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Time to restock the cupboards

The challenge in the ITS industry today is that in the next few years, a lot of older ITS professionals will be retiring.


November 1, 2009  


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Most information transport systems (ITS) infrastructure professionals I know concern themselves with quality of service (QoS) because today’s work successes breed tomorrow’s work opportunities.

Ensuring that your technicians are keeping pace with technical change related to the infrastructure they have responsibility for is an important factor impacting QoS.

The challenge in the ITS industry today is that in the next few years, a lot of older ITS professionals will be retiring.

There is increasing concern and focus on educating young people, which starts at helping them to be aware that there are very interesting careers to be had in the ITS industry.

The second challenge is having an education system to accommodate this area of interest, which supports the initial and the ongoing training needs credentialed professionals require going forward.

BICSI is working with a lot of technical schools across Canada to address the pending demand. BICSI also plays an important role in keeping professionals trained and aware of technological advances, impacting installations and, ultimately, QoS of ITS networks.

From a Canadian perspective, looking back at 2009, it hosted many events focused on several aspects of ITS education.

Individuals interested in a career in ITS have access to education on a continuously updated basis from BICSI in its efforts as a manufacturer independent, vendor neutral ITS standards and codesfocused entity.

Demand for BICSI Region Meetings, which are educationfocused, has never been stronger. While anyone is welcome at BICSI events, members simply enjoy a higher ROI.

Based on my observations, I predict an increasing number of ITS professionals will become BICSI members, due to the low cost and high return on membership investment. Working ITS professionals and others, including students and faculty at technical institutions, attend region meetings, many of whom will become the next generation of the industry. Increasing participation and interest is encouraging because it is needed to meet the educational demand, indicated by increasing requests for BICSI technical training and BICSI credentialed resources that come from all areas of the country.

The total number of people participating in Canadian Region Meetings offering technical training and manufacturer/supplier updates was never higher than during 2009.

Not only did the headcount at individual meetings skyrocket, but the number of meetings held increased, as well. Calgary, Saskatoon, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and Moncton all saw BICSI Region Meetings this year.

There were also three other major BICSI conferences in North America, all of which garnered an impressive turnout.

Considering the current state of the economy I believe this information is a testament to what BICSI is a nonprofit association focused on ITS infrastructure.

The organization has a busy schedule planned for Canada in 2010. I am still receiving requests, at the time of writing, from members who want to schedule Region Meetings in a number of cities. In addition, BICSI will be hosting a major conference in Montreal from May 25.

Anyone with an interest in ITS is welcome to participate in any and all BICSI events.

During the Fall Conference in September, I spoke with an individual who made an observation related to his decision to attend the conference. He concluded it was important to his business that some of his employees attend because others in attendance would be the best in the ITS infrastructure industry today, filtered out as “economic survivors.”

From attendee to exhibitor, he felt there was an opportunity to do business with others whose businesses were healthy and growing. I believe the same factors are in play and the Winter Conference (January 1721, 2010 in Orlando, Fla.) will offer the same potential the Fall Conference offered.

From a Canadian cost perspective, the strength of the Canadian dollar offers a cheaper and/or more affordable business trip to the conference in Orlando than years past.

If your career or business is interested in learning more about what is important in the ITS industry, BICSI has a number of manuals, on which our globally recognized accreditations are based.

Visit www.bicsi.org/publications to learn more about these educational documents that focus on both the design and installation aspects of the industry. And, as always, for more information about BICSI, please visit www.bicsi.org or contact me via email.

Richard Smith, RCDD, NTS, OSP, 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.