Tag Archives: Technology Consultancy

Planning to Succeed for K12 Technology

AT-b-ComprehensiveTechPlanAs summer begins to wane, the team at Archi-Technology is busier than ever working with a number of upstate NYS School Districts and their Architects. Many of these activities are related to conducting Technology Conditions Surveys (TCS) that assess a District’s technology systems, much like a Building Conditions Survey that looks at traditional architectural and MEP systems.

A TCS is, of course, a precursor to the far larger objective of developing a District’s Comprehensive Technology Plan that starts with the findings of the Technology Assessment and ends with the District’s objectives and goals. In between those two points there are a variety of other District-wide planning activities that will provide critical input for development of the Comprehensive Tech Plan. These other planning activities include:

  • 5-Year Capital Plan
  • Instructional Technology Plan
  • Smart School Investment Plan (SSIP)
  • Professional Development Initiatives

Each of these plans effect development of the Comprehensive Tech Plan, not only to assure that the goals and outcomes of each plan are addressed in the comprehensive version, but also for the funding of specific technology infrastructure, systems and components.

For example, while Smart Schools Bond Act District allocations can be used to fund technology infrastructure and certain Communications and Security Systems, you may need to look to your District’s 5-Year Capital Plan for funding of distributed and integrated AV systems.

This two-page PDF illustrates the relationship of a NYS K12 School District’s Comprehensive Technology Plan and other planning activities (pg. 1) as well as how they act as funding sources for different types of technology purchases (pg. 2).

I hope your District finds this information helpful in its Technology planing efforts.

Is there a Technology planning tip or resource you’d like to share? I’d welcome your feedback and ideas.

Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of the summer.

Is the 4th Utility included in your District’s 2015 Building Conditions Survey?

AT-TCS-01-introFor NYS school districts, the Building Condition Survey (BCS) is designed to identify facility-related issues that need to be addressed to ensure student learning and safety. The results of the BCS assessment are used as a basis for the district’s five-year Capital Improvement Plan.

Existing BCS forms include systems that deliver the three major energy utilities—gas, electric and water—but fail to address the newer fourth major utility: information.

Information-based infrastructure and systems in the 21st century are just as important as their energy-delivering counterparts and should receive equal attention in your district’s BCS, five-year plan and School Facility Report Cards.

In this series of weekly blogs, I’ll be discussing the idea of adding a technology assessment component to your BCS survey to ensure your district’s information flows as well as its energy. This separate technology assessment is eligible for state aid and can be used as a starting point for your Smart Schools Investment Plan.

Are your information-based systems as critical as to operations as your energy systems? Do you think it makes sense to add a technology component to the BCS?

DonBrownI’d be interested to hear your opinions and experiences in this area.

— Don Brown, P.E., CLA Consultant

Archi-Technology Blog: 2014 in Review

AT-Blog-14ReportIt’s been an interesting first six months for me as the new Marketing Manager for Archi-Technology (and its affiliated software company, MasterLibrary™).

Crafting the brand messaging for an independent technology consulting company that doesn’t easily fit into an existing market niche has been challenging, but rewarding, especially as our website has grown in scope and depth.

When friends asked what my new employer does, I used to answer “we make buildings smarter” followed by a  short torrent of techno-babble about core infrastructure and Communications, Life Safety and Automation (CLA) systems.

Now I take a different tact.

We help students learn and enable teachers to become better educators.
We help health-care facilities improve patient outcomes while operating more productively.
We save, inform, educate, entertain, and secure people, places and ideas.

And in between points A and Z, we take care of myriad details about the technology that makes these things possible.

As part of brand development, another responsibility has been to start the company’s blogging efforts to share knowledge and start conversations with clients and colleagues. We’re definitely new to the world of blogging but, hey, you gotta start somewhere.

View Archi-Technnology’s 2014 Blog Report.

Thanks for reading and, as always, we’d love to hear from you.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

—Mark Winterstein, Marketing Director

Technology Systems That Save Lives And Improve Operations

Implementing the Systems That Keep Patients and Medical Campuses Healthy

2-4-2-Healthcare
As the third and final Archi-Technology practice group introduction, I like to think they saved the best for last (although my fellow Practice Group colleagues may disagree). What is beyond argument, however, is that hospitals and other healthcare campuses are integrating technology-based systems at a more complex and costly level than that seen in the education market…or in most any other industry for that matter.

The reason is simple—technology that saves lives is expensive, sophisticated and extremely precise. In total, the various technology infrastructure and systems found in most hospitals—including communications, AV, security, and clinical—can now account for 5 – 10% of total construction project costs for a healthcare facility.

Like other markets, the effective and efficient integration of technology in healthcare settings is as much about improving daily operations as it is about the campus’ primary objective: improving patient outcomes in the case of hospitals. From accounting and scheduling to energy management and facilities maintenance, technology systems impact so many aspects of the healthcare business that no facility is truly healthy without a well-designed and maintained technology infrastructure.

During my 16+ years at Archi-Technology, I have worked extensively with healthcare clients. As both a Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) and a Construction Document Technologist (CDT), I have a deep appreciation for the nuances technology systems bring to the healthcare market, and what it takes to integrate these systems into a capital construction project.

As Archi-Technology’s new Healthcare Practice Group manager, I’ll be blogging on various topics of interest to Facility Managers, Architects, engineers and other specialists involved in the integration of technology infrastructure and systems in support of medical professionals

MarkHowlandI welcome your feedback and opinions. Thanks in advance.

Mark Howland, Heath Care Group Leader, Project Director and RCDD

The Value Of A CLA Technology Consultant To Facility Construction Projects

The complex, interrelated technology systems used in today’s building construction projects are increasingly reliant on Internet connectivity to transfer data within and among these systems and apply it in meaningful ways. From data and voice communications systems to integrated AV, electronic security, and building automation, the Internet of Things has never been more apparent or important for a building project’s ultimate success. So why don’t architects, engineers, construction managers and building owners use technology consultants specializing in Communications, Life Safety and Automation (CLA) systems like they do when it comes to MEP systems?

ATb-CLA-Consultant-chart1Technology systems involve “wires” which architects have traditionally viewed as the electrical engineer’s concern, even though low-voltage technology systems have little in common with their power-distribution counterparts. Technology systems are viewed as the owner’s responsibility to be handled during construction even though these systems use physical pathways and spaces that are more efficiently addressed during project design.

An independent CLA systems consulting firm with registered designers operates at a peer level with MEP consultants and brings value to all parties on both sides of the bid line:

  1. During project planning and design, the CLA Technology Consultant helps interpret and define the project owner’s technology systems needs for the architect including development of systems standards, specifications and budgets. The Consultant can then act at the lead technology systems design firm or focus on one or several specific system designs (e.g., AV and security).
  2. Once the project crosses the bid line, the CLA Technology Consultant serves a number of important functions during the build and manage phases:
    • Intermediary between the architect and CM/GC to ensure owner’s technology system needs are met.
    • Construction Manager for all or designated project CLA systems.
    • Electronic documentation manager with secure cloud-based facilities documentation system and related services.

Oftentimes a CLA Technology Consultant will be brought into a project during construction when Change Orders are the only way to address technology infrastructure issues. It’s best to bring Tech Consultants during project planning to ensure adequate funding and a holistic approach to the “Fourth Utility.”

– Tom Rauscher, FCSI, President, Archi-Technology