in beefing up security along the border.

Another bright light for the industry is the continued growth in
thermal management – particularly in computer related industries.
According to a report from BCC Research the thermal management industry
was approximately $6.1-billion in 2008 and is projected to increase to
$11.1-billion in 2013, which represents a compounded annual growth rate
of 10.3%. The issue of managing heat and power dissipation is becoming
increasingly significant especially from an overall energy management


Are we reaching the stage of rationalizing the removal and proper
disposal of unused cable that threatens our safety? As a cable
installer, you are well positioned to provide expertise in this area.

Let’s get started.

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