SPECIAL REPORT; Testing reinvents itself.(test and measurement equipment vendors at Supercomm '99)(Industry Trend or Event)

For the testing sector, Supercomm '99 was as much about introducing new strategies as it was about unveiling new products. In a growing effort to become all things to all carriers, several test and measurement vendors announced moves that either partnered them with another key player or positioned them as catchall equipment and service providers.

Not to be overshadowed, those companies that didn't announce a major strategy shift did roll out a bevy of new and enhanced equipment that addressed portable, flexible and high-bandwidth testing needs. Again, the emphasis was on scalable product configuration and Windows-based user interfaces for ease of use.

The all-in-one supplier

TTC was one vendor that emphasized a new companywide strategy by creating the Performance Optimization Group. With the launch of this new division, which initially will include 100 dedicated staffers, TTC hopes to position itself as a consultant and an equipment supplier.

The group ties together all of TTC's core competencies, said Larry Albertson, vice president of the new division. Instead of just providing the right tools, he characterized the optimization approach as "lifting the hood up, rolling up the sleeves and fixing stuff."

TTC's aim is to optimize its offerings from a marketing and customer-service standpoint, he said. Part of this involves the formation of partnerships with its carrier customers in order to provide ongoing support and ensure long-term satisfaction. "To the customers that we are already actively engaged with, this is nothing different," Albertson said.

The company rounded out its announcements with the TPI 350+DSL analyzer and a dense wave division multiplexing (DWDM) add-on for its T-BERD 310 communications analyzer.

Tektronix stepped up its commitment to ensuring quality of service. "We want to become a solutions provider in that it helps [our customers'] business," said Chris Loberg, business development manager for Tektronix's measurement business division. …

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