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Look Twice Before Diversifying into Telephony

Fortnightly Magazine - March 1 1995

will be served by installing packet radios to span the distance between the utility's network and the desired locations. Finally, some companies may want a turnkey installation where the utility plans and installs a network that will be completely operated and managed by the client company.

The most obvious applications for packet radio networks will require bursty data transmissions where wire-based services are not readily available. Target applications might include

portable computers/ personal digital assistants for field workers, demand-side management and distribution-automation programs for other utilities, automatic meter-reading, remote facility monitoring, and alarm monitoring. However, while these applications may be appropriate from a technical perspective, the utility must align this service with the company's overall strategy (em that is, to support a sustainable competitive advantage. In the end, the success of any new telecommunications offering will depend on select- ing the appropriate technology

to fit the company's corporate strategy. t

Larry Stein is a senior associate with Theodore Barry & Associates, a management consulting firm that specializes in the energy and telecommunications industries. Mr. Stein works in the firm's telecommunications practice and has extensive experience with the regional Bell operating companies.

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