CIO Talk

The Indian ICT Cabling Infrastructure Mess

Ninad Desai, District Secretary, BICSI India
Ninad Desai, District Secretary, BICSI India

ICT Cables for communication are an inseparable part of our lives and will remain so for some more time to come or maybe even forever. It all starts with the telephone cabling, then comes the cabling infrastructure for the Local area network (LAN) and internet, then comes video, (which leads to surveillance as well as TV and more new wires) then security and life safety systems (so more wire than ever), further data storage, (and even more new wire) and with each of these new wires comes the variance and complexity of their types and construction; to top it all the need for different installers for various applications and their ways of understanding and delivering solutions.

We seem to have hit a pinnacle in this wire jungle and more than that we now face a major challenge of handling multiple service agencies and their more than one installation personnel in satisfying our ICT infrastructure requirements. To put things in the right perspective, It’s the complexity of the ICT cabling infrastructure that’s the root cause that disallows us an enjoyable experience but the fact is technology has become easier to operate and deliver as time has progressed, so then why it is the other way around for ICT cabling?

The most common grudge that we find happening with customers is that the technicians aren’t able to quickly diagnose and resolve a problem or even understand their requirements in the first place. Technicians are tempted to cut corners, resulting in shoddy work thereby resulting in customer complaints, and repeated visits. Add to this, third-party technicians contracted by service providers (which seem to be the business norm today) are typically paid by the job, incentivizing them to cram as many visits in a day as possible. To top it all, its even more difficult to have an extensive range of ICT cabling skillsets and a basic understanding of voice, data, video, audio available with one individual thereby resulting in delay of work due to multiple dependencies.
Are the technicians only at fault?

Not really, they aren’t the only ones. Back at the call centre where the requirement lands up normally, tech-support representatives say they get anywhere from two days to five weeks of training, depending on when they started, where they work, and whether they’re supporting business or residential services. They don’t know what to look for.

The technicians on the field aren’t lucky either, a week of training has more than 4 ½ days of the training week spent on products and services and order entry (It’s all pre-sales and marketing). They don’t actually learn about the fundamentals of installation & the troubleshooting aspect until they have that final 2 to 3 hour post lunch session left in the final day of the training. This invariably results in a lot of them just going off the flowchart script not knowing the ins and outs of actually fixing things the way it’s meant to be.

The proper installation and integration of ICT cabling infrastructure that’s required more than ever to support a modern home or business facility today hence becomes a more daunting task than ever. It’s not only the complexity of cables but the paucity of quality installers that makes it even more of a challenging area to address.

The ICT Industry therefore needs an installer programme that aims to address these challenges and equip installers with the right tools in terms of knowledge on the technology jargon’s and the reality that exists factually. A training programme that provides installers with a 360 degree view of the infrastructure requirements which includes all the relevant cable types, their preparation essentials, the connectors and their connectorization techniques along with the various aspects of installation practices and types, finally culminating in making installers equipped in the required testing and troubleshooting requirements to guarantee performance as per the applicable standards is the need of the day. All the relevant aspects of Voice, Data, Video, Audio, Security, Wireless, Fire stopping & Grounding need to be clubbed together as its more than required to be understood by each and every technician and support staff on ground. The Industry must also rise to the occasion and contribute extensively to help bring sanity in the ICT work-space.

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