I noticed during my 30 years at WILTRON a most interesting evolution
occurring in telecommunication companies. In the 1960s it was a popular
concept that all you needed in order to start up a successful company
was a new black box. For example, in our field we started
out with a swept frequency oscillatorto be a success it needed
only a greater frequency range, a higher power output, or a solid
state source with a more pure signal. All we had to do was produce
this new black box reliably and customers would buy it.
They would engineer it into their test systems and we were in business.
A large number of companies, as well as our own, were started this
way, essentially as component producers.
But by the 1990s this concept no longer applied in our telecommunications
industry. There was not nearly so much need for extra performance
(a lot of complex instruments had been realized by that time on a
simple chip!) as there was the need for offering a package solution
to the usera solution that completely took care of the application.
The telephone companies needed to test their telephone lines on a
grand scale; but they were not looking for just a better oscillator
to better simulate a voice in testing their telephone lines. What
they needed in the 1990s was an integrated test station, built into
their telephone office and integrated into all their outlying stations.
Fortunately, WILTRON was able to develop into a company that supplied
solutions. If we hadnt, we wouldnt still be around.
It took WILTRON ten years to crack into the telephone company market.
That shouldnt really be surprising. Telephone offices are complex
networks of elements that all have to work together, using common
grounds, common power supplies and standardized hardware. A telephone
company thinks twice (or maybe three or four times) before letting
some outsider build an integrated test system into its office, into
its cabinetry. Telephones have to be reliable, noise free, be able
to handle digital codes; no outsider can be permitted to compromise
the performance. So ten years is not an unreasonable amount of time.