Category Archives: Technology Consulting

Cut through the Confusion with our new NYS K12 Technology Planning Resources web page

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If you’re confused by all the technology planning required by your New York State K12 School District, you’re not alone. If keeping track of ever-changing technology systems wasn’t enough, NYS school districts are confronted by additional challenges for technology planning including that needed to apply for the district’s Smart Schools Bond Act allocation.

Archi-Technology, an independent technology consulting firm, is helping more than a dozen NYS school districts cut through the clutter to develop Comprehensive Technology Plans, Instructional Technology Plans, and Smart Schools Investment Plans that take a holistic, integrated approach towards goals, gaps and funding sources.

Over the past year, we have developed a number of educational pieces and enablement tools to help our K12 district clients grasp key technical concepts and approach the planning process with efficiency and collaboration. These include:

  • Infographics that convey key concepts relating to technology systems within a district with an emphasis on the “hidden” technology infrastructure you don’t see that is responsible for moving data within and between buildings.
  • Enablement tools including technology meeting checklists and SSIP timelines and sample calendars.

This material is available to your district on our new NYS K12 Technology Planning webpage at no charge and with no required registration.

We hope you find the information helpful and welcome the opportunity to discuss your district’s technology planning challenges.

In the News: Comprehensive Technology Plan presented to Central Valley School Board

cvcsd-logo-lgOur thanks to the Times Telegram of Herkimer (NY) for their news coverage of Archi-Technology’s presentation of Central Valley School District’s Comprehensive Technology Plan to the Board of Education on Oct. 20.

Read the article, then visit our website for more information about our Comprehensive Technology Plans for NYS K12 School District.

Wireless Infrastructure Systems

Elmhurst (Ill.) Memorial Healthcare telecommunication rooms house switches and equipment that deliver Ethernet-based applications throughout the hospital. Image courtesy of Panduit

This article from Health Facilities Management was recently shared with me and while it’s focus is on Healthcare Facilities, it’s strategic perspective on the value of a Cable Infrastructure is applicable to all facilities.

Over the past 20 years we have seen first hand how strategically and proactively designed spaces, pathways and cabling systems can help organizations establish an effective foundation on which they can reliably support the variety of systems that now require IP connections.

In recent years, we have been working with a number of school districts throughout New York State as they establish just such a foundation to facilitate the delivery of education using 21st century hardware and software.

http://www.hfmmagazine.com/articles/2374-wireless-infrastructure-systems

 

NYS K12 Schools in need of Comprehensive Technology Plans (CTPs)

Like just about every other facet of contemporary life, technology has woven itself into the fabric of today’s New York State public school districts from instruction and courseware to daily operations including safety and security.

As such, we must recognize the need for a more strategic approach to the design and implementation of technology systems and related infrastructure in today’s K12 educational facilities.

Failure to do so will result in wasted resources and disappointing attempts to integrate technology into modern day classes and curriculum.

One primary issue of concern is the lack of understanding regarding the “infrastructure” needed to reliably support technology. Without a sound and robust underlying infrastructure of structured cabling, pathways and spaces, attempts to incorporate technology into today’s schools  are destined for failure. This is as applicable to design teams that simply throw some cables and conduits on a drawing and call it a “technology design” as it is to service providers that “upgrade” the network without first considering the necessary supporting infrastructure.

The issue is based on poor communications, not bad intentions; the IT and Construction/Facilities industries speak different languages.

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This graphic shows the relationship between a K12 School District’s Comprehensive Technology Plan (top), supporting material such as ITPs and Technology Conditions Surveys (middle), and resultant Funding-specific plans (bottom).

An important step towards a solution is to develop a Comprehensive Technology Plan (CTP) that takes a holistic view of how to bridge the gap between the district’s current technology conditions and its longer range goals. Some of the items that need to be addressed in a CTP include:

  • All district planning activities including Instructional Technology Plans (ITPs), mission statement and goals, BOCES contracts, and capital projects.
  • Instructional (student computing devices, whiteboards, projectors) and non-instructional (security, data communications, PA, etc.) technology systems.
  • Cable plant and network infrastructure needs to support today’s technology systems.
  • Funding Sources over a 10 year timeframe.
  • Technology refresh rates and related budgets.
  • Professional development of the teachers who will use the technology in the classroom and the IT staff supporting it.
  • Actions Plans by both academic year and district goal.

