IT vendor educates users about getting physical

iTracs is working to increase awareness on comprehensive physical layer management among Middle East enterprises.

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By  Sean Robson Published  August 17, 2008

iTracs is working to increase awareness on comprehensive physical layer management among Middle East enterprises.

The physical layer management market is largely a nascent one in the Middle East and part of this is due to the low awareness levels amongst end-users.

Prominent vendor iTracs is working to educate the region's users on the increasing value and importance of effectively managing their physical infrastructure and its passive components.

"The physical layer is still quite a challenge, even worldwide. People spend a lot of money on the other layers but the physical layer is neglected. It's an ongoing educational process," says Simon Holland, general manager EMEA for iTracs.

The reality is that wherever you find structured cabling there is a concurrent need for documentation.

In order to increase awareness in the Middle East, iTracs regularly flies users to its live working sites throughout the UK.

"As time goes by we also have more and more live working sites in the Middle East, which builds confidence, and we see that reflected in the increase in tender requests we are receiving for our product," says Holland.

In addition to these visits, iTracs also makes use of its partners and cabling contractors to act as educators on the importance of management. "We also offer demonstrations of the product and have a raft of facts and figures to show the value added benefits of the product," Holland went on to say.

Educating users is not the only obstacle Holland has encountered in the region when it comes to the physical layer. "Labour is relatively cheap here so enterprises are not always concerned about the cost in labour the software can save them.

Developments being delayed is also proving a headache as we are often times directly tied into the parts of the building that are delayed," explains Holland.

Another challenge identified by Holland is that there is a passing on of cabling jobs to the main contractors, instead of specialised systems integrators, who often times lack an insight into the value of layer management.

"Some contractors just try to squeeze the margins and so enterprises end up with either a bad product and a good installer or visa versa. It's down to education again; end-users and consultants alike need to be educated," Holland says.

Holland remembers a time when cable documentation was recorded on whatever was at hand when the IT manager finished up. "It was pretty haphazard and the standing joke in the industry was that most documentation was on the back of cigarette packets."

Times have changed since those days 20 years ago and Holland and the team at iTracs have witnessed that change firsthand. "The reality is that wherever you find structured cabling there is a need for documentation. The speed with which it gains traction and is adopted does however differ from region to region worldover," Holland continues.

According to Holland, the Middle East is still at the beginning stages of integrating the idea of physical layer management solutions. "We have been in the region before with our previous product Crimp, so there is a certain amount of background. Users are still a little nervous, but we are addressing those fears."

Holland is positive though that the Middle Eastern market will continue to grow incrementally as stakeholders become more aware of the benefits of the product.

"It is still a new market but we have seen the same sort of cycle in the UK , the roadmap is at least sketched for us and we see a real progression in adoption in the future." Holland concludes.

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