Emerging Trends in Information and Communication Technologies: 2021
As we’ve entered a new year, it’s a great time to look at some of the emerging trends in the Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) field. At the pace of current technology, it would be easy for a person or company to fall behind. Our Information and communications technology (ICT) industry is changing and moving forward at an unprecedented pace with many customers implementing new technology or updated advances into their ICT infrastructure and networks.
From purely a business standpoint, this is a good thing for our companies and their employees. Technology often necessitates the installation of better copper cable (i.e., Cat6A) new and improved fiber (i.e., OM5) and replacing existing hardware (i.e., Old Access Points). Advancements in POE, WIFI, Building Automation System (BAS) and others are creating many opportunities and challenges for companies and their employees.
Trend #1: Increase of uses for PoE 802.3bt 100W
One of the current trends in information technology is the proliferation of PoE 802.3bt throughout the industry will continue to add things we can power over network cables. As the technology has improved, you can see from the table below that we’ve greatly increased the ability to deliver power to devices through data cables.
This allows many more devices to not only be connected to the network, but also receive their power from the network. As PoE lighting in commercial buildings becomes the standard, laptops, desktops, and large TV’s will also be getting their power from network cables. There are many advantages and few disadvantages of moving devices to PoE. For example, the installation costs of low voltage cables are lower than electrician’s costs for conventional power. Also, the ability to back-up power to select devices becomes easier and more cost effective. From a business standpoint, when more things are added to the network, it becomes more important to keep them running.
Poe is entering the home market with many products that are now available to the homeowner from blinds to ceiling fans. If you ever lost or damaged your laptop charger, you can immediately recognize how convenient it would be if it was charged through the network jack. You will also be able to power or charge them wherever a PoE connection is available.
For additional information on PoE 802.3bt, check out these organizations and their websites:
The Ethernet Alliance
Cabling Installation & Maintenance Magazine
Trend #2: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) Standard and its impact on the industry
One of the latest trends in information technology includes WI-FI. As Wi-Fi 6 is being deployed on a larger scale, many companies are upgrading cabling to wireless access points, replacing existing access points and adding more to existing networks. This is helping meet the demand for faster and more prolific Wi-Fi in the commercial and residential markets. The Wi-Fi Alliance®, the worldwide network of companies that brings you Wi-Fi® predicts that: “Wi-Fi 6 will see strong global adoption across PCs, access points, smartphones, and IoT devices in enterprises, homes, and public arenas – with nearly 2 billion Wi-Fi 6 device shipments expected in 2021.”
In Table 1 from “What’s the Difference Between Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6?” it’s clear to see that Wi-Fi 6 nearly triples the maximum data rate while doubling the number of users per access point. According to Dennis Huang of CommScope “Whether working from home or the office, workers need Wi-Fi now like they have in no previous time period, with 64% of enterprises looking to adopt this new standard by late 2021.” As we increase the data rate for users, we need to have Cat6A cables feeding the access points (ideally two). This is great news for ICT companies and their installers. Many previously installed access points need to be re-cabled to meet the demand of users.
For additional information on Wi-Fi 6, check out this organization and their website:
Trend #3: Building Automation Systems (BAS)
Building Automation Systems (BAS)** are impacting the construction industry for new buildings and becoming increasingly important for updating/upgrading existing buildings. The American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHAE) has a Standard 135-2020 that uses BACnet, a data communication protocol for building automation and control networks. These systems are connecting multiple trades to one consolidated and manageable tool for facilities and maintenances managers.
BAS systems can increase efficiencies of existing buildings by better controlling and managing building resources. These systems reduce heating and lighting costs, increase productivity and increase safety and security. With the ability to turn an ordinary building into a smart building, some of the many things that can be integrated and controlled into these systems include ambient light control (shading), audio, door access, fire alarms, HVAC, lighting, surveillance, and more.
Trend #4: Optimizing Cable Pathways
As space in cable trays and baskets decreases due to larger diameter cables and increased cables for other devices on the network, the optimal way to increase space in pathways is to do more bundling for better cable management.
Professional installers should consider doing more bundling of cables in cable pathways. Many are still bundling cables ONLY where they exit the pathways. We’re at an inflection point where it makes sense to bundle cables within the cable pathways. Dressing cables inside cable pathways provides cleaner installations and make it easier to identify specific pulls, devices, and applications – as well as leaving additional room for future network expansion. We are seeing a trend towards this additional optimization in 2021.
When bundling cables, both Specifiers and Installers know to use flexible, yet strong hook & loop cable ties. They also know a system is only as good as its weakest link and that nylon ‘zip ties’ can wear through the cabling jacket, be over-tightened, or cause cable impedance issues. With an increase in cables, comes an increase in weight. This makes using nylon ‘zip ties’ less than optimal and makes hook & loop cable ties the perfect solution.
** For additional information on BAS, check out these organizations and their websites.
The International Society of Automation
The American Society of Heating and Air-Conditioning Engineers
This Blog was Prepared by Randy Reusser, RCDD in partnership with Speedtech International, Inc.
Randy has been involved with technology (electronics) since 1980. He received a Diploma in Electronic Servicing from Milwaukee Area Technical College, an Associate of Science Degree as an Electronic Technician from Gateway Technical College (Graduate Scholastic Award), a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Carthage College (Suma Cum Laude), an MBA in Business Administration from Marquette University, and Lean Six-Sigma Black Belt.
He is a certified trainer for Belden, Building Industry Consulting Service International, Inc. (BICSI), National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), Manufacturing Skill Standards Council (MSSC), Snap On, Greenlee, and Specified Technologies Incorporated. Randy is serving as North-Central Regional Director for BICSI (20/22). He also works with outside Companies including Belden, Insinkerator, Kenall, Lynch Diversified Vehicles, Carthage College, KUSD, Greenlee and many more.
Randy has experience in Electronics, IT, ICT, and Technical Management. Prior to his current employment, he has worked as a Team Leader, Technical Services Manager, Electronic Technician/Assistant Manager, Service Manager, and Electronic Technician. He has been published in twelve publications and passed or earned over 60 (sixty) technical certifications.
 Abramson, David. Overview of 802.3bt – Power over Ethernet Standard. ethernet alliance, Apr. 2018, https://ethernetalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/WP_EA_Overview8023bt_FINAL.pdf.
 Wi-Fi Alliance® Wi-Fi® Predictions for 2021 | Wi-Fi Alliance. https://www.wi-fi.org/news-events/newsroom/wi-fi-alliance-wi-fi-predictions-for-2021. Accessed 12 Jan. 2021.
 Browne, Jack. “What’s the Difference Between Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 6?” Microwaves & RF, 2 Oct. 2019, https://www.mwrf.com/technologies/systems/article/21849959/whats-the-difference-between-wifi-5-and-wifi-6.