In the UK, 70 per cent of the top 100 companies use an Integrated Services Digital eXchange (iSDX) business communications system. It is technology that GPT Ltd is now bringing to China through its joint venture, the Shanghai International Digital Telephone Company (SIDTEC).
Plans are in place for the complete manufacture of 1SDX in China by 1994. SIDTEC, in which GPT has a 44 per cent share, is one of six major manufacturers with technology transfer agreements in China for the .manufacture of PABXs. The major competitors in the market all use foreign technology, either as a simple technology transfer or in the form of a joint venture.
Together with GPT Australia and Plessey Tellumat of South Africa, SIDTEC is the third overseas manufacturing centre for the iSDX, a system which is now sold directly in 25 countries. More than three-million extension lines and 12,000 systems have been sold world-wide.
The four-year technology transfer between Nottingham-based GPT Business Systems Group (BSG) and SIDTEC is now in the final phase ? and running to schedule. In 1990, 30,000 lines of iSDX were assembled at the Shanghai Factory 500 plant. In 1992, output was up to 75,000 lines and will rise to 100,000 lines by the beginning of 1994 when full manufacture is undertaken in China from completely-knocked-down (CKD) components.
High-tech assembly lines for the manufacture of the three most frequently used printed wire assembly (PWA) boards in the iSDX are up and running. During 1992, another
27 board types were made in Shanghai from machinery sourced and shipped from Nottingham, in the UK.
This year, the factory hopes to have its computer boards assembled locally. SIDTEC's total equipment requirement includes test equipment for evaluating both PWA functionality and the total iSDX systems test. In addition, statistical process control ? a diagnostic and problem-solving technique has been implemented, modelled on the
system in operation at the company's Beeston plant in Nottingham.
The technology transfer has been facilitated by an ongoing training programme with SIDTEC engineers seconded to the Beeston site. Likewise, BSG engineers have been to Shanghai, initially to help organise the factory layout and subsequently, to get PWA production off the ground and put in place test systems and procedures for PWAs and complete iSDXs.
New iSDX developments such as enhanced automatic call distribution ? a system of directing calls via a PABX ? network management and iSDX-Micro, the new entry-level product to the iSDX range, will be available through SIDTEC. Already, strong interest has been shown in the Cordless iSDX which is due to be launched in the UK this year.
"We have had approaches from large organisations, particularly the coal mining sector, which has a special need for cordlessness because its workforce is mobile. The Beijing Daily newspaper, which is having a 1000-extension iSDX system installed, is interested in cordless telephony as a means of linking journalists and office staff located in separate offices," said Mr. Ricks, SIDTEC general manager.
"Although the concept is new, the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications (MPT) is aware of CT2 as an adjunct to the public network. The MPT is looking very closely at Hong Kong where GPT customer, Chevalier, ~ operating a Telepoint service.
"Employers devote anything from ten to 50 per cent of their telecommunication resources to keeping in touch with employees. The Cordless iSDX would en-able employees to be contacted, whether at home or in the office," says Ricks.
Since 1989, SIDTEC has installed switches in more than 30 provincial government administrations. Hubei province, for example, operates a 5,300-line DPNSS network and other administrations operating single systems are likely to upgrade to full DPNSS networks in the future. Wenling is one of some 15 regional PTTs to have ordered iSDX to satisfy their rapidly growing demands for telephone lines.
Owing to the rapid expansion of the Chinese public switched telecommunications network, there is currently a very large demand for stored program con-trolled telephone exchanges, both in the cities and in rural areas. About one-million lines of public digital switching are being installed yearly and digital private switching is expanding rapidly in the provincial centres.
Many large state-owned enterprises which are still using crossbar-exchanges have a need for large PABXs to tackle their growing communications requirements. The demand for networking capabilities, data transmission, integrated services and large single systems as well as networks can be satisfied by iSDX.
iSDX sales are now approaching 200,000 lines. Major customers include the Ministry of Railways which operates the largest private network in China. The backbone of this network is the GPT System X public exchange and 38 iSDX systems are linked into the network reaching from Tibet to Guangzhou.
System X is used on major sites where large numbers of lines are required. iSDX is used mainly for special services such as data and fax and on smaller sites where fewer lines are specified. In 1992, there were plans to add another 15 iSDXs to the network.
One major iSDX customer is the Changchun No 1 Automobile Factory. The initial contract was for a 5,000 lines iSDX system as well as a 192-line system for the factory's gatehouse. Two further iSDX orders have been placed for delivery in March making Changchun the first 10,000 line iSDX system in China.
On the technical front, an important milestone for SIDTEC was the development of an interface with the China No 1 signalling system into the public net-work. The adapted iSDX now accommodates all signalling systems approved by the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications.
"The Chinese market has been quick to recognise the quality and reliability of the iSDX, says Ricks. "As we enter the final phase of the technology transfer, we feel that we are well positioned to improve its market share in China." *