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BICSI and the ROI factor

Keeping current in order to help others make informed decisions about ITS requirements is a necessary element of the profession.


November 1, 2007  


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A question I was asked recently reminded me that it is an ongoing challenge to explain how and why BICSI expertise offers good return on investment (ROI).

The challenge that confronts many of us involved with the organization is coming up with an immediate and understandable response to the question: “What does a BICSI member or BICSI-credentialed professional offer me–the employer?”

The dilemma begins with the term “ITS industry,” which causes many people to glaze over because information transport systems is unfamiliar to them.

During BICSI’s recent 2007 Fall Conference in Las Vegas, I heard an analogy that went something like this: “I find it helpful to explain the ITS industry by comparing it to other familiar trade designations like plumbers whose trade deals with flow and control of fluids, or electricians who traditionally deal with flow and control of electrons.”

The ITS trade deals with the control and flow of electrons on copper, light energy on fiber as well as radiated energy through the air to wireless devices.

Information transport simply moves a myriad of signals for different technologies, which improves quality of life and business profitability in safe and secure ways.

No matter whom they work for, ITS professionals deal with evolving technologies, media types or physical infrastructure. ITS components are active and passive, and signals are both visible and invisible.

Today’s ITS designers and technicians must keep current with technologies. Both the building materials used to construct buildings and the technologies used to communicate within buildings have increasing challenges affecting ITS performance.

Keeping current with information so we can help others make informed decisions about ITS requirements is a necessary element of the profession.

ITS expertise is brought to projects by BICSI’s Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD).

BICSI-credentialed expertise confirms that the person has successfully passed a proctored exam based on current codes, standards and industry best practices information, much of which has been authored by industry subject matter experts.

Accreditations are enhanced through continuing education requirements specific to the credential, which has a two or three-year expiration cycle depending on the specialty.

From concept and design using highly advanced CAD systems to the wireless communications used during demolition of buildings, every aspect of a building’s lifecycle is impacted by information transport.

Perhaps too many of us are focused on or limited by our view of today’s systems and technologies. After all, there are only so many devices out there that can communicate with each other, right?

During the Fall Conference, Herbert Congdon II, global program manager for AMP Netconnect Systems at Tyco Electronics, gave a presentation on “The Growing Value of Cabling Systems.” Herb identified that version 6 of Internet Protocol (IPv6) uses 128-bit addresses for IP devices, that’s 2-128th.

This offers more than 340 undecillion possible addresses without duplication!

Another conference presentation spoke about “green” data centres. IP addressable devices are not used to mechanically heat or cool space and equipment, but manage power consumption of active equipment that is processing or storing those 1’s and 0’s routing to and from all those IP addresses.

These devices are able to monitor and manage powered ITS equipment loads, power- alarms and control and prioritized ITS equipment shutdowns related to circuit overloads.

BICSI currently has 17,000 members holding 8,000 ITS accreditations working in 129 countries around the world.

Within Canada, we have 825 members holding 475 BICSI ITS accreditations. We work in every province and are involved in projects from St John’s to Vancouver Island.

It all comes down to the fact that current and evolving technologies are far more sensitive to interference than we ever thought possible just a few years ago.

If your business or area of responsibility is involved with or dependent on the transmission of 1’s and 0’s, how do you know that what you are installing or having installed is going to do what you, your company or your customer is going to demand of it? What liability do you have related to its performance?

What is the cost of not having BICSI-accredited expertise on staff or working on your projects?

Richard Smith is the Canadian Region Director of BICSI and the manager of Aliant Cabling Solutions in Moncton, N.B. He can be reached at rsmith@bicsi.org.