Welcome back to the Solution Series brought to you by DoubleRadius and hosted by, yours truly, Jeff Holdenrid.
Jeff: Today is going to be a great session for us, we are going to talk about a partnership we made in 2022 with ICT Power. Today we have a special guest, VP of sales and marketing, Blair Clements.
Blair: Thanks for having me, it's good to be here.
Jeff: This is to be a 4-part series. Part 1 will be an in depth look at who ICT is and what they bring to the table. Then, because they are so diverse in their solutions, we want to split up the rest of the interviews into a multi-piece breakdown so everyone can understand how all the pieces fit together.
We will build all 4 parts into 1 great series.
- Introduction into ICT
- DC Power Supplies
- DC Power Distribution
- Modular Power Systems
ICT is not a new company.
Blair: We have been around. We started way back in 1986. The founder of our company started it in his garage building DC/DC converters back in the day. Obviously we have changed a lot since then, but yea, we have been in the market for quite some time.
Jeff: ICT has been a staple in the communications industry, I've talked to a lot of people I know and trust in the industry and they have brought your name up for years. We are really excited to have this partnership between ICT and DoubleRadius. Let’s get into it.
How have you seen the WISP space growing over the last few years?
Blair: We have seen tremendous activity in that space. As I mentioned, we started in 1986 but our primary market at that time was the land-mobile radio market, which is basically general voice based communications for public safety applications; police, fire, ambulance, search and rescue, etc. We were providing the DC infrastructure to power up those types of networks. About 10 years ago we saw an opportunity in the wireless internet service provider space. The application, use case when it comes to DC power is very similar to land mobile radio. The only variance really was a lot of equipment was 48 volt, where we had traditionally been doing a lot of work in the 12 volt space (predominantly what the land mobile radio architecture supports). In the last 10 years it has been a rapid growth segment for us. And, as you know, there has been a lot of funding going into providing that type of broadband to underserved, or unserved areas across the United States and even Canada as well.
We have been fortunate enough to have products that have been well received in that market and we have been growing fairly well in that space.
Jeff: Do you think driving factors could have emerged from LTE or CBRS? A lot of those systems came from DC, do you think that could have been a driver in the growth?
Blair: Yea, I think what we have seen was a bit of a metamorphosis over the last 10 years or so. These wireless internet service providers are almost approaching a carrier grade type supplier. The requirement for high-speed internet has become an essential service over the last few years. It is just required. It is now important for everyone to have access to that type of broadband. Particularly through Covid; everyone had to work from home, or a hybrid work model, remote healthcare, remote education.
The wireless internet service providers really stepped up and realized that to have a dedicated DC Power solution for their network is really required now. The expectations from their customers are a lot higher than they were 10 years ago. I think anyone in a rural setting 10 years ago was just happy to have some kind of internet service and if it went out they just dealt with those, it was the normal. Now, I don't think you could really get away with that. You really need to have access to high-speed internet 24/7 365. The way to do that is to make sure your network supports that, and it is harder in every way and that includes DC Power Solutions.
Jeff: I know we will get more into this as the series goes forward, but your solutions all offer the options of redundancy and remote management, correct?
Blair: Yes they do. That has been a big driver for our success really because of the nature of these installations. Particularly as we are talking about rural areas, by their very nature they are remotely located and difficult to get to. Being able to remotely access the power conditions at your site, or more importantly control certain aspects of your network can enable you to resolve issues potentially. You can do it remotely and quickly and if you have any issues with your network you can get that up and running much more quickly than it takes to send a technician the 3-4 hours in a truck to go out there to see what the issue is.
Jeff: We have seen a lot of carriers and service providers who have been investing a lot of time and energy into fiber solutions, not just wireless but wireline, infrastructure. Have you seen the shift, or are you providing a lot of solutions for the fiber providers as well?
Blair: That is a great question. Traditionally we have been dealing with wireless internet service providers and they are starting to do a bit of a shift .. or atleast go to hybrid approaches in some cases. Some of their networks are actually more fiber-based as well with the fixed wireless on the edge of the network. We are seeing a lot of the WISPS go with the hybrid approach. We have built a pretty good relationship working with these types of customers so they are coming to us for solutions to power up the fiber side as well, which we have been able to do. Different devices provide quite different amounts of power, the concept is the same with a dedicated DC solution for power of that type of equipment.
Jeff. Thank you for that. With this being the introduction video I just want to say that we are super excited to partner with ICT and be able to supply their gear. DoubleRadius is stocking the product, it is on the shelf, and over the next few series that are going to be released you will learn more about their products. Reach out to your rep, we have questionnaires for you to fill out to make sure we size you correctly - ICT has a great form to fill out that will give you clear answers on what you are looking for, what you need, and make sure everything is sized right, priced right, and going to work right the first time. Blair, any closing remarks?
Blair: Yea, I would just like to echo what you said, we have a great team in DoubleRadius. We also have an internal team at ICE who are really supportive in the consultation of selling and being able to provide the appropriate DC power solution based on the customers' needs. Sometimes DC is new to these customers so they are looking for our guidance in these areas. Between ICT and DoubleRadius we are able to provide that.
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