new utility: converged technology
going digital in operation to maximize outcome
The adoption and integration of technology into day-to-day operations has influenced many aspects of capital planning. Once perceived to be a simple connectivity and productivity tool, the telecommunications infrastructure now provides connectivity for building automation, energy management, lighting control and electronic security systems. It also acts as a bridge, synchronizing legacy stand-alone systems, and medium for instantly relaying enterprise-wide communications. Routed through the telecommunications room, the common physical backbone infrastructure carries and transports fire alarm, voice, data, intercom, clock, CCTV and access controls signals that are part of the facility’s overall life/safety systems strategy. In turn, this elevates the telecommunications infrastructure and room to the position equivalent to that of a utility.
Over the past several years, with the convergence of technologies, owners have sought ways to leverage their capital investments to improve operations, reduce costs and poise systems for future modifications.
Early adopters of technology as a solution, the cities of Kirkland and Seattle high-technology spaces have evolved to meet various functional and mission critical needs. The organic nature of that evolution, coupled with rapid advancements in technology since those environments were established, raised concerns among stakeholders. The widespread reliance on the critical system functioning within those spaces and their vulnerability to outages and interruption of service gave reason for stakeholders to take a closer look at their fault tolerances and system configurations. Hargis has worked with stakeholders to evaluate enterprise network architecture, technology-enriched spaces and the overall health of the system to support future evolutions.
With the evolution of the telecommunications spaces and district data centers, entities have frequently capitalized on the advantages of a standardized, converged system to manage scheduling (intercom/clock), communications (audio-visual/ telephony) and most recently, security (access controls/ surveillance). Working with and understanding the lifecycle requirements of these publicly funded and operated enterprise institutions, we have developed approaches, backed by budgetary cost projections and possible alternative funding sources, such as E-rate, to help finance projects throughout Washington.
Post Secondary Institutions
As many of Washington’s 2- and 4-year academic institutions have eclipsed their 50th year in operation, so has their infrastructure. As they plan for the next generation of growth, facility and technology directors are coming together to evaluate how technology is and can be better utilized to advance their operational, life/safety and institution business objectives. We are developing the framework that blend stakeholder objectives with life/safety code requirements to assess existing systems and a path for modifications and upgrades based upon the institution’s funding cycle and urgency.
The reliance on the enterprise data center for operational, business and productivity functions has catapulted the expansion of new and renovated spaces. Owners are looking to this space of connectivity to enhance their overall business and as a result, creating a more dynamic stakeholder group across the operating enterprise. We are actively working with Fortune 100, 500 and 1000 companies to identify and bridge the performances expectations of the internal and external customer into technical solutions that poise their technology spaces for current and future growth.