On December 13, 2002, we sent a questionnaire to 75 companies that provide products and services in this field, with a response deadline of January 11th. We used e-mail rather than the USPS so that we would have feedback that all the questionnaires were received. On January 3, 2003, we sent a follow-up reminder, with a deadline extension to January 15th, by the alternate method of fax. Once again, this provided feedback that the faxes were received. 43 companies responded to the survey and their answers are shown in the following tables. The response was 57 percent, which is extremely good for any survey and should provide archival information for our readers.
There is clearly a large overlap of similar products being produced by even the 43 companies that responded. On the face of it, it would appear that the market is over-saturated to the point that there must be some fallout. However, careful examination of the information shows that virtually all of the companies have at least one unique, proprietary or patented product that addresses some niche market as well as customized products to meet specific requirements. These special products and services seem to be the principal support of the diversity of suppliers. In addition, some companies specialize in different markets such as Hi-Rel, military and base stations as opposed to low cost commercial and consumer. There are also suppliers who specialize in computer back-planes and related PCB products that are only available from a limited number of companies. Thus, in reality, the overlap is not as great as it seems.
As a sign of the times, every manufacturer provided an address for its Web site. Most of these sites contain either full catalog information or selected data sheets. We have also provided phone and e-mail points of contact for each company.
I would like to thank the many people who responded to our request for information. Because of limited space, we were not able to use some of the detailed information that was sent in addition to the specific survey answers; however, we were able to use some of that information to expand on the brief answers to the questions. The data is presented in table format on the following pages. I hope that the 32 companies that did not respond will participate in future updates. I would ask that the sales managers of those companies look within their own organizations before they send a "why weren't we included?" letter.
Readers are encouraged to use the Web information and contact points to gain additional insight on the products, services and capabilities of a company of interest.