Belden connects the whole world

Kelly Dawson
May 9, 2018
7 min read
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There are more than 250 companies in our combined portfolios, and they are all making amazing advancements. From names you know, like Tesla, to those little gems you haven’t heard of yet, like Xylem, we want you to know all about what your holdings are up to. These ‘deep dives’ will help you understand what you’re invested into and how your dollars are making the world a better place.

Belden is part of our Green Technology portfolio.

  • Belden designs, manufactures, sells, and installs everything behind reliable communication signal technology
  • Belden reported a record annual revenue of about $2.4 billion
  • It began as a small cable business long before becoming a global force leading the research, development, and implementation of internet services

Be honest: How much time do you actually spend on your phone every day? The vast majority of us refresh apps regularly, sometimes as soon as we wake up, clinging to these mobile screens for their ease of entertainment and information. In fact, a recent report from Pew Research Center found that 77 percent of Americans are online daily, and 26 percent of those people admit to being online continuously.

It’s true that we’re a society that craves this type of connection. It’s the reason why we Google almost everything at the drop of a hat. It’s why we share our every thought and photograph our every move. Connection has taught us to curate, to explore, to learn, to speak out. And while there are plenty of downsides to this indelible part to modern life, most of us couldn’t imagine unplugging our worlds. That’s why Belden works so hard to keep the connection going.

Belden began more than a century ago, so it got its start long before even dial-up was considered cutting edge. It’s because of its early beginning and progressive growth alongside major societal advances that Belden has been able to distinguish itself as a reliable source for communication and networking technologies. It currently designs, manufactures, sells, and installs everything behind a reliable signal for large facets of daily life. From private residences to public transportation, to local hospitals and global corporations, Belden is behind some of the most necessary functions of broadcast, industrial, and enterprise markets. And it does all of this throughout much of the world.

Last year, Belden reported a record annual revenue of about $2.4 billion, and it is continuing to seek out underserved communities while safeguarding those who are already part of this growing network. Since it seems like everyone wants to be plugged in, Belden is sure to continue to build on its legacy.

Plug it in, plug it in

In 2004, three years before the iPhone debuted, Belden merged with Cable Design Technologies Corporation to make it into the inclusive connection company it is today. But long before its universal compression connectors and other innovative gadgets revolutionized its catalog, Belden was a simple cable and wire company on Michigan Street in Chicago.

The namesake founder, Joseph C. Belden, opened his business in 1902 and saw his first win with flexible, insulated wires. Figuring out ways to protect, lengthen, and reinforce cabling was the backbone of the company’s success for much of the century, and its growth was especially apparent during and immediately after World War II. During those years, Belden’s early manufacturing plant in Richmond, Indiana expanded to more than 700,000 square feet, making it a staple of the company for more than seven decades. The war years gave the company the chance to profit from cables used in combat: Tanks, ships, mobile radios, submarines, and more all needed this type of machinery to stay connected. And when that chapter of history closed, Belden built on its momentum by figuring out ways to continually improve its products for civilians. For the midcentury, that meant incorporating plastics into its array of products — and Belden was one of the first to do so. The years leading to the end of the century saw many mergers, and a move to its current headquarters in St. Louis, Missouri.

Belden’s relatively recent merger with Cable Design Technologies Corporation turned it into a modern brand. It steadily built a networking portfolio that included operations in industrial automation, hardware and software for broadcasting, and the like. Suffice it to say that a flurry of acquisitions allowed the company to eventually reorganize its business around four key connectivity solutions, which it announced in 2013: IT, industrial, enterprise, and broadcast. In simpler terms, Belden now had the background, mission, and tools to bring any sort of entity into 21st-century life.

As an overview, its broadcast services includes items like cameras and monitors, while its industrial solutions feature things like networking cables and distribution boxes. Enterprise solutions is the umbrella term for products like copper and fiber connectors, and network solutions cover stuff like firewalls and routers. Belden’s catalog can be customized to every company it serves, from larger community networks like water services and street lights to small business and individual residences looking for strong internet connections. It has teams who can install these items for customers, and it also has videos on how to install things yourself.

Belden’s biggest accomplishment has been its ability to adapt to its surroundings while also being one step ahead of the game. From its origins as a small cable business long before they were ubiquitous, to becoming a global company leading the research, development, and implementation of internet services, Belden’s foresight and flexibility has allowed it to thrive in an ever-evolving field. And as the world continues to depend on these digital connections, Belden is working to meet that demand now and in the future.

Hit refresh

Belden has had an impact on almost every continent, wherever internet connection is needed. As we’ve previously mentioned, it’s worked with businesses in automation, infrastructure, security, and broadcasting, solving pretty much any connectivity issue that may arise.

Belden understands the ways in which the world communicates, and because of that, it is also aware of the issues involved in this type of connection. Its strategic plan for the rest of the year and in the future is how to protect its services from these data risks, and how to reach those who still want into to the internet’s many benefits. This includes ongoing partnerships in underserved areas, continuous research into product development, and reinforcements of what is already built and relied upon.

As the CEO John Stroup said in his annual report, “We have a strong track record of significant transformation and improvement, and importantly, we see many opportunities for further impressive gains.” For now, the company will continue to help us plug into a world where we’ve grown so accustomed, promoting the sharing of information that bolsters individuals and the communities they’re in.

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