The IT distribution industry has been through its fair share of change over the past few years. Large players have vanished while smaller players have established themselves in this high-volume, low-margin game. DataNet, now part of the Pinnacle group, is one of the companies that has survived the rollercoaster ride and is expecting a bright future.
The company is under new management and David Lello has assumed the role of MD. He has brought two smaller distributors, Fumo Communications and Basix Communications into the fold to complement the company's racking systems, enclosures and premise communications product offerings and to improve its support capabilities.
Fumo Communications is a blown fibre specialist and Basix Communications is a distributor of networking and communications products. The two operations have been merged into DataNet along with their respective employees and management.
The result, says Lello, is a distribution company able to serve any data delivery requirements customers may have. This includes passive and active equipment, as well as copper, fibre or wireless transmission media. And, most importantly, it also has the support capabilities to assist its installers and their clients where needed.
DataNet is headquartered in Wynberg, Sandton, with branches in Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Bloemfontein and Durban, from where it distributes to its installer channel.
Investing in fibre
Although the company has the skills and product set to cater for any data communications needs, Lello says DataNet is well placed to take advantage of the expected boost in fibre usage. Far from the days when fibre was extremely expensive and connecting fibre and copper cables a very intricate (and costly) job, today's connectors have come down in price by a factor of five. And as global copper prices increase, the attraction to fibre will increase.
This, combined with the South African telecommunications scenario where two fixed line operators, three cellular operators and a bunch of network providers are all looking to expand their reach, implies that the future of fibre looks good. Not only does DataNet offer the products necessary for fibre networks, its incorporation of Fumo has also provided it with the skills needed to install and support long-haul fibre networks.
Of course that does not mean traditional premise networks are old news. On the contrary, technologies such as VoIP will keep pushing the boundaries of how much data CAT 5 and 6 cabling have to carry. With security being incorporated into data networks, requiring the delivery of video and data in realtime, the demand is for reliable bandwidth. Corporations will have to ensure their networks can support this newcomer without hampering the flow of business data.
DataNet has the products and skills to assist in the design, installation and effective maintenance of these systems.
The primary brands in the DataNet offering include traditional names such as Modrac and Molex, as well as DataNet's own brand of premise network solutions, DataZone. This in-house range will be boosted later this year with the launch of TalkZone and SecureZone products for VoIP and security installations.
Sales of enclosures, from Modrac for example, have not dropped as DataNet addresses a broader market. In fact they are expected to increase with the launch of an environmentally controlled enclosure with a full security system. This enclosure has an internal camera to monitor who uses the system and a GSM modem that allows administrators to be alerted to any changes in temperature, fire, humidity etc, and of any unauthorised access attempts. The system can even send a unique passcode via SMS to someone wanting access to the system.
With magnetic locks and realtime remote surveillance, this 'server room in a rack' is perfect for branch office expansion. It can be assembled and ready to run in four to six hours.
DataNet also continues to provide products from Transition, Avocent and TrendNet to clients to ensure the company offers a rounded portfolio that allows it to live up to its vision of enabling all forms of data delivery.
The company currently meets the minimum BEE requirements, but Lello says management is focused on improving this and sourcing and training more black technical skills. "There are many opportunities out there, but a lack of skills affects all companies in South Africa. DataNet plans to be able to fill that gap and deliver the best products and skills to its installers and their clients," Lello concludes.
© Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd | All Rights Reserved