Fancom Communications Engineering, as a technical design firm, competes for business within the telecommunications industry. Our work stretches across a broad range of verticals, everything from water and wastewater treatment facilities at one end of the necessary and practical spectrum to work at world class museums at the more artistic end of the scale. Indeed, our work spans the entire continuum of Maslow’s Hierarchy, enabling physiological needs at one end and aiding in self-actualization at the other. That’s diversity! We’ve done work across Canada for Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) and very local initiatives serving a smaller community, such as a local fire hall. We’ve provided our expertise as part of an architect’s multi-discipline team and we’ve been the lead on other projects where architects or engineers have been sub-contractors to Fancom. We’ve been blessed with repeat engagements from discerning clients such as multiple assignments from a given school board, and we’ve enjoyed the challenges of “one-off” projects such as our involvement with the recent staging of the hugely successful Pan Am games in Toronto and its surrounding communities. We’ve done quick one or two-week assignments and others that have seen the full calendar cycle of spring, summer, fall and winter pass and still not have the project completed.
Our work generally falls into two areas of focus called divisions, as defined by the Master Format® reference document from the Construction Specifications Institute https://www.csiresources.org/home More specifically our work is concentrated within Division 27, Communications (everything voice, video and data) and Division 28, Electronic Security (video surveillance, access control, intrusion detection, video analytics, mass notification etc.) of the Master Format®.
Aside from having all our work fall into either Division 27 or Division 28, there’s an even more basic thing that unites all this work. Care to guess what that is? Yes, we charge HST on all of it and send the Government of our fair land their share. There’s also some standards and best business practices that apply to all our work, but that’s not the unifier I’m talking about.
The thing that all our work has in common, is that we must first win the work.
How do we do that?
It’s a big question in just five words, and one that could easily take five pages to answer. Mercifully this blog is intended as a quick read, so I’ll focus on one of the things that’s important to winning the work.
Imagine for a moment that you have a problem with your feet. Chances are pretty good that if your family doctor can’t fix what ails you, you’ll be referred to a specialist, most likely a podiatrist. A thoracic surgeon, while brilliant at their craft, and acutely appreciated by those with appendicitis, is unlikely to help with your plantar fasciitis problems. You’re well advised to see the specialist suited to the task or more colloquially put by those in the equine racing business, there are horses for courses. When it’s raining at the track, bet on the mudder.
And so too it is with designations. Back to winning the work. Part of my role at Fancom is to write the proposals to win the work. Proposals vary in length and detail but generally include reference projects to indicate the proponent has some familiarity with the work to be done. Fancom also includes resumes from the various members of the team expected to perform the work. This is where designations are not only relevant but important as considerations by those assigned to adjudicate the proposals received for any given work assignment.
Designations indicate that the holder has taken the time to understand a body of work, standards, processes or methodologies that are specifically relevant to a type of work. For example, a professional engineering degree, indicated as P. Eng. following the holder’s name, indicates that said individual has passed a series of exams and has a sufficiently high understanding of one of its numerous disciplines -mechanical, electrical, structural, chemical etc. Here in Ontario, a P. Eng. recognized by the Professional Engineers of Ontario http://www.peo.on.ca/ along with a COA (Certificate of Authorization) is required by law for the design of mechanical, electrical and structural systems within any building. Fancom is a duly recognized engineering firm here in Ontario. We have a P. Eng. on staff and hold a COA. Our specialty is communications engineering.
The RCDD, Registered Communications Distribution Designer is the designation of choice, conferred by BICSI, Building Industry Consulting Services International https://www.bicsi.org/ for the design of all communications infrastructure which, as previously referenced includes all Division 27 and Division 28 work. We have two long-standing RCDD’s on staff to do the detailed design work required on most projects.
What seems to be all the rage these days is the PM designation offered by numerous institutions, but most notably associated with the Project Management Institute https://www.pmi.org/. Fancom has had the pleasure to work with some talented PMs from organizations like Brookfield Global Integrated Solutions https://www.bgis.com/ and Colliers Project Leaders https://www.colliersprojectleaders.com/ on projects sponsored by the Canadian and Ontario governments respectively.
