SVG Sit-Down: Wesco’s Chris Gazdic on the Future of Fiber

At College Sports Summit, the company will feature hybrid and tactical fiber products

When it comes to industry powerhouses, there are the usual suspects, and there are companies like Wesco. Founded in 1922, the company has more than 9,000 employees and most recently reported revenue of $7.3 billion. Granted, the vast majority of that revenue had little to do with the video-production and facility business, but it points to a solid financial bedrock that can make the company a valuable partner for years to come. Wesco’s Christopher Gazdic, director of product management, broadcast, recently spoke with SVG about the company’s wide range of offerings and plans for the College Sports Summit in Atlanta next week.

Christopher Gazdic: “We are definitely seeing a huge shift away from large multichannel snakes in audio and video to media converters over category cable or fiber.”

You will have a presence at our College Sports Summit this year. What kind of technologies will you be discussing at your booth?
Wesco Broadcast and Entertainment will be displaying everything you need from camera to truck with all our SMPTE hybrid fiber and tactical fiber products. We partnered with Lemo, Gepco, OCC, ADC/Commscope, and Canare to provide a wide offering of products that include junction boxes, distribution panels, and patch panels.

Wesco offers technologies that could be of use in sports production, and, in many respects, they are from vendors not typically in the video business. Where do you see Wesco fitting in with respect to buildouts of new broadcast-production facilities, venues, stadiums, etc.?
Wesco Broadcast provides all the products to go from the camera, through the stadium, to the truck. Most [broadcasters] don’t think about their wire and cable needs until the very end of their project, and we are here to provide unique solutions to fit their application and be in a position to respond in an efficient manner and have the product in stock. SMPTE hybrid fiber and tactical fiber products will be our highlight, but we also provide coax, analog, and digital audio cable, network, and bulk fiber products as well.

One of the great things about being where you are in the business is that you can see many of the macro trends in terms of where technologies are heading and what your customers are looking for. How are you seeing demand for certain types of products evolve as the industry moves to next-generation technologies like IP delivery and fiber?
Fiber, fiber, fiber! We are definitely seeing a huge shift away from large multichannel snakes in audio and video to media converters over category cable or fiber for longer distances and higher bandwidth. We have positioned ourselves to be ready for this shift towards fiber to support 4K and 8K needs, but we also have stock on the legacy copper products that some still utilize for their application: triax, for example.

Given all the change ahead, what do you see as some of your market advantages vs. competitors? What does the Wesco team bring to the table?
Wesco Broadcast brings a strong distribution model that others can’t compete against, with a strong inventory position to reduce lead times to the end user. We have grown our line card to support all the needs the industry needs, and it is still growing. Having in-house assembly capabilities for fiber termination, copper assemblies, panel fabrication, project kitting and project staging makes our position even stronger. We offer a consigned inventory system with our integrators to keep inventory secure in their location to make point-of-use transactions even easier and faster. We also work with our channel partners within Wesco Distribution to provide a complete solution from low-voltage data needs to high-voltage needs as well.

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