The graphic above shows the relationship between a district’s CTP and related elements including ITPs, Technology Conditions Surveys, and Funding plans.

Has your district developed a Comprehensive Technology Plan?

If so, please share your comments and experience. If not, here are some resources that might help you get started.

Keeping Rochester Moving At The New Downtown RTS Transit Center

Greater Rochester has welcomed the recent opening of the downtown RTS Transit Center with open arms after more than two decades of discussion, planning and construction. RTS-TransitCenter-hzl I was privileged to be Archi-Technology‘s Project Manager for our scope of work on the Transit Center which included strategic planning, systems design assistance and acting as the equivalent of a “Technology” Clerk of Works for select technology-based infrastructure, systems and components. Like any project, this one was not without its challenges including the need for systems’ redundancy and resiliency: with an estimated 20,000 riders per day using your AV and communications systems to get from Points A to B, it was our job to ensure operational integrity of these systems based on strategic planning and unique project requirements. I especially enjoyed working with so many dedicated people in varied disciplines who all had the end goal in sight throughout every step of this complex project. If you haven’t had a chance to see the new Transit Center in person, you owe yourself a visit to see how tranLukePoandlsformative it is for downtown Rochester, along with a host of other significant capital projects.

— Luke Poandl, K-12 Practice Group Leader and Project Manager

Preserving History While Creating A Future On Higher Ed Campuses

Effectively Integrating Technology Within Distinct College Cultures

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When it comes to technology infrastructure and the Communications, Life Safety and Automation (CLA) systems it connects, few settings match the complexity and challenges of today’s wired college campus. With dozens of buildings of all ages and with different functions spread across miles of geography, the cohesive connection of the discrete systems within a facility and to each other is a daunting task at best.

That’s exactly what I like about my role at Archi-Technology as a Project Manager where I’ve worked with literally hundreds of colleagues to help develop technology infrastructure that’s smart, scalable and performs to spec from day one. I’m fortunate to have spent most of my professional career on higher ed campuses and have learned about organizational structures  that can be as complex as any of the systems that we design.  Yet for all is complexity, I have found the higher ed market to be a place where “everybody knows your name.” Relationships are long term and you have time to really get to know the client’s needs.

Another favorite part of my job is exploring turn-of-the-century buildings—or even older—and finding places that have gone unseen for decades; kind of like Indiana Jones but I’m searching for hidden cable pathways instead of ancient relics. In the age of wireless, people forget just how many miles of fiber and cable needs to be behind the scenes to support WiFi access. Given the historic nature of many college buildings, higher ed campuses regularly offer this type of opportunity.

As Archi-Technology’s new Higher Education Practice Group manager, I’ll be blogging on different aspects of technology’s impact on colleges and universities, paying special attention to the network-hardened infrastructure that needs to be in place to keep all those  1s and 0s moving in the right direction.

JoeBlaszI welcome your feedback, opinions and insights, and look forward to hearing from you in the future.

— Joe Blasz, Higher Education Practice Group Leader, Project Manager and RCDD

New K-12 Technology Building Conditions Surveys

Get An Objective Look At Your Districts’ Technology Infrastructure for Smart Schools Planning

TBCS-intro-300x200To help New York State school districts objectively assess their current technology infrastructure and related systems, Archi-Technology LLC, a Rochester-based independent technology consulting firm, introduced its Technology Building Condition Survey (TBCS) service for the K-12 education market.

Officially announced at last month’s New York State School Facilities Organization’s (SBGA) Annual Conference, the service precedes the Smart Schools Bond Act of 2014 that will appear on the November 4 ballot. If passed, the State will borrow $2 billion to invest in K-12 school districts for major technology systems upgrades — including student wireless devices.

Learn more…