There are also numerous designations, offered by multiple organizations, to indicate proficiency and expertise in AV design, electronic security, wireless communications, network design, fibre optic installations, cabling connectivity, physical and cyber security and environmental design. This is by no means a complete list of areas to which designations apply. All are important and relevant, depending on the work to be done. In general, appropriate designations, relevant to the work at hand should give some assurances that a subject matter specialist is on the case, looking out for the Client’s interests.
The RTPM designation, Registered Telecommunications Project Manager, is a fairly recent and specific evolution, combining certain elements of the RCDD body of knowledge with the principles of project management as applied to all projects in general. The traditional PM is simultaneously concerned with the competing variables associated with a project’s overall scope, quality, cost and time frame, often discussed as risks to a set goal in any one of those areas. As an example, if a project’s scope is surpassed, it may have an impact on the PM’s ability to keep the project on schedule. Substitution of inferior product may be advantageous to costs, however operational malfunctions due to the sub-standard parts may negatively affect time lines and ultimately be costlier in the long run – it’s all about risk, its identification, quantification and remediation.
It is fair to say that a “regular” PM is not familiar with the issues that the RTPM is aware of and manages on the job site. The types of cabling, copper- FT4 or FT6, or type of optical fibre – single mode or multi-mode, conduit and basket tray fill capacities, bonding and grounding, connectivity, efficient performance of same in transporting data along a distance is not something generally known, understood or appreciated by a traditional PM. Given that virtually all businesses theses days require some form of communications infrastructure to support all manner of applications such as internet access allowing all forms of social media, cell phone usage, Wi-Fi access, debit and credit card transactions and electronic security applications such as video surveillance, access control and intrusion detection, the RTPM’s time has come, in fact it’s long over due. The RTPM designation is your assurance that not only does the holder appreciate the Project Management process in general, but how it is specifically applied to areas concerning ICT – Information Communications Technology.
Cisco, not so long ago predicted that the number of things connected to the internet would reach 50 billion by the year 2020. That figure is escalating at a significant pace to the point where Cisco http://www.cisco.com/c/r/en/us/internet-of-everything-ioe/internet-of-things-iot/index.html now predicts that there will be 500 billion devices connected to the internet by the year 2030. With an estimated world population of 8.5 billion by this time that’s an average of almost 60 internet connected things per person on the planet.
We’re seeing a demonstrable increase in things moving to the internet in areas of building automation systems and LED lighting powered by POE. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
What will these things have in common?
They will all be CONNECTED.
They will be connected to cell phones, servers, data centres and the Cloud by copper cabling, fibre optic cabling and with wireless connectivity via open 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz frequencies through Wi-Fi and licensed frequencies throughout the broader spectrum of radio frequencies.
At one point cash and gold were considered the currencies of the world. Increasingly connectivity will be king and the measure of business, community, city, regional and country advancement. Canada has identified connectivity to the internet as a basic right for its citizenry and is dedicating billions of dollars to that goal.
Connectivity is now, and will become an even bigger thing in the future. The building owners and managers of network infrastructure will ignore this critical utility, the “fourth utility” at their peril.
Fancom, very proudly, has an RTPM on staff in the name of Monica Alcolea. Monica joined Fancom 6 years ago as a summer student, eventually earning her B.Comm. degree from Ryerson. Since then she has taken numerous courses relevant to the construction and telecommunications industries. Her understanding of the construction process in general, and more importantly for those clients we advocate for, her appreciation of the vital role of enabling businesses to operate as intended with the aid of communications technology, has made her an invaluable member of the Fancom Project Management Team as its leader.
We include Monica’s resume on many of our proposals. Monica is the person who will represent the client’s best interests and ensure that a contractor installation is compliant with the brand agnostic, performance based specifications Fancom writes, and that best business practices for installation are more than just suggestions written on a page.
The telecommunications industry, either by default or design has been populated primarily with the male gender. It’s a breath of fresh air to have a female colleague representing her gender so capably in what is easily described as a non-traditional role for women. Fancom congratulates Monica on her recent RTPM achievement as the first woman in Canada to have earned the designation and look forward to her continued contribution to Fancom and the telecommunications industry as one of it’s women RTPM pioneers.
Peter Leupen VP/GM (Retired) Fancom Communications Engineering O 905-990-4845
If you’d like more information on Designations we would be happy to hear from you. We can be reached at 905-990-4845 or email@example.com Fancom Communications Engineering is the first step in assessing, planning and implementing or changing your secure network structure before intrusions happen! Contact us today to discuss.