For the final round table of the 2013 SubOptic Conference, the future of the industry is being considered.  Large and small members of the industry are represented, to get a real view at what members of the industry look for in the future.  The moderator is Jean Devos, of AQEST.  Partcipants are David Coughlan, of TE Subcom, Herve Fevrier, of Xtera, Nigel Bayliff, of Huawei Marine Networks, Phillipe Dumont, of Alcatel-Lucent, Tim King, of Level 3, and Simon Cooper, of Next DC.

Devos Asks: “Do you see the possibility of cooperation?”

“The rosy sunglasses of looking back in the past… is tainting our view a little bit,” says Simon Cooper.  But he adds that a huge amount has been achieved, despite problems,” Cooper says.

“Whilst clearly we are becoming more dependent on global infrastructure… global capacity is changing from its original root.”

“As an industry, we've lost a lot of our marine specialties.” King says.

The topic moved to reliability between vendor and buyer.

“”If you fail in the reliability of the wet plant, you're going to pay for it,” says Dumont.

Cooper makes the point that they spend the most on infrastructure, and everything else is at the cost of the client.  “There's quite a lot of people out there willing to invest in a guaranteed 6 percent return after 25 years.”

The procurement process is the next topic on the list.

Dumont responds that he's very happy.  He feels they have an excellent relationship with providers.

Coughlan, on the other hand, believes that effect procurement is dependent on the process.  “There are some out there that can run a consortium process beautifully, and some that can't.”  Some processes work great for some groups and other don't.

The point is made a few times that owners use BAFO regularly in procurement now.

Said to newer companies, “It's not easy to enter.”

“We've completed eight systems and another four under work at the moment… I think the industry is very conservative about Innovation,” Bayliff says.  “As a new entrant, we only have our engeneering reliability checking to show people… because we don't have 20 years of production.”  Still he says that it is possible to break into this market.  “We're not expecting to sell 10 systems next week, we're here for the long game.”

Devos asks “How many suppliers can the market afford?

“If there's one guy doing everything, they tend to get complacent,” says Coughlan.  “Competition is good.”

“I don't think buying a system dark is a good idea.” says Coughlan.  “You don't want another supplier to be responsible for your system.”

“We spend a heck of a lot more on the survey, to build a system, than the service,” Coughlan says.


“The cost of fuel is not going down, the cost of copper is not going down,” says Coughlan.  The cost of doing business is not going down.